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Dear Mayor de Blasio,
We are calling on you to return Richard Born’s and Ira Drukier’s campaign contributions and the $90,000 that was raised at the March fundraiser. With the presidential primaries underway and your reputation for standing up for tenants on the line, you must make it crystal clear to them that they cannot buy a Certificate of No Harassment! As you know, Born and Drukier are the principals of BD Hotels, and they are principals in an LLC that presently owns the famed Chelsea Hotel, where, since 2007, dozens of residents, most of them in the arts, have been evicted to make way for luxury accommodations. Since August 2011, the remaining residents have endured years of seemingly never-ending demolition and construction (often involving demolishing new construction and rebuilding over again).
The Certificate of No Harassment (COHN), issued by the city’s HPD [Department of Housing Preservation and Development], is intended to protect tenants from exactly this sort of abuse. Though Born and Drukier well knew of the requirement for a CONH, as they have applied for CONHs at other buildings they own. Additionally, they were fired from the Chelsea Hotel once before, in 2008, for their refusal to apply for a CONH. They have been, doing construction without, one for three years while tenants continue to experience interruptions of basic services, leaks, exposure to toxic dust, and constant ear-splitting noise.
Mr. Mayor, we invite you to visit the Chelsea Hotel and experience for yourself the conditions of the building, such as Gothamist did in October 2018. Currently, a portion of the tenants in the building have been without cooking gas for a month and the entire building has been without hot water for over 24 hours.
In any event, you must not allow your reputation as a tenant’s advocate to be besmirched by this appearance of impropriety. That’s why we are asking you to return the $57,000 donated to your campaign by Richard Born, Ira Drukier, and their associates. Return the $90,000 raised at the March 4 fundraiser. Only then can the public be assured that the HPD’s ongoing investigation into the harassment of the tenants of the Chelsea Hotel will be allowed to continue without undue interference. We hope you will do the right thing.
Ed Hamilton & Debbie Martin (Chelsea Hotel Bloggers)
NOTE: This open letter to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio first appeared, August 5, 2019, on the Chelsea Hotel blog. To see it, click here.
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