We are two tenant associations who joined together to defend ourselves against a corporate real estate investment hydra that seeks to expel us from our homes in order to maximize their profits.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'll Be Watching You

This is our new key to the front doors of the buildings we live in. Its an electronic "fob" key. Magnum/ Fortune East changed the entry doors to our buildings for reasons of "security".  Along with this fob key, a video camera was also installed for our personal "security".We received an unsigned letter from Fortune East saying that we had 3 different times to appear at an apartment at 120 East 4th St. to pickup our new key. We were instructed to bring our ID. The letter said we were only allowed one key. If we wanted a second key we had to submit the reason for one in writing to them. According to the law we are allowed 2 keys to the building. Fortune East will mess with you in any little way they can. I went to pick up my key on the first day. I presented my drivers license to this guy named Keith. I can't tell you if that is his real name. There has been a history of folks from Magnum Mgmt. presenting themselves to us with false names.  He asked me to find my name on a list and initial it. As I did this, without asking me, he swiped my ID into his computer and there was my face on his computer screen! Now I already live in an apartment here. I already went through an interview process and background check. Ben Shaoul and Magnum were performing background checks on the tenants that already lived here. Very sleazy in my opinion. I'm quite sure they used Google and other Internet search devices to collect information on us. Now this particular key has our identity on it. We buzz ourselves into the building with it and the camera records us. I can't say that I personally feel secure with this. Can you say George Orwell?

There is another problem with this key aside from Ben Shaoul performing daily surveillance upon us.  We experienced a power blackout in the hallways of the building last January. See the post "Blackout". The power went out on all floors except the first floor. From the street all looked normal. This is the point of concern. If the power goes out in the entire building, which is possible with the slipshod management, what happens to the electronic locks? Are they still locked, or is the building open to the criminal element on the street? Is the lock disabled without electric power? Fortune East instructed us to keep the original key in case of a power outage, but they put a metal plug into the keyhole. Now in the case of another blackout, I'd like to know if I return home late at night from work that I can get into the building. I can make my way up the stars in the dark, and light a candle and cope. In the situation of another blackout, I fear that I would be locked out on the street. One might say to call the super and he would come down to the street and let you in. Magnum has removed the super from our buildings,  to maximize their profits, so this would not be an option. According to reviews of Magnum on the Yelp website, they have a pattern of removing Supers from their properties.  Of course there has been no response on this issue from Mgmt.

Every move you make, every step you take, I'll be watching you.

Do not rent from Ben Shaoul, Magnum, Fortune East, or PVE associates.


  1. if you hate this guy so much, just move out of the building to one with a better management

    1. Kyle, we here on East 4th street are not cowards. This predatory real estate hedge fund has purchased the buildings we live in with only one objective in mind. That is to maximize their profits by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. That includes breaking laws, harassment, and lying to tenants about their leases and their rights. Some would flee and hide, but we intend to defend our rights by law and hold this 1% Corporate Hedge Fund accountable for its thuggish criminal practices.

    2. Kyle says "just move out" as if it is easy to do so and find a building with better management.Part of the problem is these guys own so many buildings and they keep changing their name, their company name ("Fortune East", "Magnum Real Estate Services", "PVE Associates")and they hide their own personal names, even on city documents and permits, so it would take quite an effort to find an affordable and available apartment that these creeps don't have their claws on.

      There ought to be restrictions on how many properties a landlord (or group of owners) can control. Monopolies are never a good thing.

    3. There needs to be transparency and enforcement of the law. These people hide their indentities on legal papers and documents? I guess I'm shouldn't be surprised. You guys with your blog can impose transparency on these corporate criminals if the govt. wont do it.

    4. That's right! Don't run and hide, stand up to the corporate greed, and IMPOSE TRANSPARENCY on them. If they can use the Internet to investigate you, you can do the same and reveal the truth about their corrupt practices. Great blog!

    5. I love that there is always a, "if you don't like it, just move!" comment put in on any posting, anywhere, on any issues with landlords. Kyle, you are so obviously working for Fortune East, (are you Yulissa?)that it is laughable! I have NEVER, in 25 years of NYC apartment living, EVER met a tenant who says shit like that! Glad you're watching us Ben and Co! Glad we scare you! We're not going anywhere, and every month that we stay that's money out of your pocket and WE LOOOOOOVE IT!!!!!

  2. Yes, "kyle", that's exactly what the new management is hoping for, that their "less remunerative" tenants will "just move out". Welcome to the world of predatory real estate investment.

  3. it is amazing how many blatantly illegal moves these guys are pulling on you poor tenants. i believe it is also illegal to not have a super living within two blocks of the building, if not in the building.
    i would take measures to report all of this to the DHCR and see if you can get a lawyer involved for your own protection against these sleazebags.
    thank god you are making this information public.

    1. Claire B. (a tenant)March 13, 2012 at 8:08 AM

      We were all up in arms over the loss of Eddie, our super. The law states that the super (or custodian) must live within 200 yards of the building. The feedback we got when we looked into trying to have this law enforced was that it's a law in name only and that there was really nothing we could do. And Eddie really is a very good super. He's a real character, so he rubs some tenants the wrong way, but nobody works harder. No super cares more about or takes more pride in his buildings than Eddie! A quick aside; A month or two BEFORE they kicked Eddie out, Fortune East posted a building permit with several apartment numbers on it, including Eddie's. When asked about it, they told him not to worry, it was just a typo. This thoughtless and callous behavior has proven to be just par for the course for this management company (that management with a small e).

  4. Claire B. (a tenant)March 13, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    The great irony of this story is that while tenants (some extremely long term...like we're talking some since the sixties here)had to submit to having our IDs scanned (nobody asks to see our IDs when they're cashing our rent checks by the way!), the front door locks were "broken" (and broken is in quotes because it was very handy for the construction crews to have access to our buildings 27/7)and Realtors and God knows who else (a burglar in one case! It's TRUE! A burglar gained access to an apt in 124 FROM THE ROOF OF 120, say the police!)could come and go as they pleased!

  5. That fob looks like this fob:

    "1346LSSMN - HID ProxkeyII 26bit Keyfob"


    $4.09 each.

    You'd need a "facility code" (the same for all of the fobs at that address, I presume) and a "starting number" (assuming that you're ordering in quantity), where the number is presumably unique to each apartment; I'd probably go for the penthouse :-)

  6. Yes, it looks like a HID product:


    (It's apparently a passive RFID tag)

  7. Oh grow up! Not everything is about you! Many buildings (buildings without your issues) have key fobs. Guess what? THEY ARE EASIER!!!!! Live with them for awhile and you'll see. Your landlord may be a predator, but doesn't mean that he has nothing better to do than keep tabs on YOU!!!!

    1. Chelsea87, you are so out of touch with reality. You are obviously some kind of Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. Well I pity you...... and your little dog too.

  8. Easier? For what and for whom?

    - Not easier to duplicate for family and friends to hold in case of emergency.

    - Not easier to duplicate for a spare to keep in your gym bag.

    - Not more secure because they can be read from a distance while being used by a tenant to enter (distance to read is greater than distance to power on, so a second reader can be placed by a potential burglar where it is undetectable).

    But there is one feature of these fobs that is indeed remarkable. The building management can obtain a timestamped record of each tenant's entry into the building.

    That is invaluable because the record can then be used to evaluate whether a rent-stabilized tenant actually "lives in" the building based on how often he enters it (of course, if he is a recluse, he may enter once and not leave for months, so it's not failsafe).

    Probably that's why these new management guys love the fobs. Nothing to do with "easier", everything to do with moving low-paying tenants out and high-paying tenants in.

    Also, a convenient way to harass the tenants you don't like, by not giving them enough fobs but letting the tenants or "shareholders" you do want have as many as they want. So, yeah, that's "easier" too.

    1. 1. Please document the memory retention qualities of the fobs. Source the info, please. 2. Trade fobs with your neighbors, mix and match, use them at random. 3. Why should I trust your judgment as to who gets one of your fobs? Why are you wiser (or less wise) than the building"s management?

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