OCT. 10, 2012: The Website is going to be updated on a more regular basis by the 380-402 Tenants Association. Eric is no longer the Webmaster, however he still resides in 380 and is still a member.
JULY 10, 2012: Sam August has authorized the following post: "Friends, thank you for your support surrounding the eviction case based on my alleged posting of Tenant Association communications at The Pavilion Apartments. The property owner, through counsel, has agreed to dismiss their Summons and Complaint against me. I am thrilled that the Stipulation specifically provides for bulletin boards to be purchased and installed in the mail rooms of Building A and Building B. The designated Tenant Association enclosed, lockable bulletin boards are for any tenant or community related information and will be in the control of the Tenants Association. This is a major victory for the Pavilion Apartments Tenants Association. We need to plan a celebration. I agreed that I will not post, or direct others to post, any notices in the common areas of the premises. Best regards. Sam August".
Note that the attorneys for both parties agreed that distributing literature under tenants doors is specifically protected under the laws of the State of New Jersey. It is an established right. Therefore it doesn't need to be part of a settlement.
JUNE 21, 2012: TENANT CASE AFFECTING ALL OF NEWARK. Pavilion Tenants Association Chairman Sam August emerged from court energized and upbeat. Management attempted to evict him for distributing tenants' literature. There are specific "Freedom of Speech" laws and case laws protecting the rights of tenants in NJ to distribute literature under each unit entry door. Attending to support Sam was his attorney, Joan Pransky, Central Ward Councilman Darrin Sharif, a representative of La Casa De Don Pedro, Eric Martindale (webmaster), and 7 tenant leaders from the Pavilion. Judge Mahlon L. Fast presided. Management's legal counsel was Bruce Gudin of the firm Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, and Plaza. Facing certain defeat on the specifics of the case, Management agreed to settle the matter. This means that Sam will not be evicted. Also agreed upon is that the laws in NJ allow tenants to distribute literature. This is so crystal clear that it wasn't even a point of negotiation. Matters not yet agreed upon is the posting of flyers near the elevators and the ability for the tenants association to have it's own locking glass-case bulletin board in each building to post information. After a lengthy counsel session with the judge, both attorneys emerged. A final court date is set for July 10th, in order for Gudin to present the terms of the settlement to the owners, and for the owners to set parameters for Gudin's final negotiations. Everyone will be back in court to support Sam.
What's most disturbing about the entire case is the ability of management and their law firms to harass tenant leaders with eviction proceedings when there is absolutely no legal basis. Tenant leaders along with the NJTO and Councilman Darrin Sharif are concerned with this problem. One thing that will stop this harassment is passing state legislation for legal fee equality. This means that tenants will be entitled to win legal fees if they prevail in court against management, either as a Defendant or as a Plaintiff. This legislation was introduced in Trenton, and it is working through the system. If management is faced with paying the defendant's legal fees, they will think twice before processing frivalous and harassing eviction proceedings.
JUNE 18, 2012: The Pavilion Tenants Association very recently registered with the NJ Tenants Organization. We are now affiliated. Each Tenants Association is one tooth in the mouth of a shark (NJTO), which swims the waters of Trenton, NJ, lobbying on behalf of tenants and working to defeat anti-tenant legislation. A shark with no teeth wouldn't be very threatening.
JUNE 15, 2012: Tenants will be appearing at Landlord-Tenant Court on June 21, 2012 to support Sam August in his eviction. The landlord is attempting to evict Mr. August for doing the basic things that a tenant leader does. He feels that the eviction proceedings are blatantly against state law and case law. This is a civil rights issue as much as a tenants issue.
JUNE 9, 2012: YouTube video regarding the proposed legislation to allow tenants to win legal fees from landlords. Scroll ahead to 26:00 to the important parts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4GTfpqS1oU&list=UUt-gPN47uRjByqD3WCuhb7Q&index=1&feature=plcp
MAY 30, 2012: Management posted a notice stating that the Tax Surcharge Application is "withdrawn" and will not be pursued. This comes after passage of the city ordinance that makes it more difficult to proceed with these applications.
MAY 16, 2012: MAJOR TENANT'S VICTORY. At the urging of tenant leaders from the three complexes associated with Newark Tenants United, the Newark City Council passed a new ordinance. This ordinance requires the Rent Control Board to consider the merits of a tax surcharge application, to consider code violations and tenant complaints, and to vote "no" on a tax surcharge application if it is their desire. This was a major issue on the Newark Tenants Agenda, and served to rally tenants in several complexes.
Councilman Sharif (I - Central Ward) wants to meet with tenant leaders to brainstorm the Newark Tenants Agenda, and determine which issue will be attacked next.
West Ward Councilman Ron Rice (Jr.) is running for Congress. If elected, he must give up his Council seat.
MAY 14, 2012: REVIEW --- FOGO GRILL **** (4 stars). 145 Bloomfield Ave, corner Mt. Prospect. It's been open for almost 2 years, but a lot of people don't know that we have a PORTUGUESE BBQ very close by. It's small, but the dining area is very clean, very new, very modern, and very trendy-looking. There's plenty of parking in the back, accessible via a driveway to Mt. Prospect Ave, about ten feet north from the corner of Bloomfield Ave. It's an easy 15 minute walk, something to do on a warm evening. This is a great place to take a date or a group of friends. The food is great, esp. the pork ribs. And very affordable, a $13 platter feeds 2 or 3 people. www.fogobbq.com 973-481-4004. They deliver as well.
APRIL 15, 2012: A few highlights on the city/state front. Special thanks to Lydia Radin for spearheading this.
1. State Senator Brian Stack (of Hudson County) will be introducing the legislation drafted by NJTO on legal fee equality. Meaning that if the lease says the landlord is entitled to legal fees if they win in court, then the tenant is automatically entitled to the same regardless of what the lease says. Newark Councilman Darin Sharif (Central Ward) promises his support on this.
2. Sharif has offered to help set up the meeting for Newark tenant leaders to meet the State Attorney General. We'll be discussing various issues, including flagrant and blatant illegal clauses in leases written by law firms for landlords. (NJTO is still working on the lease review of a RapAd lease that was forwarded to them by an NJTO member living at 380 Mt. Prospect Ave. This will be Exhibit #1)
3. Sharif will support Item #4 on the Newark Tenants Agenda, which is for the city to hire a Tenant Advocate. This person would not be neutral on landlord-tenant disputes, but would instead advocate for tenants. Sharif is looking for money to pay for the position.
Councilman Sharif appeared on Lydia Radin's TV show on Friday, April 13th, and spoke for about 45 minutes on various tenant matters in Newark.
MARCH 31, 2012: The Tenants Agenda for Newark now contains a blue STATUS report showing the current status of each issue that is actively being addressed.
Tenants may TELL YOUR STORY by submitting to firstname.lastname@example.org a page describing your issues with your building, or associated with any of the 13 issues on the Tenants Agenda for Newark. We will review prior to posting, and secure your approval for the final posting. This resolves long-standing complaints from tenants that they can't post to the website.
MARCH 30, 2012: Eric appeared on Lydia Radin's talk show on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network to discuss the need for state legislation allowing tenants to recover legal fees in actions against landlords. This legislation has been drafted by the NJ Tenants Organization (our parent organization) and will be introduced by a tenant-friendly legislator from Hudson County.
MARCH 26, 2012: Management's law firm has reconstituted. They are no longer known as Levy, Ehrlich, and Petriello. The new firm is called Ehrlich, Petriello, Gudin, & Plaza. Bruce Gudin is now a senior partner. Their website boasts an AV* rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and they are listed in Martindale-Hubbell's Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. However,this Martindale, Eric Martindale, doesn't rate them so highly at all. (And yes, all Martindale's are said to be related and descended from an original family from Northumberland County in England.) The law firm's actions are being monitored by multiple tenants associations in Newark as well as the NJ Tenants Organization.
Gudin's profile can be seen here
MARCH 22, 2012: The tax evaluation information was research for our affiliates at 380 and 402 Mt. Prospect Ave. Their properties have decreased in value from 2008 to 2011. They are not close enough to Baxter Terrace to be affected. Their units average about $54,000 in value.
MARCH 19, 2012: Residents at The Pavilion received a letter from the Rent Control Board that they are entitled to a RENT CREDIT because The Pavilion won a property tax appeal in 2008, and never passed on the savings to tenants as required by law.
Lots of time is going by, and there is no move on the part of Alpha Properties (owners of The Pavillion, Colonnade, and Hallmark House) to reconvene the tax surcharge hearing. Meanwhile 3 Tenants Associations (including ours) is working with the city council for revisions to the city ordinance regulating these applications.
The assessed value of The Pavilion went up 5.39% in 2009 and another 16.1% in 2010, largely the result of the city abandoning the massive Baxter Terrace public housing project, which is nearby. And now The Pavilion is worth millions more, and it is for sale. No surprise there. Here's the final analysis: The owner's investment increased by millions of dollars due to nearby land use changes, and now they are trying to twist that around as a liability, re-package it a loss, and pass on their financial windfall to the tenants in the form of a Tax Surcharge Application. They are going to reap millions in profit by selling the buildings, but for now their property taxes went up by $41,000 a year. Without tenants associations, there would be nobody to fight such outrageous things.
MARCH 13, 2012: See tenant leaders' speeches from the Feb 16, 2012 Newark City Council meeting. These are from YouTube
Eric Martindale (380 Mt. Prospect) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LwuInts4LA
Carol Bodine (Colonnade, 51 Clifton Ave) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm9fXF9GW00&context=C4f87b96ADvjVQa1PpcFOoLCMpGYc28ifOHVX173T7HKio-4P65fc=
MARCH 8, 2012: Management at The Colonnade has retaliated against Jim Wright, curator of The Colonnade Art Gallery, for supporting the Tenants Association there. They are doubling his rent.
FEBRUARY 21, 2012: The 2nd Precinct Council is a citizen's advisory group that meets with the 2nd Precinct Captain and other officers at 6:30 PM on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the 2nd Precinct Station, 1 Lincoln Ave (@ Broadway), Newark, NJ. Capt. Ivonne Roman has been in command since Jan 17, 2012. Lt. O'Hara is also on the Council and tasked to work with community leaders.
The 2nd Precinct covers a huge area fromCentral Ave to the Belleville border, including the North Ward, almost half of the Central Ward, and portions of the West Ward.
www.newarkpdonline.org/nixle/php Nexle is a Community Information Service that broadcasts crime alerts, street closures, community events, and any other Emergency Situations that my arise. Stay informed and become a member. Newark police want as many residents and community leaders as possible to sign up. You can receive alerts by email or text. Forget the rumor mill, this is the real deal.
www.crimereports.com Type in any address and see a map with symbols depicting reported crimes in the area. You can narrow the search by changing the date range, scrolling in or out on the map, or selecting a police sector. This information is EMPOWERING.
FEBRUARY 15, 2012: Thursday, 2/16, at 6:00 is the tenant's rally at the Newark city council meeting. Tenant leaders from around Newark are urging the city council to adopt a new city ordinance preventing landlords from making applications with the city's Rent Control Board to increase rents beyond the 4% to cover rising property taxes. This directly affects The Colonnade and The Pavilion; there is an application filed with the Rent Control Board, and the second hearing is pending. The Tenants Association urges all residents to attend this event.
Property taxes and everything else goes up every year, and that's why rents go up 4%. Anything more is "gouging." Those planning to attend should leave around 5:30, to give enough time to park, go through security, and get upstairs. It's the city hall building on Broad Street, the one with the gold dome.
FEBRUARY 13, 2012: The following is an announcement for the February 16, 2012 rally at the Newark City Council meeting: "Come down and support your Pavillion Tenants Association in the fight against our landlord’s application for tax surcharge increase. Members from the CTA and other buildings will speak in front of Newark City’s Council and need your support. The Rent Control Board has yet to schedule another hearing date and we are concerned about statements made by Ms. Maria Hernandez regarding the application. It’s time for our city’s officials to hear our case and step in. Make yourself be heard and come down to support your tenant Association.
FEBRUARY 11, 2012: Newark residents are mourning the loss of the singer Whitney Houston, who was born in Newark, and grew up in Newark and East Orange. During the early years of her career, she lived for a time at 402 Mt. Prospect Ave, one of the buildings of our affiliates, the 380-402 Tenants Association.
February 9, 2012: Leaders of the three tenants associations in Newark Tenants United had a very productive meeting yesterday evening with Central Ward city councilman Darrin Sharif. It's thrilling to see that the Tenants Associations are working together and actively addressing city issues. In some regards, the realization has set in that the real battle lies not only with the individual landlords, but with the city ordinances and city departments that let landlords do the things that they do (or don't do). Major issues were aired regarding Code Enforcement as well as Maria Hernandez and the city's Rent Control Department. Councilman Sharif wants to put together an "A-team" to review city ordinances and make changes to reflect tenants concerns.
February 8, 2012:
Word has reached us that the Hallmark House was sold. The owners of the Pavillion and The Colonnade had also owned the Hallmark House. Our affiliates at 380 & 402 Mt. Prospect advised us that their owners were approached to purchase The Colonnade.
February 6, 2012: Tenants of the Colonnades and Pavilion please check out this web site: http://mbpo.org/release_details.asp?id=1580. It shows how tenants can find justice if united. This is a prime example of what a well organized tenants association can achieve through the collective efforts and support of their members. You'll be surprised as to how much there is in common.
Here's a quote from the site with regards to the class action suit filed:
"A judge who listened and carefully evaluated the complaints plus a dedicated, knowledgeable grass-roots tenant organization that would not give up added to skillful legal representation is an equation that will produce justice for the residents in Pinnacle’s buildings throughout the city"
FEBRUARY 3, 2012: The TENANTS AGENDA FOR NEWARK, located on the Newark Tenants United home page has been completely revamped and updated.
FEBRUARY 2, 2012: Word has reached us that The Colonnade and possibly The Pavillion are for sale. The source is reliable.
JANUARY 29, 2012: The Tenants Associations in Newark Tenants United met and discussed issues.
JANUARY 23, 2012: The Tenant Resource Directory (grey tab up top) has been updated, so that the section entitled GENERAL ADVISE ON GETTING REPAIRS DONE is close to the top, and contains more relevant information.
NOVEMBER 16, 2011: TENANTS RIGHTS THREATENED FROM TRENTON. The New Jersey Tenants Organization met with tenant leaders in Newark last night. All the tenants rights that they have won over the past 40 years are threatened and could be unraveled in just a few years by the current State administration. Governor Christie has authorized a group called the NJ Law Review Commission to review all laws in the state with the intent on cutting red tape. This is a good idea, but what they are instead doing is proposing to eliminate virtually all tenants rights. One suggestion on the table is to allow landlords to force tenants to pay the annual rent, up front, and all at once. Other proposals will make it easier to evict tenants for any reason. Yet another will allow landlords to install water meters and force every tenant to pay for their own water.
Mitch Kahn of NJTO was clear that Governor Christie is the most anti-tenant governor in the history of New Jersey. Virtually all of the Republican legislators are going along with this, and some of the Democrats are swaying over. NJTO will be advising Tenants Associations statewide on actions to take.
October 12, 2011
There was an incidence of violence on October 10, 2011 in the afternoon close to The Pavilion Apartments. Information from The Star Ledger is below. Crane Street is one block north of Seventh Avenue.
Please exercise caution when walking on the streets surrounding our apartment complex.
The Tenants Association is working to coordinate a Public Safety Meeting for residents with the Newark Police Department and Councilman Sharif's office. Management has not responded to requests to provide a venue for the meeting. Please make your neighbors who may not receive this communication aware of the danger around The Pavilion Apartments.
From the Star Ledger
NEWARK — Six people were shot this afternoon at a public housing complex on Crane Street in Newark's Central Ward, authorities said. Two of the victims are in critical condition, according to two city officials.
The shooting occurred shortly before 2 p.m. in a walkway between two buildings in Kemsco Village, according to Detective Eugenio Gonzalez, a Newark police spokesman. No motive or suspects have been identified, and the conditions of the victims were not immediately available, the spokesman said.
All of the victims were taken to University Hospital. They range in age from 17 to 27, officials said.
Neighbors said they heard upward of 10 shots being fired in quick succession, likely from an automatic weapon. In a courtyard near the shooting, rags were used to cover up pools of blood that marked the ground where the victims were shot. A hat, presumably belonging to one of the victims, lay nearby.
A woman who resides in an adjacent building said she dropped the ground when she heard the shots. She would not give her name, for fear of reprisal. Note: A Newark police spokesman originally said six people had been shot, but the number was amended tonight to at "least four people".
October 5, 2011
Landlords are required to provide a minimal temperature of 68 degrees between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., and 65 degrees from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Calls to direct attention to any lack of heat should be made to Newark Code Enforcement at 973-733-4311. You will be given a complaint number and an inspector will investigate. If there is a widespread reported lack of heat, our buildings will be given priority service
October 5, 2011
A representative of the Newark Police Department confirmed that a shopkeeper on Lower Broadway was robbed and shot on Saturday October 1st about 9:00 PM. The incident occurred in front of the Metro PCS store. The store is located in the first block of Broadway, just steps from the pedestrian gate to The Pavilion Apartments. Please exercise caution when walking on the streets surrounding The Pavilion Apartments.
October 3, 2011 Congratulations !!! to Sam August, President of the Pavilion Tenants Association. Sam was selected to represent Newark, New Jersey at the NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute in Kansas City, MO. The Community Leadership Institute is an invitation-only training event held over 4 days, with workshops focused on various aspects of community organizing.
September 26, 2011: There were two reported incidents of violence reported by tenants on Sunday September 25, 2011 against Pavilion Apartment Residents.
The first occurred near the corner of State Street near the corner of MLK Blvd. A resident was assaulted and robbed early Sunday morning. This is the second assault at this intersection in a short period of time. This is on the corridor along the south side of our apartment complex and used by residents for access to the Broad Street train station, the Universities and St. Michael's Hospital. The resident was robbed and a police report was filed.
The second incident occurred at about 9:30 PM on the property. A resident was assaulted in the walkway on the eastern side of the A building; just outside of the building's gym. The resident, who was recently mugged and robbed on State Street between the Pavilion and the Broad Street Station, fought back and the mugger fled. The "mugger" was recorded on the security camera. There was no police report filed.
September 23, 2011: The gym was closed without notice and without explanation several weeks ago. Residents reported that the closing coincided with an inspection from Newark Code Enforcement. Management addressed the lack of ventilation in the gym at a Tenants Association meeting 5 weeks ago on August 5, 2011 where they indicated that ventilation would be turned on shortly. Management has not communicated why the gym is closed or when it will re-open or if paid gym fees will be credited back to residents.
September 13, 2011:Cadillac Escalade owned by A building resident parked inside the Pavilion parking lot, was vandalized. Perpetrators stole all 4 wheels, leaving the vehicle on cinder blocks. Resident has been contacted for more details.
September 13, 2011: Rent Control Board moved to postpone Rent Adjustment hearing until January. Tenants were informed by mail of the Landlord’s intention to raise the rent, separate from the annual 4% increase tenants already face, an ordinance in place allows landlords to seek additional rent money due to increases in municipal taxes. Tenants from all 3 Alpha managed properties packed the hearing. The Colonnades Tenant Association leadership presented well organized and researched agreements as to why our rents should not be raised. Management representative Sean Pena was unprepared to respond to the issues and questions raised by both the Rent Control Board and the residents. The proceedings were covered by New 12 New Jersey. The Pavilion, Colonnades, and Hallmark House Tenant Associations’ have been brought together by this issue. Not only are we fighting the rent increase but we are working together for cleaner, safer, and well managed properties at the respective building we call home.
September 13, 2011: 300 residents attended the hearing of the Rent Control Board to oppose a proposed rent increase affecting 3 properties, including The Pavillion. Sean Pena was there representing all 3 properties. The application was heard in its entirely, but the decision was adjourned by the board after devastating testimony from residents of The Colonnade against the application.
September 7, 2011: A Pavilion Apartments resident was pushed to the ground and robbed within 100 feet of the driveway on State Street at 6:45 AM on September 7, 2011. Perpetrators fled on foot into the Wynona Lipman housing projects opposite our building. The incident was reported to the Pavilion Apartments security staff. A police report was filed.
Jan 5, 2010: Some activity again for the Pavillion Tenants Association. After a period of inactivity, tenants are again organizing. No heat is a big concern right now for many units. Note also that Alpha Property Management, the same outfit that manages The Colonnade, has been secured to manage The Pavillion.
July 30, 2009: Eric Martindale of the 380-402 Tenants Association met with Charles Auffant of the Rutgers Community Law Clinic. Auffant represented them in the rent strike of 2007-2008, and is ready to represent all tenants within Newark Tenants United, including The Pavillion, in a joint action rent strike, if the decision is made to launch.
July 23, 2009: Tenants remain upset that the north security gate has been broken for months
June 4, 2009: Lengthy response from Levy, Ehrlich & Petriello, attorneys for the Pavillion, regarding the removal of literature. It includes a Notice to Cease, and threatens a fine. The letter, signed by Bruce Gudin, even states that they have no right to solicit members. The letter cites Pavillion's rules and regulations, but it is likely that these rules and regulations are themselves in violation of state law as they pertain to Freedom of Speech.
May 28, 2009: Letter sent to landlord informing them that removal of Tenant Association literature from hallways is in violation of state law and case law.
May 24, 2009: The organization is upset that the north parking gate is now broken for 38 straight days. We've been informed that this would qualify as a Newark Code Enforcement violation. Action will be taken.
Residents held a Memorial Day party, on Sunday, and were forced to use the ugly rear of the South Tower, near the garbage facilities.
April 20, 2009. It has come to our attention that 6 buildings have been cited by the Municipal Court judge for failing to have Emergency Service Plans. This has been a focus of the organization.
April 16, 2009: 45 residents attend a Tenants Association meeting. Many are very motivated, and requested to meet monthly so that issues can be addressed
March 22, 2009: Our webmaster over at 380 Mt. Prospect has posted LANDLORD/TENANT LAW 101 in our Tenant Resource Directory. That's on the home page. It was written by attorney Bruce Gudin, and it contains lots of great information intended solely for the eyes of building owners (and now for informed tenants). This documented is now part of the public domain, and our webmaster doesn't need Gudin's permission to post it. Also posted here: http://www.njlawnet.com/njlawreview/landlordtenant101.html
Jan 21, 2009: Chairperson Samuel August spoke at tonite's city council meeting about tenant matters, including the lack of an Emergency Services Plan.
Jan 7, 2009: MAYOR ANNOUNCES CRIME FIGURES --- At 10:00 AM today, the Mayor held a previously scheduled press conference on Washington Street and announced crime figures from 2008. Murders in Newark were down 32% in 2008, and shootings down 14%. The below chart shows the statistics. This trend is even more significant because crime rates have historically risen when the economy is down.
CRIME TRENDS IN NEWARK
2006 2007 2008
murders 107 97 67
shootings 502 393 339
civilian complaints 612 578 485
From 2006 to 2007, the murder rate increased in Irvington, Trenton, and Camden, and held nearly steady in most of the other larger cities in New Jersey. Figures for 2008 in those cities are not yet available
Thanks to Police Director Garry F. McCarthy for his leadership, and for the tremendous changes that he has made since coming aboard a few years ago. Mayor Booker made the right choice, and has personally been in constant consultation with McCarthy, discussing every major change.
Jan 1, 2009: The Tenant's Association wishes a Happy New Years' to all Pavillion residents
Dec 31, 2008: Strong winds this evening caused the entry door of the south tower to slam closed, shattering the glass. This is the second time this happened in the last few months.
Dec 21, 2008: The security gate system has been inoperative. Vehicles have been able to enter the complex without using the swipe system.
Dec 17, 2008: Bright green flyers from management's law firm are posted all over the complex ordering tenants to cease using 381 Broad Street as their mailing address, and to instead use a Martin Luther King Blvd address.
It would be interesting to find out if the buildings used "High Street" as their address before High Street was renamed after Dr. King ? Or did they always use Broad Street as their address. It would be disturbing to learn that the buildings switched street addresses to avoid having an MLK Blvd address. Will post the answer when it becomes known.
Management uses the same law firm that the 380-402 Tenants Association has had so much difficulty with.
Dec 10, 2008: The Pavilion Tenant's Association will be participating in a city-wide effort to encourage residents to remove all incandescant lightbulbs, and switch to the spiral flourescant bulbs. Each apartment pays its electricity, so the bulbs pay for themselves.
Nov 23, 2008: The Pavilion Tenants Association meets. Guests include a representative of the 380-402 Tenants Association.