Wooten for the Wrong Team

Councilmember quashes hopes for housing

Speliotis says that Wooten's refusal to help or even declare herself neutral about the renovation plan means the project might never happen. The buildings will remain idle and dilapidated, as they have for many years now.

"HPD is ready to go with this, but they're also desperate for money for middle-income housing," and could give up on the East New York proposal. "It's pathetic that these six buildings can't get rehabbed and occupied because a councilperson would rather just let them sit vacant."

Yanik Strike Out

An East Village rent strike is over and a notorious landlord is out of power now that a building at 649 East Ninth Street has been sold. For years, David Yanik ran the building, which was owned by his common-law wife, Antida Portelli. Falling plaster, rodent infestations, and sporadic heat seemed minor problems compared to the drug trade and violence that plagued the building. Police regularly busted the building's storefronts as narcotic fronts, and Yanik himself was charged last April with lacerating the face of his 16-year-old daughter in a domestic squabble. The case is pending.

On January 14, a new owner bought the building for just under $2 million. Tenants say repairs have begun, and vacant apartments are being renovated. One drawback: The new owners are letting Portelli keep two apartments for two years. So while Yanik no longer acts as the landlord, he's now a fellow tenant.

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