State AG says Green National must remedy tenants’ living conditions or face $300,000 fine

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced an agreement with Greenland Property Services, LLC and its related entity Green National, requiring them to address all housing code violations within 60 days, upon a press conference on Tuesday.

In the deal, Green National, a property management company owned by Troy and Tim Green, will pay a $300,000 fine, all but $50,000 of which will be suspended if all terms of the deal are met within 60 days. . The remaining $50,000 will be paid immediately to the state, according to a press release from the state attorney general’s office.

“Thousands of tenants have endured years of filthy and dangerous conditions and they have lived without hope,” James said at a Tuesday news conference in downtown Syracuse. “I am here to announce to thousands of tenants of Green National and related businesses that your nightmare is coming to an end.”

Green National manages more than 1,000 apartments in Syracuse-area buildings, such as Skyline Apartments, Springfield Garden Apartments and Vincent Apartments, according to the company’s press release and website. Tenants in these buildings are mostly low-income people, people with health conditions, people receiving assistance from government programs and seniors, James said.

In 2016, a Chinese-born Syracuse University student was fatally shot near the Springfield Garden Apartments complex. The Chinese Consulate General in New York expressed concern in a 2016 statement after the victim’s body was identified.

The Skyline Apartments, another building owned by Green National, has been surrounded by drug use and gun violence in recent years, according to the press release, and residents have also reported human waste and drug paraphernalia. drugs in the hallways, broken elevators and poor security inside. building. The city of Syracuse has repeatedly declared the apartment’s common areas unsuitable for human habitation.

In March 2021, 93-year-old Connie Touri was murdered in her Skyline Apartments home. Less than two weeks later, a then 28-year-old male resident was stabbed in the chest outside the building. Two months later, another male resident, 27 at the time, was stabbed in the chest in the same building, according to a statement from the Syracuse Police Department. On January 23, 2022, a 31-year-old woman was shot in the midsection of the Skyline apartment, according to the SPD.

Tenants of the Skyline Apartments building have filed a class action lawsuit against the building’s landlords for an alleged “model of exploitation” of low-income tenants as well as government agencies that subsidize their rent, according to the complaint. The first appearance will be on April 13.

On January 25, syracuse.com announced that Skyline apartments were under contract to be sold to a national buyer known for “renovating distressed properties”. The buyer’s name is currently unknown.

Larry Fuller, a tenant of Skyline Apartments for nearly nine years and one of the plaintiffs in the class action, said the building was “clean, safe and desirable”.

“Whenever I witnessed violence or was threatened by intruders – sometimes just steps from my home – I wondered when would enough be enough?” Fuller said. “But (with) today’s announcement, I hope we all have our answer: enough is enough.”

“The Greens have treated their tenants as something less than human for far too long in the city,” Fuller said. “No one should ever expect to live like this. I hope no one here ever has to live like that, and I’m sure the Greens don’t live like that.

Photo by Francis Tang | Asst. News editor; Photo Illustration by Maya Goosmann | Director of Digital Design

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh also attended. Walsh thanked James and his office as well as McMahon for stepping in to solve the city’s housing problem.

“We used every tool in our toolbox to hold Green National accountable.” says Walsh.

Yet during the weekly inspection of Skyline Apartments on Tuesday, the same day as the conference, the City of Syracuse found the same conditions that led the city to again declare common areas of the property “unsuitable for habitation. human”. , says Walsh. This is the fourth time the city has declared the building unfit for habitation.

“So it’s clear that the tools we have in our toolbox haven’t been enough,” he said.

McMahon also thanked the state attorney general’s office and the mayor, as well as the tenants who spoke out for the treatment they endured.

“We know that in this business, money talks,” McMahon said. “And the Attorney General came in big with a big sum of money with a heavy, heavy fine to really hold this outfit accountable.”

“Being a landlord is a business, and it comes with heavy responsibilities,” James said. “And Green National ignored those responsibilities. Green National breached the legal and contractual obligations that any landlord owes tenants in an unforgivable way.

Additionally, James told the Daily Orange that with the state’s eviction moratorium expiring last month, the state attorney general’s office hopes the state legislature will expand the right to a statewide tenant attorney.

James said his office works with legal departments across the state. She hopes the federal government or New York State budget will fund the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which provides economic assistance to help low- and moderate-income households at risk of becoming homeless or unstable housing, according to the program’s website.

James said the deal with Green National should serve as “notice” to all homeowners in New York State, as it is only “the beginning” of the state’s efforts to address landlord issues. longtime Syracuse accommodation.

“It should be a notice to all homeowners, and anyone else who tries the same tactic, that the New York State Attorney General’s Office will not tolerate homeowners profiting from the misery,” James said. .

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Contact Francois: [email protected] | @francis_towne

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