This is not our first blog post to spotlight New York City landlord Steven Croman, who many of our readers likely know something about, either from the persistently adverse press garnered by that individual and his residential management companies or from painful experiences they can personally relate.
Croman first came under our blog lens in a June 23 post from last year, in the wake of a long-tenured New York State Attorney General’s office probe that resulted in a number of housing-related criminal and civil charges being filed against him.
And now, approximately one year later, justice has arrived (at least in the criminal realm), by virtue of a guilty plea accepted by a man who has been described by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as the “Bernie Madoff of Landlords.”
Croman’s housing empire is unquestionably vast, reportedly numbering more than 150 buildings across the city, with many of those being rent-regulated apartments in Manhattan.
Over the years, as reported in a New York Times article from discussing Croman’s arrest, charging and conviction, the laundry list of alleged illegalities directed at rent-stabilized tenants has been long and encompassing. Among other things, tenants have pointed to multiple incidents of threats and harassment in unlawful attempts to remove them from their units.
Notably, Croman’s plea did not address those behaviors but was, rather, in response to charges of criminal tax fraud, falsification of records and grand larceny.
Tenants have unsurprisingly expressed satisfaction with the criminal outcome, although some have noted that a harsher sentence would not have been unwarranted.
“I’m disappointed, but it’s beyond what I thought would happen,” said a member of one tenants’ advocacy group following the judicial announcement.
Croman is slated to serve a one-year term of incarceration at Riker’s Island, and must additionally pay authorities $5 million to compensate for his tax fraud.