On Wednesday, June 28, tenants of the rent-stabilized 124 E. 176th Street held a rally outside of their residence in response to the deplorable conditions and scenarios, persistency of harassment and violated rights that have endured for years.
In May, tenants of the seven-story, 72-unit building, collectively sent a letter to its manager, David David, asking him to meet with them so they could address their complaints, which includes harassment, shoddy repairs and lack of security, which allows homeless people and other unwanted visitors to enter the property.
The letter also discussed the building’s serious health concerns caused by mold and mouse/rat infestations.
It has been more than a month since the tenant association reached out to David David and they still haven’t received a response back.
“He (David David) has been very inconsiderate of us (the tenants) – and doesn’t think he should be held accountable for his actions,” said Corine Ombongo-Golden, who has lived in the building for nearly 10 years and whose husband Craig suffered from lung cancer, a condition that she said worsened because of the leaks in their bedroom while he was going through chemotherapy. We (the tenants association) will speak up and stand together until we can meet with him or receive a response from him.”
Corine explained that David David takes the tenants to court on a regular basis, falsely claiming that they are behind on their rent. She was taken to court by David David, and even though she won the case she was incrediibly stressed by the action because it occurred at the same time she was taking care of her ailing husband.
Ombongo-Golden compared her landlord to Dracula, because of the draining effect he has on her and her neighbors efforts. She also described him as a “master of strategic harassment.”
Corine’s husband eventually passed away in the early 2010s before the repairs were made, even after the couple had moved into the guest bedroom to sleep because it had less leaks and was warmer than their bedroom. She also covered the apartment unit’s mold with towels.
Following the rally, residents from the building, which consists of one- and two-bedroom apartments, opened their units to the public to reveal the conditions they have been dealing with for years.
“It is unacceptable that these residents (of 124 E. 176th Street) continue to be subjected to inhumane living conditions, including the lack of basic repairs, a worsening exposure to mold and vermin, as well as continuous harassment and neglect by their landlord,” said Senator Gustavo Rivera.
Rivera is currently working with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition to hold the landlord, as well as other landlords, accountable for housing violations which seriously impact residents’ financial stability and health.
David David, who owns at least five buildings in the city and is responsible for nearly 800 violations citywide, was named #11 on the 100 Worst Landlords in New York City list last year. Previously, he was also named to another list citing the city’s 100 worst landlords under an alias, David Green.
The Coalition of Tenant Harassment is currently pushing the city to pass the Certificate of No Harassment bill, which would protect tenants from harassment and other illegal tactics of landlords.
Community Board 5 did not return request for comment.
David David could not be reached for comment.