The Real Deal New York

Plan for Shaoul protest called off in favor of meeting

April 03, 2013 06:00PM

UPDATED, 6:38 p.m., April 4: An anarchist activist who pledged to camp out in front of the offices of Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group this weekend has called off the protest, EV Grieve reported. Instead, the East Village’s John Penley has decided to hold a meeting.

Originally, Penley planned the weekend sit-in to call attention to the allegedly bad conditions of Taylor Mead, an elderly tenant in a Shaoul-owned property.

Since then, friends and family of the 88-year-old said that a buyout and relocation deal was being discussed, EV Grieve noted.

In light of these events, Penley called off the protest.

According to an attorney for Shaoul, the landlord and Mead reached an agreement “long before” Penley planned his demonstration.

“Neither Taylor Mead nor myself had anything to do with [the] planning of a demonstration on my client’s behalf,” said Philip Cody Melville, an attorney for Mead, in a statement provided by Shaoul’s attorney. “In fact, we entered into a very favorable agreement for both parties last week.”

The EV Grieve article does not include comment from Shaoul.

“But since this is all over the place and people are [going to] show up, we will have a meeting about the situation especially about the others affected by Shaoul and his sledgehammer,” Penley posted on the protest-cum-meeting’s Facebook event page.

As previously reported, Mead, an actor, poet and writer, lives in a Ludlow Street building currently being gut renovated by Shaoul. He reportedly has peeling plaster, a roach problem and does not have a functional kitchen sink. [EV Grieve] —Zachary Kussin

  • Common Sense

    Mr Penley – first, thanks for your service in Vietnam. second, I totally agree that we need to do more to house (and I’ll add, give psychological counseling to) veterans and wish you good luck in your efforts.

    But I disagree with your stance on Shaoul. I don’t know him, he may be a devil, he may be a saint (my guess is that like most of us he has made some mistakes but falls in between the devil/saint monikers.)

    But I will say this, Shaoul has no obligations to his 88 year old tenant other than to provide an apartment to code (if repairs are requested by the tenant) per the terms of his rent stabilized lease.

    You should be going after the City on this one. An 88 year old who is basically home bound because he lives on the 5th floor of a walk-up is the responsibility of the man’s family and if the family can’t help then he’s under the umbrella of APS (adult protective services).

    It is unreasonable to expect a private citizen to give this man a subsidized apartment on the first floor. APS should remove the man from this housing and give him a better place to live. It’s simply not Shaoul’s responsibility.

    But… of course the tenant here has something of value (a rent stabilized lease). He can and should sell the rights to that apartment to Mr. Shaoul if they can agree upon reasonable terms. It seems that a buyout is where this is headed and I say good, but again, asking Shaoul to provide a subsidized apartment on the first floor is unreasonable.