Parkchester South Condominium owners fighting a ‘draconian’ maintenance fee increase will have their day in court.
Assemblyman Luis Sepúlveda and Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. filed a lawsuit in Bronx Supreme Court on Wednesday, March 23 against Parkchester South Condominium’s management regarding the recent imposition of a 15.19% maintenance fee increase for PSC owners.
Last Friday, March 25, Supreme Court Justice Ruben Franco ordered Parkchester South Management to take no steps in evicting unit owners for failing to pay the 15.19% from February 1 until or after April 4, pending a court hearing on that date.
Judge Elizabeth Taylor will preside over this Monday, April 4 court hearing at Bronx Supreme Court, according to Sepúlveda.
After collecting $15 each from condo owners to cover legal costs, the legislators filed the lawsuit in Bronx State Supreme Court this past Wednesday to block the increases and require an independent forensic audit of management’s books and expenses.
Further, the suit charges that management has failed to provide an accounting and backup documentation of the bidding process used, to select the contractor or contractors who performed the repairs, to demonstrate to individual unit owners that management used the most cost effective course for the repairs, to honor its fiduciary duty to give individual owners a way to readily review the condominium’s books, to provide an independently audited review of the relevant financial records, to provide a full explanation of and justification for the computations employed and their underlying methodology in determining the increases imposed on owners or to use an objective and independent accounting firm to ensure individual owners can review a proper audit for the last three years including revenues and expenditures relevant to these increases.
“We will be vigilant in defending the hardworking owners and residents from these astronomical monthly increases, ones they not only cannot afford, but which are mired in secrecy,” said Diaz, a PSC owner and lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
The Sepulveda said Parkchester South’s management stated the increased maintenance fees are meant to offset the cost of PSC’s structural repairs.
He explained that the lawsuit is searching for any possible instances of mismanagement or unlawful dealings from PSC’s management.
“What we want to know is why exactly management issued such a large increase over such a short amount of time instead of doing this gradually,” he added.
As previously reported by the Bronx Times, PSC explained the 15.19% temporary maintenance fee hike was necessary to address wide-spread water infiltration and damage to the roof slab, which needed immediate attention.
If not, this would result in ceiling collapses resulting in potential injuries, owner displacement and leaving units in a state of disrepair rendering them unsellable.
Once work is finished in 2017, PSC’s board intends to revert the maintenance fee back to 2015 levels of 2.5%.
Due to the ongoing suit, a PSC spokesman could not comment further on the case, but insisted that management is being cooperative.
Parkchester’s north and south condominiums are home to a substantial South Asian population consisting of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indians. More than 20% of the population is comprised of African Americans and Latinos.