Advocacy group believes storefront owner purposely brought rain

A tenant advocacy group in Brighton Beach believes the new owner of their property deliberately left their storefront vulnerable to rain in an effort to force them out. Sheepshead Bites blog reported that the Brighton Neighborhood Association entered its 1121 Brighton Beach Avenue storefront yesterday morning to find flooding and rain pouring in from the ceiling and walls destroying computers, files and 34-years of memorabilia. According to BNA founder Pat Singer, the Fire Department of New York told her that the leak looked suspicious, as a hole was made and and left uncovered when the property managers came to repair a vent just days before this week’s storms.

The group believes the new owner, Alex Levin, who purchased the building in 2010, has wanted current tenants out for a while so that he can build a taller building.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Singer said two real estate agents had told her last week that the neighborhood association would need to vacate the storefront immediately before she eventually struck a deal with what she said was a reluctant Levin to stay for another six months. (The BNA leases the space on a month-to-month basis.) The building’s other two tenants – a Chinese restaurant and a Japanese restaurant — also reported being asked to move. Moreover, immediately after the flood, Levin’s secretary came to offer the association a new location.

But Levin denied the accusations. “This is all stories. I don’t know. It’s made up I guess,” Levin said. “There’s a big hole in the roof and we’re trying to fix it.”

The group does not want to bring the Department of Buildings to investigate the situation for fear that they’ll be forced to leave due to unsafe conditions. The BNA underwent budget cuts, and said it can not afford to find a new space. [Sheepshead Bites]