The Real Deal New York

Harlem landlord allegedly threatened stabilized tenants with deportation

The state attorney general is now investigating the case
March 18, 2017 11:00AM

East Harlem

Residents of an East Harlem building are suing a developer they claim sent a fake immigration agent to intimidate rent-stabilized tenants. The allegations have now sparked an investigation by the state attorney general.

The owners of An East 115th Street building have been working towards a deal to sell the property to NY-based real estate investment company, Progressive Global. Around that time, Progressive Global owner Morais Dicks allegedly warned tenants Araceli and Rosa Ramos to “clear out,” or he would call the immigration authorities, according to the lawsuit cited by the New York Post.

Dicks is then said to have visited the building with a man he identified as a “friend from INS” — that man was wearing a badge, according to court papers.

The tenants say that on another occasion, their landlord told them “he was happy he voted for Trump,” “was tired of all these immigrants” and was “going to ensure that someone rounded up” the tenants.

Eventually, the tenants say that they accepted $1,000 buyouts and fled after another threat of being deported, but ultimately tried to give the money back and returned to the building. They say in the lawsuit that at that time, their landlord called them “immigrant pieces of shit” who “had no right” to stay in the building. The landlord denied the allegations to the Post. [NYP] Christopher Cameron