31 Market-Rate Central Park West Apartments to Return to Rent-Stabilization After Legal Settlement

Apartments in a building at 447-448 Central Park West that was supposed to be converted into a co-op in the 1980’s were turned back into market-rate rentals, according to Attorney General Letitia James. Now landlord Labe Twerski is being forced to make those 31 units into rent-stabilized apartments under a settlement with James’ office.

The building between 104th and 105th Streets had converted from a rental to a co-op in the late 1980’s, but Twerski subsequently took control of the apartments, James asserted in a release.

“Soon after the conversions, however, Twerski’s companies stopped selling shares to homebuyers. Instead, he reacquired all of the shares that had been sold and began renting out all of the apartments at market rate, circumventing the protections of New York’s rent stabilization laws. Operating the buildings exclusively as for-profit rental buildings thus exceeded the authority conferred upon the co-op corporations in their certificates of incorporation, in violation of New York Executive and Business Corporation Law.”

Twerski did not respond to requests for comment.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 18 comments | permalink
    1. Dave O. says:

      Well done TJ

      • Paul says:

        Any case resolved in the first six weeks of a new incumbent was the result of the old administration’s efforts.
        James won this like Truman won WW 2 and trump got unemployment to 4%.

    2. Lois Rooks says:

      It’s good to see the greedy get caught!

    3. Kathleen says:

      Finally and at long last a win for tenants. Thank you, Tish!!!

    4. West 80th Street Block Assoc. says:

      Very good Attorney General Letitia James!!! You go girl! You see…. another landlord Labe Twerski trick!!!!

      Landlord’s this is a fair warning to you…your tricks are being watch by all of us. Attorney General Letitia James has an eagle eye for Landlord’s and co-op’s…

      • David S says:

        If only the West 80th Street Block Assoc. had a similar eagle eye for misuse of apostrophes.

        • W. 80th St. Unicorn Society says:

          If only the West 80th Street Block association had a similar eagle eye for actually existing.

    5. Larry K says:

      He should forfeit all rent he received by breaking the law.

    6. Ken says:

      Any chance tenants thrown out in the wake of the co-op conversion can return to their old units, assuming they’re still alive?

    7. Sherman says:

      This is an only in NYC story.

      OK, maybe this landlord broke the law but it was a stupid law to begin with and it was so convoluted the landlord might have sincerely believed he did nothing wrong.

      In the meantime we had an army of city bureaucrats wasting valuable time and taxpayer money investigating this nonsense. This money could have been better spent on projects like fixing the dreadful NYCHA.

      Furthermore, the renters in this building now have a financial windfall by having their rents plunge. As a result they will likely never leave their apartments. This, of course, is one of the main reason for NYC’s perennial housing problems.

      In addition, there are co-op owners in this building who are totally innocent in this mess. Now that there will be a plunge in rental revenue that the building is collecting someone has to pay for building upkeep.

      The apartment owners in this building will likely see their monthly maintenance skyrocket – or the building will simply fall into disrepair, much like the Apthorp.

      Yep, the city is doing a great job protecting “affordable housing”.

      • David S says:

        Sherman:

        “OK, maybe this landlord broke the law…” No, the landlord _definitely_ broke the law.

        “…renters in this building now have a financial windfall by having their rents plunge…” The rents will plunge down to what they should have been in the first place.

        “…there will be a plunge in rental revenue that the building is collecting.” No, there won’t. The coop doesn’t collect rental revenue; it collects maintenance fees from the owners. Now, one owner in particular will be collecting less in rental revenue on the units he owns,, but he’s still responsible for remitting the same amount in maintenance to the coop. Tough on him.

      • Sarah says:

        “it was so convoluted the landlord might have sincerely believed he did nothing wrong”

        How do you walk around NYC every day and not get ripped off on every street corner? Those three-card monte guys are totally in it for the fun.

    8. Janice says:

      Love it! Very happy about this.

    9. Demo says:

      Can they come to 1038 White Plains in the Bronx. We have some colorful matters going on here as well. Supposedly ours doesn’t know whom he brought the building from. What’s crazy is that this excuse hold up in court most of the time. Especially the tenant doesn’t know they’re rights. We need you guys help in this little building. DHCR is a joke the allow this behavior. They need to be investigated

    10. Lizette Perez says:

      Has this owner been ordered to pay the difference and fined for his actions?

    11. Judy Harris says:

      Why did it take until the 80s for someone to snap to fix this situation?

    12. NYYgirl says:

      Thank God someone is finally addressing these sleazebag landlords’ bad deeds and coming after them, thank you Letitia James!!! Also hope any tenants who should have been able to stay can get something out of this if possible. I wish them well.

    13. maria says:

      He is a wheeler dealer, but this trick is an unusual one. Co-oping your own building in order to buy it back and rent without the stabilization protection for tenants is a wild scheme.