The Real Deal New York

East Harlem landlord admits to endangering tenants with gut renovation

Officials accused him of coercing the family out of his building
December 06, 2017 06:15PM

21 East 115 Street (credit: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)

An East Harlem landlord accused of trying to force tenants out of his rent-stabilized building by gut renovating the building pleaded guilty on Wednesday to reckless endangerment and endangerment of a child.

Ephraim Vashovsky, 49, was arrested last year after allegedly renovating his rent-stabilized apartment building at 21 East 115 Street to drive a family of seven out of the building. Officials allege that Vashovsky intentionally created hazardous conditions to intimidate the family into leaving the building. The construction left the family without heat, electricity and running water.

“Ephraim Vashovsky ordered a gut renovation and demolition that created an inhumane and unsafe living environment for a family with five young children — all while orchestrating a campaign of harassment to intimidate them into leaving the building,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

Last month, the City Council passed a bill that includes certain kinds of construction code violations in the definition of tenant harassment.