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Maimonides Tenants Protest Evictions, Neglectful Building Maintenance

Nurses and hospital staff rally against Brooklyn hospital which they say is pushing them out of their homes despite decades of service.

Maimonides Hospital workers, tenants, and their neighbors rallied outside the hospital Wednesday to protest the Brooklyn medical center’s decision to evict hospital staff from their staff housing.

Maimonides bought apartment buildings in the 1980s to rent out to staff, but recently the hospital decided to curtail their housing program and is refusing to let workers stay in their homes, according to a news release sent on behalf of the tenants.

The group also protested what they called substandard housing conditions and leaks, including infestations and damage from a building fire. 

“During COVID, we were called heroes, and now in return, we’re being treated like zeroes,” said Jaclyn Salvatore, a tenant in a building owned by Maimonides whose husband worked as a security officer for the hospital.

Maimonides is currently in court trying to evict almost 40 tenants, including retirees, according to the release.

In two buildings owned by Maimonides, the tenants said another 30-40 Maimonides workers were told to leave their homes by the end of the year.

Tenants picketed outside the hospital, demanding that Maimonides let them stay in their homes and repair the buildings.

They chanted, “No leases, no peace!” and “Hell no, we won’t go!” holding signs that accused Maimonides of being a slumlord.

Maimonides had owned 11 buildings near the hospital and rented out apartments to nurses, hospital staff, and tenants who were already living in the buildings.

In 2018, Maimonides sold seven of the buildings to Iris Holdings Group and negotiated a temporary master lease that would cover hospital workers, who would then sublet from Maimonides, the protesting tenants say.

Iris Holdings Group is in the process of renovating the seven buildings.

Evicting Maimonides workers and longtime tenants would allow Iris to then rent out the units to higher-paying tenants and receive substantial subsidies from the city for low-income tenants, the soon-to-be evicted tenants allege.

They say none of the tenants is being offered leases that would allow them to stay in their homes, either under Iris Holdings Groups or Maimonides. They said this is despite the fact the buildings were rent-stabilized before Maimonides bought them.

“I am hoping for justice from an organization whose moniker is ‘Passionate about Medicine, Compassionate about People,’” said Conrad Ramkissoon, who worked as a nurse at Maimonides and is now in court facing eviction.

The tenants and workers have the support of Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes, Fifth Avenue Committee, and Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Over 50 tenants spanning the 11 buildings attended a meeting earlier this month at Mitaynes’ office.

The tenants say Maimonides has not maintained the buildings that they own or the units they rent from Iris Holdings Group. Tenants complained of bed bug and roach infestations, leaks, broken pipes, broken doors and buzzers, and dirty conditions. They say repairs from Maimonides were rare and many tenants improved their apartments out of pocket.

"At the highest point, Maimonides was paying $336,000 per month to cover rent increases," a spokesperson from Maimonides said in an email to BK Reader. 

"We understand this change must be placing tremendous stress on these residents and that NYC real estate is beyond challenging. But as a safety-net hospital, we cannot sustain this program and must pursue our core mission, which is to deliver excellent patient care to our community," the spokesperson said. 




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