The Real Deal New York

LES landlord Sami Mahfar settles harassment claims

AG probe found SMA Equities' buildings had excessive levels of dust and lead
May 05, 2017 09:35AM

from left: 210 Rivington Street, 102 Norfolk Street, 113 Stanton Street, 22 Spring Street and Eric Schneiderman (Credit: Getty Images)

Notorious landlord Sami Mahfar — who was accused of harassing rent-regulated tenants on the Lower East Side — agreed to a $225,000 settlement with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Mahfar’s SMA Equities left tenants without heat, employed aggressive buyout offers and performed dangerous construction work to force out rent-regulated tenants at 22 Spring, 102 Norfolk, 113 Stanton and 210 Rivington Streets, an AG investigation found.

Dust covering the stairs at 102 Norfolk, for example, had 110,000 micrograms of lead per square foot — far more than the limit of 40 micrograms per foot, according to the city’s health code. Construction was carried out without permits and residents suffered respiratory ailments. They also were allegedly harassed by a “relocator” from Misidor LLC, DNA Info reported. Misidor, led by Michael Pimienta, was shut down by the AG’s office in 2014.

The settlement requires Mahfar to pay $175,000 to the city’s Housing and Preservation Department and another $50,000 to the state. Under the agreement, a third party will now oversee the buildings.

In a statement, SMA pointed out that the agreement — which it said was “mutually acceptable” — was not an admission of guilt. Having settled, SMA can now proceed with planned renovations and improvements to buildings, the company said.

Earlier this week, landlord Steven Croman reportedly cut a deal to serve eight months in jail and pay fines up to $10 million. He was arrested last year on charges of harassing rent-stabilized tenants and mortgage fraud. [NYP]E.B. Solomont