Landlord Steven Croman, who faces criminal charges over alleged tenant harassment, just got slapped with a lawsuit by a former tenant.
Jon Giacobbe sued Croman for $100,000, alleging that the landlord hired a former cop to stalk his mother and bully him out of his rent-stabilized apartment at 115 Mulberry Street. Giacobbe also claimed that he was forced to live without heat during the entire winter of 2013. Giacobbe asked a judge for permission to sue Croman personally, as opposed to the LCC owning the building he lived in. If his wish is granted it would likely encourage other tenants to also sue Croman personally.
Croman, who owns 140 buildings across the city, surrendered to authorities in May. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused him of repeatedly harassing rent-stabilized tenants to get them out of buildings and replace them with market-rate tenants.
According to the AG’s lawsuit, Croman coerced “countless” numbers of tenants out of their homes, which give him license to renovate the units and increase their value. Filings from the Department of Buildings show that he filed an alteration permit for one-third of the apartment units he owns.
Schneiderman called Croman “the Bernie Madoff of landlords.” According to emails filed with the AG’s suit, Croman and his associates referred to stabilized tenants as “targets.”