05/14/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL , USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Manhattan, NY – A Manhattan federal judge has allowed for thousands of current and past tenants of properties owned by Joel Weiner’s Pinnacle Group to file a lawsuit for trying to strong-arm them out of their apartments, according to New York Daily News.
Federal judge Colleen McMahon approved the class-action lawsuit which could result in damages in the millions.
Weiner and the Pinnacle Group are linked to 420 buildings within New York City, which house at least 60,000 tenants. Tenants have charged that the company launched harassment campaigns to drive them from their rent-regulated apartments.
Plaintiffs have reported getting antagonistic responses from the company after stating security concerns, having their rent checks held while being told they were never sent in and being subject to substandard repair jobs.
The judge’s decision to allow the lawsuit follows a 2007 suit filed by 11 residents that claimed Pinnacle regularly failed to make repairs and systematically evicted tenants in order to raise rents.
For a payout to occur, the tenants are required to prove that Pinnacle violated federal racketeering laws by plotting to get rid of tenants in order to raise rents. If the allegations are proven true, the plaintiffs will then be able to sue individually for damages.
The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development has cited many Pinnacle apartments for insufficient fire exits, lack of hot water and heat and lead paint contaminations. Numerous complaints took years to correct, or are still awaiting correction.
The class-action lawsuit is open to current and past tenants who have rented from Weiner’s Pinnacle Group since 2004. Many have stated they will add their names to the plaintiff list during a meeting that was held Wednesday, May 12.
Weiner’s lawyer has scoffed the lawsuit, calling the allegations “overblown.”