Tenants in six crumbling Bronx buildings owned by ‘Worst Landlord’ and real estate mogul Sam Suzuki know that their landlord was sent to jail by a Bronx housing court judge this summer. They know their buildings are in foreclosure. Despite all this, Suzuki is still in charge of the buildings, many tenants are surprised to learn.
“It’s unbelievable, after all that’s happened,” said Thomas Capone, who lives at 1636 University Avenue, a building that’s on the city’s worst properties list. The 25-unit building still has nearly 500 open violations, including 168 that are classified as “emergency hazards.” “I don’t know how this guy can still be the owner of this place. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe they are going to turn this building into some Section 8 shelter, and just milk the city.”
As of this week, the title still remained in the hands of Suzuki’s company, Hunter Properties.
In July, shortly after Suzuki got out of jail, the Bluestone Group — a real estate firm that says it specializes in turning around distressed and foreclosed properties — purchased the debt on the buildings and started paying Suzuki’s mortgage (The original mortgage amount for the six crumbling Bronx buildings was $13.5 million dollars). Bluestone’s plan is to take over the title, but so far, the transfer hasn’t taken place.
According to sources from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Suzuki’s father-in-law, Susumo Endo, is in control of Hunter.
“All I want is an apartment that I can live in at an affordable rate, and they are making it impossible,” says Capone, who is a chef. “I have a hole the size of my 30-inch television in my floor.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 7, 2010