The Bombart family has regained ownership of 888 Grand Concourse after the building was foreclosed on in 2015.
The Bombart family, through Concourse Realty Associates LLC, and Castellan Realty, a new partner in ownership of the property, paid off the outstanding debt on the building to mortgage lender Madison Capital Realty.
Tenants, who had been at odds with Jonathan Bombart and his late father Louis Bombart due to unsatisfactory living conditions, gathered outside the Bronx Supreme Court to rail against the deal.
Residents at 888 Grand Concourse have been fighting with the Bombart family for decades over uninhabital conditions in the building such as lack of heat and hot water, broken elevators and roach infestation.
MCR, which owned the lien on 888 Grand Concourse, began foreclosure proceedings on the building in 2013 after the Bombarts defaulted on the mortgage payments and had amassed unpaid real estate taxes.
An auction to sell the building was originally scheduled for Monday, February 6.
However, according to members of Community Action for Safe Apartments, the deal between Bombart and MCR was closed several minutes before the auction was scheduled to take place.
CASA and Bronx Legal Services have been working with the tenants through protests and court battles to get the repairs the building needs.
At the Monday rally against Bombart’s re-acquistion of the building, residents shouted “888! Not for sale!” and “Housing is a right! Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Carmen Vega Rivera, who started the building’s tenants’ association in 1993, said she was disappointed in the final outcome.
“The courts have let us down, the system has let us down, government agencies have let us down,” said Rivera.
“We’re going to fight tooth and nail with CASA, with [Bronx] Legal Services, with Urban Justice and the community because we feel for 30 years we paid our rent and [the Bombarts] stole the money,” she added.
The tenants have tried many tactics in their battle with the Bombarts including a rent strike and sticking signs in their windows telling prospective tenants to beware.
Their latest plan is a 7A Action against Bombart.
Article 7A of the New York State Real Property Actions and Proceedings law allows housing court judges to appoint private administrators to manage residential buildings that have been “effectively abandoned” by their owners.
Robert Hammond, a lawyer with Bronx Legal Services, believes Bombart’s recovery of the building will help their 7A action.
According to Hammond, if a new owner had purchased the building, they could have blamed the building’s condition on the previous landlord.
However, with Bombart regaining ownership, Bronx Legal Services can claim he was the person under which the building’s condition deteriorated.
Neither Castellan Realty or Concourse Realty Associates was available for comment.
However, in a letter Bombarts sent to his tenants he wrote, “I hope you will help us, to once again, make this building a jewel of the Bronx,”
He promised to begin extensive renovations shortly “to make our building safe and comfortable.”
Tenants still want a face-to-face sit down with the landlord and sent him a letter asking for one.