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Sham Co-op on Upper West Side Now Rent-Stabilized Apartments

Upper West Side, Manhattan

Sham Co-op

The sham co-op on Central Park West is once again rent-stabilized apartments (image via Google Maps).

Feb. 5, 2019

Letitia James, the state’s Attorney General, may be new at her job, but she hasn’t wasted any time rolling up her sleeves. One of the first to learn about the new AG’s work ethic is Labe Twerski, who converted a rent-stabilized apartment building on the Upper West Side into a sham co-op in the 1980s, then held onto all the shares and rented out the building’s 31 apartments at market rates. 

James recently announced that Twerski has settled with the state, agreeing to provide rent-stabilized leases at affordable rates to tenants living in 447-448 Central Park West, located between West 104th and 105th streets, Patch reports. Twerski was accused of circumventing the state’s rent-regulation system. 

"My office is dedicated to preserving and promoting access to affordable, rent-stabilized housing for the people of New York," James said in a statement. "Landlords should be on notice that they cannot circumvent our state's rent-stabilization laws through the use of sham co-ops. We will always crack down on landlord greed and protect the rights of tenants." 

Twerski will be forced to register each of the building’s 31 units with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal as part of the settlement. A second building owned by Twerski's co-op corporation will also be registered with the state. The landlord will be required to offer 59 rent-regulated leases at a Broadway building in Washington Heights, where he conducted the same sham co-op conversion as in the Upper West Side building.

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