Garodnick Letter Critical of Rose and CWC on Trunk “Spelunking”

Mr. Andrew MacArthur
Vice President
CW Capital
1540 Broadway, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. MacArthur:

I write to express my continued concern regarding the new policy by CW Capital to discontinue the long-time service of providing trunk storage for tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST/PCV). CW Capital’s actions in this situation were done precipitously, without any consultation with any elected official or the Tenants Association, and demonstrate a surprising lack of empathy for the needs of tenants in the community.

As you know, this has become a point of significant contention in the neighborhood, and residents – including myself – feel that CW has erred in judgment here. Indeed, tenants plan to file for a rent reduction with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and are contemplating further legal action. I write to encourage you to reach out to the Tenants Association and their representatives, in order to jointly devise a policy that is sound, and that does not unnecessarily harm the people who live in ST/PCV.

Tenants have come to rely on the trunk room storage service. Over time, trunk storage has become a necessity, giving people the ability to hold onto family treasures and seasonal items without creating unnecessary clutter in their apartments. Unfortunately, even the fee-based storage units that you have begun to offer are not guaranteed to be available in tenants’ own buildings. Accordingly, for many residents, there is no viable alternative available.

It is reasonable and appropriate that management would arrange for trunk storage rooms to be reorganized and cleaned on a regular basis. Arguably, it should have been done years ago – and the conditions today are the result of years of management’s failure to upkeep the trunk rooms. Tenants were rightfully upset to learn of the conditions of the trunk rooms in the August 8, 2011 issue of The New Yorker when management “invited [a reporter] down for a little trunk room spelunking” through tenants’ personal belongings. These items were placed in the basement with some expectation of privacy and upkeep, only to be neglected by management and belittled in a public forum.

It is also management’s stated intention to discard any trunks that have not been claimed, assuming that some residents have passed away and their trunks were abandoned. I caution you about discarding any items where residents have not been notified by certified mail that you intend to discard them. Additionally, though it is not reasonable to expect management to hold onto belongings from deceased tenants indefinitely, you should consider whether the estates of deceased former residents should have an opportunity to claim them.

In all, this is not a complicated issue. I strongly urge CW Capital to work in good faith with the Tenants Association toward a solution that will allow this not to devolve into unnecessary litigation. I firmly believe that the tenants will embrace a resolution which balances the need of the landlord to clean and to maintain the basement area with their own need to continue storing their belongings. An opportunity for a swift and amicable solution is present, and I urge you to seize it.

As always, I am available to assist in any way.

Sincerely,

Daniel R. Garodnick

cc: Al Doyle, President, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association

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