UPDATED, Dec. 13, 5:55 p.m.: The first round of payments are being issued to former tenants of infamous landlord Steve Croman, the New York state Attorney General’s office said Thursday.
Checks are being mailed to eligible current or former tenants who last month submitted claims to the restitution fund, according to the statement. The first batch of payments follows the landlord’s initial $2 million payment to the fund, which totals a record $8 million.
“I’m pleased that this first round of checks will be going out before the holidays, and that tenants can expect at least three more rounds of restitution,” New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement.
The $8 million will be divided equally among eligible claimants. The payments will be distributed to tenants in installments over 38 to 42 months, according to the AG’s office. Nearly 800 households filed applications — and eligible households will start receiving checks for $2,425 each, as early as next week.
To be eligible, tenants had to have lived in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment owned by Croman between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017. Those who received a buyout of more than $20,000 are excluded.
The agreement is the largest-ever settlement with an individual landlord in New York. It followed the AG’s case against Croman in which he was accused of harassing tenants and tricking them into giving up their rent-stabilized apartments.
“We are diligently implementing our settlement agreement with the state Attorney General in line with our focus on using best practices to provide quality housing for our residents,” a spokesperson for 9300 Realty, Croman’s management firm, said in a statement.
Croman served eight months of a one-year jail sentence after pleading guilty in October to tax- and mortgage-fraud charges. In addition to the restitution, an independent manager will run more than 100 of Croman’s properties, and Croman will also have to pay for a court-appointed monitor who will ensure compliance.