“I’m starting to feel like a glutton for punishment,” Neil Rubler told The Observer in September 2008, when Dana Rubinstein asked him about the politically fraught business of owning affordable housing.
He must be feeling particularly gluttonous today.
Andrew Cuomo issued a letter to Mr. Rubler’s Vantage Properties announcing that the attorney general plans to sue the company for harrassing tenants to create vacancies. “Vantage aggressively attempted to force out long-term tenants by serving baseless legal notices and commencing frivolous Housing Court eviction proceedings,” wrote Mr. Cuomo. (The full letter is posted at The Real Deal.)
In his 2008 chat, Mr. Rubler denied a New York Times report that the company was trying to increase its cash flow at Savoy Park from $4.3 million to $19.1 million, saying that the company planned to increase its bottom line by using economies of scale, and compared his efforts to what “Wal-Mart did in retail.”
But, according to Mr. Cuomo’s letter, several residents claimed they were unfairly, and illegally, forced out. The letter did not reference one very tangible complaint that was dropped off at Vantage headquarters by a prospective tenant last fall.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Vantage Properties emailed the following response: “Vantage is genuinely committed to serving its residents and to the future of affordable housing in New York City. We look forward to demonstrating this to the Attorney General.”