Denied warmth, Brooklyn, N.Y., tenants turn up heat on landlord

Brooklyn, N.Y., Dec. 18.

Brooklyn, N.Y., Dec. 18 — “Baby, It’s Cold Inside!” read the large letters which were shining this important message tonight atop the entrance to the apartment building  at 1030 Carroll St. in Brooklyn, N.Y.  Tenants and supporters braved the cold to join a militant rally to protest the lack of heat for three years in this building set in the Crown Heights working-class neighborhood.

Current tenants, mostly African American and Latinx, suffer from colds, chills, coughs and fevers, due to the frigid temperatures inside the building. Repairs, if there are any, are shoddy.  Layers of harmful dust in the halls and entrance endanger tenants’ health.

Dara Soukamneuth, a current tenant, spoke tonight.  Her apartment’s ceiling recently collapsed.  Clentine Fenner, 68 years old, told of refusing landlord Ephrain Fruchthandler’s offer of $5,000 to leave her rent-stabilized apartment. Then her heat was shut off.  It’s still off.

Withholding heat is one way Fruchthandler tries to force the tenants out. Then he improves these old apartments and raises the rent for new tenants.  

There is no respect for tenants’ rights.  This abuse is heaped on seniors, babies and everyone else.  Tenants question the lack of safety measures, which should be guaranteed under rent stabilization rules.  They also ask why the city hasn’t arrested this unscrupulous landlord.

A politician spoke strong words of support at tonight’s rally, but then urged tenants to vote for the Democratic Party’s candidates to get help.  But the Democrats have not restored heat at this building.   

These tenants know better.  They joined the Crown Heights Tenants

Union and are building support.  Moreover, they have plans to expose and pressure the landlord and will challenge him in housing court.  The class struggle continues.

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