Not Enough for Einhorns! Dodges Court to File Bankruptcy
Real Estate moguls Harry and Victor Einhorn were offered $8.8M after a marathon negotiation at City Hall led by Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Lincoln Restler, senior policy adviser to Mayor de Blasio. The proposal would have doubled the Einhorns’ two year investment in the 211 Ainslie Street property. This money would be in addition to the $600,000 the Einhorns have pocketed from the more than two years rent paid by Conselyea Street Block Association.
The negotiations began in good faith and ended with the understanding that the community would acquire 211 Ainslie Street through a new lease-to-purchase agreement. The Einhorn team requested a day to think it over and did not disclose they would use this time to file bankruptcy.
The dialogue to come terms was of mutual benefit to both parties. The actual ownership of the property is in question and currently under review by New York State Supreme Court.
Council Member Antonio Reynoso gave this appraisal of the Einhorn’s bankruptcy maneuver, “This is clearly a last-ditch effort by the landlords to avoid a ruling against them in NYS Supreme Court regarding the issue of who owns the property. They know that the City should have been given right-of-first-refusal on the purchase of the building, so they are simply trying to stall the court proceedings.”
“We found the site, we lobbied for the City to invest money, and the City has been paying rent for over 40 years to a private landlord. We were assured the community would be able to acquire the building at the end of the lease,” said Jan Peterson, one of those community leaders who founded the day care and senior center.
Phil Caponegro, President of Conselyea Street Block Association and member of St. Nicks Board of Directors said, “This is really a shame. We had the right to purchase property, made a large offer and the owner files for bankruptcy.”
CSBA merged with St. Nicks Alliance two years ago to ensure community’s ability to acquire the property. The negotiations on March 30th were the culmination of community effort to ensure the building remains a senior and day care center. St. Nicks Alliance as a community development corporation has the capacity to acquire the building and retain daycare and senior center activities for the next generation. Loss of this center would accelerate gentrification and end the life sustaining assistance available to seniors.
Marc Aronson, co-counsel, who developed and articulated the legal strategy of the community, did not appear fazed by the most recent action of the Einhorns. The Einhorns first brought an eviction proceeding in the commercial housing court that was stopped by the Supreme Court action commenced by Mr. Aronson on behalf of the community. He said, “It appears now that the Supreme Court may determine that the Einhorn acquisition of the building violated the terms of the contract that exists between Conselyea Street/City and the owners of the property.”
“The Einhorn’s’ most recent effort, in filing bankruptcy notice is overtly bad faith. The desperate desire to suck as much excess profit as possible from the building, and increasing the tension and insecurity placed on the seniors and the families with small children served at the site by the Swinging Sixties and Small World Centers. Justice will be served, and these bad players will get what they deserve,” stated Marty Needelman of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and co-counsel.
During the ongoing fight to preserve 211 Ainslie as a community center Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said, “The fight is never over for 211 Ainslie Street. The Swinging 60’s Senior Center and Small World Day Care Center are the backbone of the community. But, they represent even more than that. They give human face to the programs that our City and State government promote.”