STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE
APPEAL OF ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
DOCKET NO.: CC210230RT
DRO DOCKET NOS.:K3101761RT
J. LAWRENCE CHERRY,
OWNERS: MICHAEL PISTILLI,
PRIOR OWNER:LYDIA (HERMAN) DELGADO
PRIOR OWNER:J.F.I.B. REALTY CORP.
ORDER AND OPINION TERMINATING PROCEEDING IN DOCKET
On March 22, 1988 the above named petitioner-tenant filed a
Petition for Administrative Review against an order issued on
February 29, 1988 by the District Rent Administrator, 10 Columbus
Circle, New York, New York concerning housing accommodations known
as Apartment A25 at 76 India Street, Brooklyn, New York wherein the
District Rent Administrator determined that the owner had
overcharged the tenant.
This proceeding was originally commenced by the filing in March,
1984 of a rent overcharge complaint by the tenant, in which he
stated that he had commenced occupancy on April 13, 1983 at a rent
of $350.00 per month. His initial lease contained a rider stating
that the prior tenant Cruz had a final rent of $336.00 per month.
The owner was served with a copy of the complaint and was requested
to submit rent records to prove the lawfulness of the rent being
In answer to the complaint Lydia Herman, President of S.G.
Management, submitted a rental history form giving the following
information regarding lease dates, tenant names and rents:
8/1978 Merb $130.00
11/1978 Bokala $115.00
1982 Markovitch $220.00
1983 Cherry $350.00
She enclosed rent ledgers for July-December of 1978, July-December
of 1981 and July-November of 1982. They contained no tenant names.
She also enclosed an order granting a 42.75% rent increase
effective May 13, 1981. In support of a claimed increase for
renovations performed just prior to the time the complainant
commenced occupancy, she later enclosed cancelled checks dated in
April and May of 1983 to four individuals, totalling $1,420.00.
Other than "6 hours" written on one check, none of the checks give
any indication as to what they concern. After photocopies were
made of each check, someone wrote "A25" on each of them before they
were mailed to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal
(DHCR). Ms. Herman did not enclose any invoices or proposals
concerning the work. While her covering letter promised later
submission of checks for materials used in the claimed renovation,
such checks are not contained in the record.
In an order issued on February 29, 1988 the Administrator
determined an overcharge of $1,314.30 as of April 14, 1984. The
order listed the prior tenant as Markovitch, and allowed an
increase based on the full $1,420.00 cost of labor for the claimed
renovations. The Petition for Administrative Review considered
herein is an appeal of that order.
Several months after that order was issued the tenant filed another
overcharge complaint under Docket No. CG210201R, naming Michael
Pistilli as the owner. (The 1987 through 1991 registrations name
him as both the owner and the manager, other than the 1987
registration, which names Joseph Pistilli as the manager, at the
same address listed for Michael Pistilli. It is apparent from a
recent stipulation that Michael Pistilli Joseph Pistilli and
Anthony Pistilli are co-owners.)
On February 14, 1991 the Administrator sent the owner a Final
Notice, proposing to find an overcharge of $24,249.87 from April
15, 1984 to the time the tenant vacated on January 31, 1989, based
on freezing the lawful April 1, 1984 rent (determined in Docket No.
K3101761RT) because of the owner's failure to register the
apartment for 1985, deeming leases at Guidelines percentages of
increase to estimate the rent charged, and imposing treble damages.
In a response dated March 1, 1991 Michael Pistilli submitted a
date-stamped 1985 Annual Registration Summary prepared by JFIB
Realty Corporation, the owner through 1986; a receipt dated August
8, 1985 bearing the tenant's signature and stating that he received
the 1985 registration for his apartment; a so-ordered January 9,
1989 non-payment stipulation bearing the tenant's signature, which
granted final judgment of $6,104.00 for the owner, and in which the
tenant agreed both to vacate by January 13, 1989 and to drop any
and all claims with the DHCR; a General Release dated January 9,
1989 bearing the tenant's signature, which released the owner from
any claims for the apartment concerning overcharges, conditions in
the apartment, rights to the apartment, and harassment; and a
January 9, 1989 letter to the DHCR bearing the tenant's signature
and stating that, having been compensated by the owner, he withdrew
his complaint number CG210201R.
In answer, the tenant contended that his signature on the January
9, 1989 letter was a forgery. The tenant enclosed a copy of the
same stipulation submitted by the owner, but lacking the sentence
wherein the tenant agreed to drop all DHCR claims.
In an order issued on April 12, 1991 the Administrator closed
Docket No. CG210201R as being duplicative of Docket Nos.K3101761RT
and CC210230RT, and stated that all matters would be resolved under
the decision in the appeal case.
In his petition (Docket No. CC210230RT), the tenant asserted in
substance that long-term tenants in the building did not remember
any tenant named Markovitch, although one tenant remembered a
Markovitch at 74 India Street; that he was not given new leases,
other than receiving a rider in 1985; that treble damages should be
imposed; that while his original lease listed a prior tenant Cruz
at a rent of $336.00, there is no record of him, no one in the
building knows of him, and the tenant association is not aware of
him; that this is further evidence of fraud and an intent to
deceive; that he has not received any registration statements since
1984; that the apartment was not renovated prior to his tenancy;
that the appliances were not new; that he never received interest
on his security deposit; and that the order should reflect rent
increases after 1984.
The DHCR's Enforcement Unit subsequently commenced a proceeding,
Docket No.FE210003HM, because of the question of the credibility of
documents submitted by the owner.
In a December, 1993 Stipulation and Settlement of the charges by
the Enforcement Unit against Joseph Pistilli, Michael Pistilli and
Anthony Pistilli, the Enforcement Unit agreed to discontinue the
Enforcement case, and to not refer the matter to any enforcement
agency, in exchange for receiving a sum of money in full payment of
administrative and processing costs. The three owners agreed to
proceed with a hearing, as stated in a Notice of Hearing, regarding
the tenant's Petition for Administrative Review, and to accept the
DHCR's determination of the appeal as final and binding, although
the stipulation stated that the owners were not barred from
agreeing otherwise with the tenant. The stipulation also stated
that it did not constitute an admission by the owners of any
allegation in the Enforcement case or of any other facts.
On February 10, 1994, at the hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge, the tenant and the owners reached a settlement wherein the
tenant, in return for a sum of money, discontinued his appeal with
prejudice, agreed not to file any other complaint in any court or
administrative agency against the owners regarding his tenancy, and
agreed not to disseminate the terms of the settlement to the media,
past or present tenants of the owner's properties, or any tenants'
organizations or advocacy groups. A separate stipulation was to be
filed to discontinue an action by the tenant in Kings County
Supreme Court. The Stipulation of Settlement also stated that the
owners by entering into the stipulation did not admit to any
wrongdoing or any of the allegations contained in the tenant's
appeal or any related matter before the DHCR stemming from any of
the tenant's filed complaints.
Because the tenant has withdrawn his appeal, there is now nothing
for the DHCR to decide. Therefore, the proceeding in Docket No.
CC210230RT is terminated.
The Commissioner notes that, the only appeal of the Administrator's
order having been withdrawn, the Administrator's order, determining
a lawful stabilization rent of $248.90 per month in the lease from
April 15, 1983 to April 14, 1984, is now final. The owners are
directed to reflect the findings and determinations made in the
Administrator's order on all future registration statements,
including those for the current year if not already filed, citing
the Administrator's order as the basis for the change. Registration
statements already on file, however, should not be amended to
reflect the findings and determinations made in the Administrator's
order. The owners are further directed to adjust subsequent rents
to an amount no greater than that determined by the Administrator's
order plus any lawful increases. A copy of this order is being
sent to the current tenant.
THEREFORE, in accordance with the Rent Stabilization Law and Code,
ORDERED, that the proceeding in Docket No. CC210230RT be, and the
same hereby is, terminated and that the Administrator's order in
Docket No K3101761RT be, and the same hereby is, affirmed.
JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA