Midtown tenants sue Koeppel for illegal rent deregulation

November 10, 2011 09:15AM

William Koeppel and 350 East 52nd Street (building credit: PropertyShark)
The latest lawsuit to emerge from the dust of the controversial J-51 tax rulings at Stuyvesant Town was filed by tenants of 350 East 52nd Street against landlord William Koeppel, Crain’s reported.

Tenants of the 132-unit building allege Koeppel “wrongly treated … plaintiffs and the putative class members as market-rent tenants” even after accepting J-51 tax benefits for building upgrades. The tenants are being represented by William Gribben, a partner at Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donoghue & Joseph. The firm has about nine other J-51 cases.

Koeppel called the lawsuit “frivolous,” saying it is led by a tenant who is a member of SEIU 32 BJ, a union with which Koeppel recently opted out of a contract. Koeppel also said he sent notices informing tenants that they were owed back rents, but Gribben said that was just a reaction to the lawsuit.

Koeppel is famous for pleading guilty to soliciting donations for then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani in return for rent-controlled apartments in 1996, Crain’s noted. [Crain’s]