By Arthur Z. Schwartz
This one may get me sued for libel, but here goes.
Michael Sloan owns a number of buildings in the West Village, one of which is a multi-family building at 42 Morton Street. Sloan has made it onto Public Advocate Letitia James’ “Worst Landlords” list for many years running. (He is also known as “MSJ Management”). One would think that with a potentially pricey address in the West Village he would make an exception. Hardly. If you type the Morton Street address within Yelp, here is part of a review which comes up:
“Avoid Michael Sloan and his buildings at any cost. Literally RUN away from any building he’s associated with. Michael Sloan is a liar and a slumlord. In the year I lived in one of his buildings (42 Morton [Street]) the building was never clean [and also] littered with trash, grime, and mouse feces. A window in the hallway was broken the entire year. Getting Michael to fix or address any issue is torture. He’s unresponsive. If you do manage to get him on the phone, he behaves like an abusive bully. He would refuse to follow the terms of my lease and the law and repeatedly tried to intimidate me to “give up” and move out.”
Indra Kaushal is 68 years old. Her tenancy at 42 Morton Street goes back to 1955, when her now-deceased husband rented Apartment #12. For years, MSJ Management has been trying to oust her from the apartment, has not dealt with a myriad number of violations, and has failed to provide adequate heat and hot water.
In 2016, Mrs. Kaushal commenced an action, pro se, for harassment. Sloan filed a motion to dismiss, falsely alleging that Mrs. Kaushal did not provide access. She appeared in front of a hostile judge, Peter Wendt, one time, and when he remained hostile after ordering a report which showed numerous violations in the apartment (which Sloan blamed on her) she decided that court wasn’t a good idea. When Mrs. Kaushal mistakenly (since Judge Wendt had deemed the motion to dismiss “withdrawn”) failed to attend a court session on November 10, 2016, Judge Wendt—without giving leeway to an elderly, pro se tenant—entered an order granting Sloan’s motion to dismiss “without opposition” and added that the petition was “denied for failure to provide access.”
Judge Wendt’s note was not an invitation to evict Mrs. Kaushal, but Sloan treated it as such. The landlord promptly served a Termination Notice. Mrs. Kaushal then immediately called MSJ Management and left messages that she would allow access, but didn’t get a response. So, having read about the Ruth Berk case in WestView, she called your author at Advocates for Justice, seeking help.
We immediately wrote to Sloan’s lawyer offering to arrange access. His lawyer wrote a nasty letter back, saying that it was “too late.” A few days later, they served an Eviction Petition. Advocates filed a motion to dismiss, which was presented to Judge Laurie Lau on Friday, February 24th. Sloan’s lawyer falsely stated that Mrs. Kaushal had refused the landlord access. When I responded that his assertion was false and unethical, since I had personally offered to arrange access, he started to scream that I was unethical.
The judge asked everyone to return to court on March 23rd. Meanwhile, on the way out, we snapped a photo of Sloan, who doesn’t like his photo to be published and yelled that my phone should be confiscated. It’s a little blurry, but he deserves to be in WestView’s “Hall of Shame.”
Arthur Z. Schwartz is the President of Advocates for Justice and a Village District Leader.