A landlord punished for strong-arming rent-stabilized tenants broke into a Bedford Avenue apartment under the auspice of home repairs and trashed the place in an attempt to force a tenant to move out, a Williamsburg resident told cops.
Jadwiga Bronte threatened to sue landlord Jamal Alokasheh — who lost a housing 2010 housing court case filed by angry tenants in another Williamsburg edifice — for performing illegal “renovations” that left her two-bedroom abode near the corner of N. Eighth Street in shambles.
Bronte claims she and a roommate began subletting the rent-stabilized unit for $700 per month from a previous tenant last June, then started paying rent directly to Alokasheh in November after forging an agreement by e-mail.
The landlord allegedly promised to fix a leak on April 26, but when Bronte returned to her fourth-floor apartment, she found her walls and parts of her ceiling strewn about the living room, her front door pulled off its hinges, and her bathtub laying on its side in the kitchen.
But Alokasheh insists his workers did no wrong and that Bronte doesn’t even reside in the apartment.
“She is not my tenant,” said the landlord, who has owned the building since 2009. “I don’t even know this person — my tenant left over six months ago. She claims she had some belongings there. I told her, ‘If you have any belongings there, just take them.’ ”
But Bronte said that’s impossible, claiming she has talked with him in person several times and even let him borrow her DVDs.
Bronte says she has no lease for the space, and insists she began paying Alokasheh in checks several months ago. But Bronte claims Alokasheh never cashed them, often saying he lost them or that she had spent so much on renovations that the rent was covered.
The city issued Alokasheh a permit on April 23 to add new plumbing pipes to her unit and replace its fixtures — a $17,570 job, according to the Department of Buildings.
Clearly dissatisfied with the work, she called the cops on Tuesday, but an officer told her to settle the dispute with her landlord individually.
This isn’t the first time Northside renters have alleged that Alokasheh has harassed them into leaving their coveted buildings.
In 2010, several tenants accused Alokasheh of deliberately undermining the foundation of their N. Eighth Street rent-stabilized building in hopes of attracting wealthier residents, forcing city inspectors to bar them from returning home for nearly a year. A housing court ruled that Alohasheh could no longer manage the property.
But pro-tenant activists say Bronte has a case, and that Alokasheh’s actions will have big ramifications.
“This is demolishing the apartment,” said Kurt Hill, an organizer with the People’s Firehouse, a Williamsburg tenants rights group. “He’s going to have trouble. We’re going to take the building away from him.”Reach reporter Aaron Short at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-2547.