Sam Zell? ‘He’s a Rat!’ Union Yells Outside NYPL

Add metal lathers to the long list of people peeved at Sam Zell.

The successful developer and not-so-successful media mogul came to the New York Public Library today as part of the Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing, where he just finished giving a talk (more on that later from The Observer‘s Zeke Turner). Greeting him this morning were not only Patience and Fortitude but also about 100 angry laborers from Local 46–who also have a lot of patience and fortitude to stand out in the rain like that.

They have been harranging Zell for months now over 500 West 23rd Street, a 96-unit apartment building overlooking the High Line. The down-and-out Shaya Boymelgreen had been working on the project, which Zell picked up for a little under $12 million. The plan is to finish it by next year, but that work is being done without union labor. Hence the protests.

This was an interesting one, as the flyers being handed out pointed not only to issues that Zell’s Equity Residential had been having–collapsing garages, illegal fees and class action lawsuits–but also his losing battle with the Tribune company. “As members of Metallic Lathers Union Local 46, a 100-year-old NYC construction union, we feel obligated to educate the real estate and business communities about Mr. Zell’s track record,” the flyer read in part. No mention was made of 500 West 23rd Street.

But something tells The Observer that the protest won’t take. On the way inside, one attendee was overheard saying, “The guy comes to New York and this is the shit they give him. Some welcome.”

Actually, that sounds about right for a New York hello.

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo

Sam Zell? ‘He’s a Rat!’ Union Yells Outside NYPL