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RGB Begins Annual Rent Ritual

The tenants, who have been on rent strike since July, allege that the new owner has not provided adequate heat or repaired water damage, and has entered the apartment of missing tenants Michael Sullivan and Camden Sylvia without consent of a subtenant. Gaver's attorney, Jack Lepper, said he had not seen the harassment complaint, but insisted that heat was adequate. He said the owner wants Magistro's apartment back; Magistro argues that she is entitled to stay.

If Magistro is forced out, the only remaining occupants would be long-term renters Chuck and Sara DeLaney and the subtenant, a friend of the missing Sullivan. (Last month, the second-floor tenant, a friend of Rodriguez, vacated her apartment.) DeLaney says the new owners have been elusive and pushy. "If you buy a building that had this kind of a shadow over it, you think you'd come in and try to be kind of neutral," he says. "Instead, they've been incredibly aggressive."

Rodriguez has been the focus of police investigation into the fate of Sylvia and Sullivan, though he has not been charged in the case. Since January, he has been jailed on charges of larceny, forgery, and tax fraud, including charges that he assumed the identity of a dead man to get credit cards.

Last week, the Daily Newsreported that police have moved the investigation from homicide to the 1st Precinct, a sign that discouraged the missing couple's neighbors. They met last week with the Manhattan D.A.'s office, which DeLaney described as "quite focused on this case."

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