More than a year after he was released from prison, much remains the same for landlord Steve Croman.
He’s a regular presence at his buildings. He still gets loans from New York Community Bank — you know, the bank he was accused of defrauding — and continues to do deals. Some of his 9300 Realty employees are now working for the property management firm that the government appointed to look over his properties for the next several years. And he’s still, it seems, welcomed by his peers in the real estate industry.
“I don’t think anybody gives a shit,” a New York developer who knows Croman said about the landlord’s stint in jail.
Croman was convicted of mortgage and tax fraud, and agreed to pay former tenants $8 million to settle civil claims that he harassed them out of their apartments in order to deregulate their homes. The sentence and agreement were touted at the time as groundbreaking, important steps in cracking down on unscrupulous landlords.
But a closer look at the settlement raises some questions about the true significance of the AG’s victory. As part of the civil settlement, the AG’s office approved NYC Management to oversee Croman’s properties for five years. The agreement allowed employees of 9300 Realty to simply jump ship to NYC Management. Croman also selected an independent monitor, Andy Pucher, who was a former DEA agent and property manager for Walt Disney. Though the AG’s office could veto the choice, there’s something a tad counterintuitive about the monitored selecting the monitor.
StreetEasy is overhauling one of its programs. Some agents (surprise!) are not happy about it.
Just add this one to the growing list of reasons agents are mad at StreetEasy.
The company is rebranding its “Building Expert” program — in which agents pay a fee to have their contact information displayed alongside building descriptions where they’ve done deals — as “StreetEasy Experts.” Under the new version, agents only pay a “success fee” if they close a deal from a lead generated through the program. The problem is that StreetEasy isn’t disclosing what that fee will look like, Erin Hudson reports.
“It’s more of the same with them. It’s lack of clarity. It’s confusion and it’s like fear mongering,” said Sarah Saltzberg of Bohemia Realty Group.
The program starts Oct. 15. Agents can only participate if their brokerage enters an agreement with StreetEasy. Some firms are open to the idea.
“We don’t have a problem paying when we succeed,” said Nest Seekers International CEO Eddie Shapiro. “The concept of it I think would create a much more successful relationship between agents and [StreetEasy’s parent company] Zillow.”
On Instagram, Brown Harris Stevens’ Danny Nassi also weighed in the Expert Program: “Hey @streeteasy FUCK YOU! All you’re doing is HURTING the consumer. Shame on you! Oh yea, and FUCK YOU again [middle finger emoji] #StreetEasyThief.”