Toledano Tenants Tell Private-Equity Firm to Sell Their Buildings

Members of Tenants Taking Control, an organization of tenants in East Village buildings where former landlord Rafael Toledano drove out a third of the residents, demonstrated outside the Midtown offices of Madison Realty Capital Oct. 29 to demand that the private-equity firm sell the buildings to a nonprofit owner.

Toledano bought the buildings in 2015, financed by borrowing more than $100 million from Madison. Madison repossessed them two years later, after Toledano defaulted on the loan. But tenants say that the firm has not been renting out any of the vacant apartments, which are still rent-stabilized.

“We have persevered for four years—enduring an onslaught of insincere buyout badgering, construction harassment, elevated lead dust, vermin infestation, and unfair lawsuits. We have watched our friends and neighbors picked off one by one,” Sandra Mayer, who lives in a Madison/Toledano building on East Fifth Street, said in a statement released by the Cooper Square Committee. “This community of artists and working-class families should not lose its spirit. It is our goal to bring back a solid base of rent-stabilized housing to the East Village. So we are asking that Madison Realty Capital sell these remaining 15 buildings to a preservation buyer.”

Tenants say they know of nonprofit organizations interested in buying the buildings with the intent of keeping them affordable for current residents