New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy

Written by Richard Siegler & Dale Degenshein on December 16, 2015

Coney Island


What happens when a disgruntled (or perhaps a “principled”) apartment owner creates a website for the purpose of discussing events and conditions in a building and allegedly posts defamatory statements? In the case of Trump Village Section 4 and Igor Oberman v. Yuliya Bezvoleva Aka Julia Bezvoleva, Inna Yeselson, Josef Stalin, Aborigen,, two shareholders were sued by the cooperative corporation, Trump Village Section 4, and its board president, Igor Oberman.
The defendants, Julia Bezvoleva and Inna Yeselson allegedly started a website for the purposes of discussing events and conditions in Trump Village. According to the co-op, the website was designed to provide information, announcements, and advice to and for residents of Trump Village. The co-op asserted, however, that the website was not being used as a forum to benefit the Trump Village community but instead was being used as a site to post 19 separate defamatory statements throughout a one-year period. Although the complaint asserts that Bezvoleva and Yeselson authored the statements, there is no proof of that since they were posted anonymously.

Co-op and condo boards can be very strict about their pet policies and have been known to come down hard on residents who harbor animals against the rules. But there's a difference between a pet dog and a service dog, as we've covered in the past. It looks like neither Trump Village IV — a 1,144-unit Coney Island co-op — nor board president Igor Oberman got the memo, however, and it could end up being quite costly. reports that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is charging the co-op and Oberman "with violating the rights of Eugene Ovsishcher, a combat veteran with a psychiatric disability, and his wife, Galina" for denying the disabled veteran's request in August 2011 "to keep an emotional support dog." According to HUD, reports, in February 2012, Ovsishcher provided the board, along with his request, "a copy of the dog’s picture, license and a letter from [his] doctor explain[ing] the medical need for the dog." Trump Village not only said no dice, but also threatened to terminate the couple's lease if they didn't make Mickey the Shi Tzu scram. And they made good on that threat, starting eviction proceedings a month later. It was the court's turn to say no dice, however — turns out when you want to evict someone, you should maybe not keep collecting rent from them. And that's when the couple went to HUD. If only Oberman and the board had read our story. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't generally apply to cooperative apartment corporations and condominium associations, state and federal fair-housing laws do.

A precedent-setting decision by New York State's highest court eases privatization of Mitchell-Lama co-ops and similar affordable housing by affirming there is no sales tax on the process. 

The Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Wednesday that Trump Village Section 3 — which left the Mitchell-Lama program of limited-equity co-ops to become a private corporation in 2007 — is not subject to New York City's Real Property Transfer Tax, normally levied on the sale or other transfer of property.

When you're one of the earliest residential cooperatives in New York City and you've managed to reach your golden anniversary while remaining a bastion of affordable housing, you've got reason to celebrate. Coney Island's historic Amalgamated Warbasse Houses did just that this month with a blowout for its roughly 8,000 people in 2,584 apartments across five buildings. And as the Brooklyn Daily reports, citing co-op board president Michael Silverman, it didn't cost the shareholders a single cent. 

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a 63-year-old woman in a Fifth Avenue co-op has had the same Maytag washer in her apartment for 20 years with permission and without trouble. Now the co-op board won't approve a replacement unless it's one of three hoity-toity brands. Well, lah-de-dah ... Maytag's not good enough for 'em? Let's go to court! And court may be where Trump Village West board president Igor Oberman might wind up, since a New York City Department of Investigation report accuses him of less-than-ethical things. Plus, Co-op City has an asbestos problem. Or does it?

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a Chelsea condo board has won its battle with a downstairs gym, New York City investigates possible fraud by Lower East Side co-op board members and a Queens co-op says it's not soulless. The Comptroller says the City goes too easy on water-bill deadbeats, raising rates for the rest of us. An expert answers: Are condo boards as powerful as co-op boards? And Law & Order's Richard Belzer sells his co-op. Dun dun!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, The Plaza puts the pedal to the mettle, as the storied hotel-condominium sues to get rid of a CitiBike rack. Also suing: Corporations fighting Joan Rivers' condo nemesis Elizabeth Hazan (see last week's News Roundup), and Yoko Ono, who says her West Village co-op board is walking on thin ice. We've renovation plans a board won't like, the latest on mortgage rate-locks, and superstorm Sandy woes persist in The Rockaways, Coney Island and elsewhere.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, for some reason, we're big on board-specific news: boards suing developers and residents, a board president squeezing "donations" from building vendors for a political bid and a board turning amateur cop and firing employees it suspects of thievery — hindering the investigation by actual cops. A George ZImmerman board, as it were. Plus, exclusive co-ops learn to compete for buyers and an alleged illegal hotelier has people arrested who complain! Man, late August is crazy!

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, union workers say they're getting a Bronx cheer, Christine Quinn gets a nod in Queens, and a City Council candidate gets endorsed by a board in Brooklyn. Plus, a condominium board near the U.N. sues a law firm, and if you've ever wondered if you can legally photograph or shoot video of fellow residents breaking rules, find out now.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, sponsor abuses stir up the latest call for a co-op ombudsman in the Attorney General's office, a Queens condo board changes apartments' locks to keep owners out during Sandy repair — commandeering one home for a construction office — and West Village co-opers sue to keep away bicycle clutter. For condo and co-op boards, we've the latest hoteling lawsuit. Plus: Condopedia! Which we're sure is as accurate as regular Wikipedia.

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