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Former Tenants Sue Hester St. Developer

By Gina Chung

Tenants of 128 Hester Street have filed a lawsuit against former landlord William Su, who also threatened back in August to sue Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for their condemnation of his eviction of the tenants. Downtown Express reports that Christopher Kui, Executive Director of AAFE, and John Gorman, the lawyer who is representing the tenants, spoke about the issues at a press conference on Tuesday.

“The suit, filed in State Supreme Court on Oct. 25, lists 10 plaintiffs and seeks a combined total of $11 million in damages based on both ‘illegal and wrongful eviction’ and ‘the defendants’ negligence and wrongful intentional actions.’

The former tenants are also seeking a refund on rent they paid from October 2006 to August 2009, when the city’s Department of Buildings ordered the evacuation and subsequent demolition of 128 Hester St. — even though Su didn’t purchase the building until July 2007.

In addition, the suit calls for the defendants to return each plaintiff’s security deposit, along with accrued interest. The deposits for each evacuated apartment were kept by the landlords even after the building was gone, ‘in violation of law and contract,’ according to the suit.”

Downtown Express

AAFE has been the main advocacy group behind the displaced tenants since 2009. Downtown Express also reports that AAFE “claims that the owners neglected to repair the apartment building, with the ultimate goal of simply knocking it down” to clear space for the Wyndham Garden Hotel, which now stands at 93 Bowery near where 128 Hester once stood.

Stefan Krasowski

Despite previous claims from lawyer Stuart Klein, who is representing Su and his associates, that the new establishment “would provide jobs to about 60 area residents,” it appears that the hotel has not fulfilled its promise, according to Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3.

“Stetzer said many qualified locals applied online for jobs at the hotel, but, ‘They were all rejected without any explanation. The hotel didn’t even give them interviews.’”

Downtown Express

For more information on AAFE’s 128 Hester Street Campaign, visit http://justiceforchinatown.org.


Gina Chung is a contributing writer at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Continue the conversation by posting a comment here, on OurChinatown’s Facebook page, or on Twitter at @ourchinatown.

Short URL: http://www.ourchinatown.org/?p=14092

Posted by on Dec 12 2012. Filed under NEWS, News Left, SLIDER. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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