Steven Croman, a Manhattan landlord who owns over 140 apartment buildings has been charged with 20 felonies and hit with a massive civil suit, PIX 11 reports.
“The scope of this enterprise was really unlike any other we’ve seen in New York,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “This guy was essentially the Bernie Madoff of landlords.”
Croman used intimidation tactics to force residents out of rent stabilized apartments so he could turn them into market value units.
“They ripped up the floors of the ceiling of the apartment above mine just started dumping things into my ceiling,” said Shawn Dahl of her Croman-owned Lower East Side apartment. “And then throwing things down the toilet everything backed up, the toilet overflowed and my ceiling came crashing down.”
“He started harassing us, his supers and property managers were being extremely abusive especially to the elderly tenants screaming at us telling us to move out,” said another Croman-owned resident, Cynthia Chaffee.
Croman surrendered to police Monday morning.
The 20 count felony indictment against Croman includes charges of grand larceny, criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Croman is also accused of using a former police officer to intimidate residents and pose as a repairman to gain access to their apartments. Reportedly Croman’s illegal activities range from simple intimidation all the way to defrauding banks.
“Mr. Croman has entered a plea of Not Guilty. The charges in this case are defensible and Mr. Croman intends to address all issues in a responsible fashion. The criminal charges have nothing whatsoever to do with allegations relating to tenant harassment,” his attorney said.
Featured image via mugshot