Hold Croman in contempt over Kips Bay rentals: receiver

Appointee says landlord “has laughed at the court order for 2 months”

Steve Croman and 208-214 East 25th Street (Getty, Google Maps)
Steve Croman and 208-214 East 25th Street (Getty, Google Maps)

In a ranking of the most frustrating jobs in real estate, being a receiver for Steve Croman’s apartment buildings would be right up there.

According to the one appointed for his four contiguous properties at 208-214 East 25th Street, the landlord — whose name in news stories is never far from the word notorious — has continued to collect rent but has not passed it along to her.

Moreover, receiver Haley Greenberg told judge Francis A. Kahn III in an Aug. 18 letter, he hasn’t turned over all of his tenants’ security deposits or the building’s records. She wants Kahn to hold Croman in contempt.

Greenberg added that she would “like to avoid having the former tenants bring lawsuits” over security deposits that were not returned after they vacated the Kips Bay building.

The judge had appointed the receiver to the four buildings with 85 rental units in May after Maverick Real Estate Partners brought a foreclosure action against Croman one year ago.

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While the dispute over a $25 million loan acquired by Maverick has unfolded in court, past tenants have been left to wonder how they will recover their security deposits, and current ones about where to send their rent checks.

One of the tenants, who asked to remain anonymous, said her bank accounts became overdrawn one month when the receiver and the property manager, Centennial Properties NY, both debited her accounts. Centennial has since returned the payment, the tenant said.

Centennial sent notices to other tenants asking for rent even after the receiver was appointed, court filings show. “Your client is ignoring court orders and improperly threatening tenants,” Greenberg wrote in June to one of Croman’s attorneys.

In another message, the receiver said, “Your client has now laughed at the court order for almost two months.”

Representatives for Croman, who was banned from managing his real estate portfolio after pleading guilty to a felony in 2017, disputed the receiver’s claims.

“Our client has never been in contempt of any court order,” said attorney Terrence Oved, who accused a Maverick Real Estate Partners affiliate of putting the receiver up to the contempt request.

An attorney for Maverick declined to comment.