By Jessica Berk
In what may be the longest landlord-tenant battle in the City, and certainly the most contentious, my mother, Ruth, and I obtained half a million dollars and 18 months to vacate our two-bedroom terrace apartment at 95 Christopher Street.
However, in no way is the battle over, because I have retained the right to sue Lloyd Goldman, the billionaire landlord. After many years of criminal harassment, I am preparing a suit under the Rico Statutes. Formerly Goldman & Goldman DiLorenzo, (with the latter going to prison for racketeering) the current head of BLDG Management, Inc., which is also the corporate owner of 95 Christopher Street, has financed the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, and is currently under investigation by the Attorney General, based on my allegations.
Additionally, I have insisted that the illegal surveillance cameras outside the apartment come down, the ones that Arthur Schwartz was arrested for removing. Considering that Ruth was removed at gunpoint (because of the landlord’s false allegations to Adult Protective Services) and then returned to her $783.19 per month rent-controlled apartment (rescued by Arthur who became her guardian) two years ago, it is considered an extreme victory to obtain such a huge buyout. In addition, the standard gag order to discuss the amount was not granted by the court, even though the landlord’s lawyers insisted.
I have lived in the building for nearly 60 years and have continuously expressed my disgust over the horrendous conditions, including water bugs, mice, leaks, damages, and the rude and threatening management staff. However, the West Village still fills me with a certain level of nostalgia. Ruth and my late father, Leo, who ran the Waverly Lounge in the legendary Hotel Earle (now the Washington Square Park Hotel), raised me to sing in their restaurant/bar.
Although a community activist (founder of Residents In Distress and the head of the Christopher Street Partnership) I have decided that it is time to move on, especially for that tidy sum of cash, yet still remain head of the building’s Tenants’ Association.
Ruth is elated about her good fortune, which could not have materialized except through her hero, Arthur.