The Real Deal New York

Michael Cohen’s partner falsely claimed multifamily buildings had no rent-stabilized tenants: report

Vintage Group filed docs that contradict records with the Department of Finance
August 27, 2018 12:20PM

Michael Cohen and 172 Rivington Street (Credit: Getty Images and Google Maps)

Michael Cohen’s joint-venture partner filed paperwork with the city falsely claiming that there were no rent-stabilized tenants at three buildings the investors owned together, the Daily News reported.

Eric Nelson’s Vintage Group filed construction applications for the property at 172 Rivington Street indicating there were no rent-stabilized tenants living there, according to the newspaper.

But records with the city’s Department of Finance show there were 20 stabilized tenants living in the building, and by the time Cohen and Vantage sold the property, there were 11 rent-stabilized tenants left.

The partners bought the building in 2011 for $2.1 million and sold three years later for $10 million.

Tenants said it was a hassle scheduling repairs for their apartments, workers did a poor job and units were being listed on Airbnb.

Aaron Carr, executive director of the Housing Rights Initiative, said the property has all the signs of landlord harassment.

“Most tenants aren’t so willing to give up their affordability in the midst of an affordable-housing crisis. You have to threaten their safety and sanity,” said Carr, whose group dug up records on Cohen’s buildings.

At 235 East 27th Street in Kips Bay, Vintage filed paperwork claiming there were no rent-stabilized tenants in the building, but records show there were eight stabilized tenants.

And at 237 Henry Street on the Lower East Side, paperwork claims the building was vacant with no rent-stabilized tenants, but records show that all 20 units were stabilized.

Cohen and Vintage Group bought the three buildings between 2011 and 2013 for $10 million, and sold them in 2014 for $27 million.

Representatives for Cohen and the Vintage Group did not respond to the Daily News’ requests for comment.

Cohen last week pleaded guilty to felony charges for violating campaign finance rules, bank fraud and tax evasion. He could spend as many as five years in prison.

He’s recently been selling off properties that he owns. [NYDN] – Rich Bockmann