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Rhinelander Tenants Fight to Restore Building’s Prominence

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A six-story dwelling once marketed as an up-scale apartment building has become a nightmare for its residents.

Four months ago, officers of the 49th Precinct were forced to gun down knife wielder Paul Goldreyer at his apartment on 1545 Rhinelander Avenue.

The 48-year-old, who was enrolled in FEGS Health and Human Services System, was pronounced dead at the scene after he charged officers while brandishing a six-inch steak knife on Sunday, March 20. the police were responding to a domestic disturbance complaint at the time.

Over the last 18 months, the 49th Precinct has responded to approximately 160 complaints­regardingi­ssues with residents in the 106-unit building, which houses tenants with psychological disabilities in non-profit human services programs, such as FEGS.

In addition to problems with these tenants, members of the building’s newly created tenants’ association recently pointed out that the post-war building has fallen into disrepair.

Walls in and around the building are covered in graffiti, garbage is piled high behind the building, the elevators seldom work, the front door is broken, and rear courtyard benches are completely derelict.

“This place is on the brink of becoming a [homeless] shelter, and I certainly didn’t sign this lease to live in a shelter,” said resident Ray Jackson, president of the tenants’ association. “We are all looking for changes here. What we want to hear is that this building will be taken over by new management. None of us know what to expect.”

Jackson recalls the building, which is off Eastchester Road, being in excellent condition when he moved there in 1978. He and only about seven other tenants have been living there since before Hannah Goldberg purchased it in the early 1980s.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who has been working with Community Board 11 district manager Jeremy Warneke and 49th Precinct Deputy Inspector Kevin Nicholson to resolve issues at the building, helped develop 1545 Rhinelander’s first ever tenants’ association.

Currently, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development lists 158 open code violations and approximately $5,000 in pending fines with the building. Vacca is fed up with the lack of effort by Goldberg.

“We’ve seen the result: over 500 housing complaints, over 150 police calls, and an exodus of longtime residents who were once proud to call this building home,” Vacca said “I am calling on the landlord, and state regulators, to intervene and return this building to a state of good repair.”

The tenants’ association has met several times and is tentatively scheduled to meet again on Thursday, August 4 in the building’s lobby.

The tenants meet in the lobby because the building’s recreation room has been converted into an illegal apartment, Jackson said.

“She (Goldberg) claims it’s completely legal,” Jackson said. “She’s taken all the our amenities that we once had in this building.”

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