Residents of the Newswalk Condominium have a few surprises planned for New York developer Shaya Boymelgreen.
Mr. Boymelgreen is operating in New York again, and “Shame on Shaya,” a group of Brooklyn residents taking legal action against him, is upping its local campaign in opposition.
But the condo board of Newswalk is currently suing him for at least $10 million in damages for construction flaws, such as leaks that have damaged 70 of the 173 units. Michael Rogers, who bought a three-bedroom condo in Newswalk in 2002, and who has been a spokesperson for Shame on Shaya, said the condo board is not being passive.
“Our goal is that when you hear Shaya Boymelgreen, you think Newswalk and very unhappy people,” Mr. Rogers said in an email last week to The Observer. “We Newswalk residents are out a lot of money fixing this building. $7 million and counting. But we’re not taking this passively,” Mr. Rogers wrote. “By coming forward maybe we can help protect future Boymelgreen buyers as well.”
He said his group has a new opportunity to protest, now that the real estate mogul is back in action in the city.
“Shaya in New York will let us focus on more physical activities—demonstrations, hand-outs, some guerilla marketing efforts,” he said.
But it’s not so simple.
“There will be some surprises: Shaya’s unlucky in that Newswalk has quite a few owners [who are] smart media and marketing people. Righting wrongs is a powerful inspiration for creative types,” he said.
Intriguingly ambiguous? That’s the point, it seems. “We think some of our ideas will work best as surprises,” Mr. Rogers said.
Mr. Boymelgreen has dismissed the group’s criticisms.
“Everyone has a problem with something. You know how long ago we finished and fixed and corrected Newswalk?” he recently told The Observer. In fact, litigation is just a new fad, he defended. “It’s become a trend that every condominium, either they sue or they’re going to sue because the lawyers that don’t have much to do these days are running after the condo board and saying, ‘Let’s make some money.’”
Mr. Rogers said that this kind of dismissal of the lawsuit is so baseless, it could be a blessing in trial. “His [Boymelgreen’s] response—basically, that he’d already fixed it—was astonishing, given the conditions at Newswalk,” Mr. Rogers wrote. “If this comes to trial, and that’s his defense, we’re delighted.”