By Sabina Mollot
Over-charged Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents are still waiting for their money.
And according to tenant lawyers, the money awarded as a result of the “Roberts v. Tishman Speyer” lawsuit won’t be coming any time soon.
Attorney Alex Schmidt some money may be distributed later this year with the rest being paid out next spring. He blamed mountains of paperwork for the 27,5000 plaintiffs for the delay, noting that the majority of them are entitled to minimal damages. (Damages range from $150 to $200,000.)
Attorneys are also waiting for the special service CW to turn over data regarding “Roberts” class members who the it believes still owe rent money.
Under the settlement, CW is entitled to any rent owed and therefore that affects how the individual would be paid.
Brian Moriarty, a spokesperson for CW, added, “A timeframe for payments was never established. That said, we hope that tenants are paid as soon as possible, but it is a lengthy administrative process given the number of claimants.”
Council Member Dan Garodnick, who is a “Roberts” class member, said the money should be repaid to tenants “as quickly as possible.”
He added that CW “should be as quick to give it back as they are to take it.”
Out of a $173 million settlement for tenants in apartments that were illegally deregulated by former owners MetLife and Tishman Speyer, close to $69 million will be paid out to tenants. The rest of the money is in the form of rent savings.
Meanwhile, over 150 tenants who got mid-lease increases have gotten rent rollbacks, Garodnick said.
In June, following an investigation by the attorney general into the mid-lease increases issued to around 1,100 residents of ST/PCV, the A.G. and CWCapital reached a deal to give rent rollbacks to any tenant who’d been misled into thinking there would be no mid-lease hikes.
The investigation came as a result of Garodnick alerting Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that he’d heard from residents who claimed they were assured by leasing agents that getting a mid-lease increase was highly unlikely, only to then get socked with an increase.
Those tenants were asked by the A.G. to sign affidavits describing how they were misled. CWCapital also launched its own “exhaustive effort” to find the affected parties.
It is believed some 152 people were awarded rent rollbacks.
The rent increases were issued by CW in May as a result of the “Roberts” settlement. The increases went as high as over $2,000, though most affected tenants reported getting hikes that were in the hundreds.
Tenants were given six weeks to decide whether to renew their leases or leave. Another two hundred tenants got rent reductions.