Abdur Rahman Farrakhan

'When he came in, all the problems came in'

Without the help of a dependable landlord, tenants fix their own problems. Erica Mason, who's lived in the building with her 11-year-old son for the past seven years, buys her own boric acid and bleach to deal with vermin. Last winter, Yvonne Miller resorted to heating bricks in her oven on cold days. When Ann Mercier spoke to the managers about her malfunctioning refrigerator, she was told she'd have to replace it herself.

Farrakhan has repeatedly denied mismanaging his properties. "If I'm so bad, why did HPD continue to do business with me?" he says. In fact, HPD, which once did steer buildings his way, now considers him a blight. HPD prompted the DOI probe, and its view of Farrakhan has soured so badly in recent months that Farrakhan sent a letter to his allies in October enlisting help in his battle against what he now calls HPD harassment. Farrakhan tells the Voice that the agency was "only concerned about transferring buildings to their friends"— he doesn't mention his own propensity to steer security and other contracts to firms connected to him.

Water damage from a leaky roof at 354 Saratoga Avenue, one of the 66 wretched  properties managed or owned by Brooklyn legend Abdur Farrakhan
photo: Kendall J. Matthews
Water damage from a leaky roof at 354 Saratoga Avenue, one of the 66 wretched properties managed or owned by Brooklyn legend Abdur Farrakhan

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    Farrakhan also contends that many of his violations were exaggerated and that the rising prices of fuel, repairs, and supplies have contributed to the deterioration of his buildings. Without giving any specific information, he insists that he has a plan to rehab his properties. His tenants can only hope it's such a good one that he earns his salary at OHBTA of almost $150,000 a year $150,000 a year.

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