The Real Deal New York

Lower East Side tenants accuse Steve Croman of harassment, hazardous conditions

Residents of 159 Stanton are latest to allege abusive tactics

From left: Steve Croman and 159 Stanton Street

UPDATED: Dec. 16, 3:40 p.m.: Controversial landlord Steve Croman is under fire again — this time from nine Lower East Side tenants who said they’ve been harassed and are living with hazardous conditions, including collapsed ceilings, dust and leaks.

In a lawsuit filed this week, the rent-stabilized residents of 159 Stanton Street alleged that Croman offered to buy them out, and when they refused to move, he employed harassment tactics to get them to leave, DNAinfo reported. According to the suit, ex-cop Anthony Falconite would bang on their doors, “yelling and using abusive language.”

Croman paid $8.3 million for the building in 2013, public records show.

According to the suit, tenants also claimed to be living with collapsed ceilings, dust and leaks stemming from construction that began in 2015. Some construction work has been conducted without permits, according to the suit.

The conditions amount to “a deliberate campaign of harassment in order to make the building so inhospitable and unsafe that tenants will vacate their rent-stabilized apartments,” the suit stated.

In a statement, Croman said his company had reached out to the tenants. “Management has not been informed of any open repair items in tenant apartments, however we remain willing to immediately address any such issues,” the statement said.

Croman, who was arrested in May on charges including grand larceny and a scheme to defraud, was called “the Bernie Madoff of landlords” by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who slapped the property owner with a lawsuit earlier this year.

Croman was also indicted on felony charges under claims he lied about his rental income to scam banks out of millions. He could face up to 25 years in prison.
The landlord took in at least $63 million in gross income in 2014 from his Manhattan rental portfolio, according to an analysis by The Real Deal. [DNAinfo] — E.B. Solomont