Black Harlem Residents Launch $10M Lawsuit Against Property Managers

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  People walk down a street in Congressman Charles Rangel's congressional district on June 26, 2012 in New York City. After more than four decades as a congressman, Rangel is fighting for the Democratic nomination in a newly redrawn congressional district that is no longer dominated by African Americans. The 82-year-old Rangel is locked in a race Tuesday for the nomination in his Harlem-area district with New York state Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Espaillat, a 57-year-old Dominican-American, has enjoyed growing popularity in a district that now has more Latino-Americans than African-Americans.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Black Harlem Residents Launch $10M Lawsuit Against Property Managers

Tenants claim that the managers of their middle-class housing complex are running a campaign to overcharge and kick out longtime residents.

Published September 16, 2014

A recently filed $10 million lawsuit alleges that CWCapital Asset Management and affiliate Compass Rock Real Estate have been purposely overcharging tenants at a middle-class Harlem complex in an effort to oust longtime residents and increase the rent, the New York Times reports.

“It’s all economic. It’s a campaign to get higher-paying tenants, never mind the original intent of what Riverton was about, or the fabric of the community,” state assemblyman and lifelong Riverton complex tenant Keith L. T. Wright said at a press conference earlier this week. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Councilwoman Inez E. Dickens and two dozen fellow tenants joined Wright.

According to Randreta Ward-Evans, the president of the Riverton tenants’ association, many Riverton tenants had been complaining about eviction notices for nonpayment and rent checks that had gone uncashed. She reportedly estimated that those overseeing the complex were “making $50,000 to $100,000 a month on those rent overcharges.”

The New York Times also spoke with Andrew MacArthur, a managing director at CWCapital Asset Management, who seemed “surprised" by the turn of events.

“For the past five years,” he said, “we’ve enjoyed a collaborative and constructive relationship with both the assemblyman’s office and the tenant association.”

High housing costs have become an integral issue among many New York City residents and elected officials. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has aimed to finance the construction or preservation of 200,00 affordable units for poor, working- and middle-class tenants over the next decade.

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 (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Written by Patrice Peck

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