Domenic Recchia—the colorful councilman who speaks pure South Brooklynese—is headed to court this week to take on Jerry Speyer and his Tishman Speyer, titanic landlord of such trophies as Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
In addition to his day job representing the people of Gravesend and Bensonhurst, the aptly named Mr. Recchia, chairman of the City Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee and a longtime Coney Island enthusiast, has a gig on the side as a personal injury lawyer, representing clients who trek into his office after suffering various slips and falls.
Earlier this year, he filed a suit against Tishman Speyer on behalf of one of those clients: Elizabeth Webb, a Georgia resident who he said tripped on the sidewalk at Rockefeller Center and fractured her ankle. This week, there’s a preliminary conference scheduled in the case, and ultimately Mr. Recchia’s looking for an award to cover, in his words, “medical costs, the pain and suffering,” etc.
But there’s a bigger issue to be raised here, specifics of the case aside, he said. “In Rockefeller Center, the sidewalks are really defective and they really should redo the whole concourse. You can’t see the sidewalk when you step off from the sidewalk to the street; you can’t see that it’s a step there.”
Taking on giant landlords can’t be bad for business, either: In 2008, Mr. Recchia, according to the good-government group Citizens Union, reported having the second-highest income on the Council, taking in between $220,000 and $640,000.
Tishman Speyer did not respond to requests for comment.