Brooklyn landlord GRJ faces civil, housing-rights lawsuits

New York Times profiled Jones brothers' value-add investment strategy in 2015
January 13, 2017 08:00AM

Gregory and Graham Jones and 946 Bushwick Avenue

UPDATED, Jan. 13, 9:13 a.m.: A multifamily landlord whose value-add investment strategy was profiled in the New York Times is facing several lawsuits from Brooklyn tenants who claim the firm violated their civil and housing rights.

GRJ principal Graham Jones and his brother Gregory Jones own a portfolio of multifamily buildings including 946 Bushwick Avenue, 1075 Greene Avenue and 920 Buswhick Avenue.

Rent-regulated tenants in those properties claim the landlord is harassing them with extended repair work and verbal threats via the superintendent, DNAinfo reported.

Brooklyn federal judge Leo Glasser granted a temporary restraining order preventing repair work at one of the buildings until the next court date, scheduled for Jan. 18.

A 2015 Times story featuring the brothers detailed their strategy of buying dilapidated apartment buildings and raising the rents.

The story included similar claims about unscrupulous practices, but the brothers said everything they did was above the board.

“We’ve never kicked any elderly people out,” Gregory said in the article. “We don’t do anything illegal. We don’t do anything that’s not within our rights.”

Graham Jones told The Real Deal on Friday morning that one of the tenants cited in the DNAinfo article, Delmira Baez, had withdrawn from a lawsuit filed against GRJ. Graham said Baez didn’t understand what she was signing when she agreed to the be named in a lawsuit.

His attorney, David Lee of Heiberger and Associates, couldn’t be reached for comment.

GRJ last year sold a trio of East Village rental buildings for $58 million after buying them four years earlier for $23.5 million. [DNAinfo]Rich Bockmann

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a statement from Graham Jones that one of the plaintiffs had withdrawn from the lawsuit.