Crown Heights Landlord Arrested for ‘Unlawful Eviction’

Daniel Melamed, owner of 1578 Union St. in Crown Heights, was arrested this morning for performing construction work on his building in a way that was deemed to be harassment of the building’s rent-protected tenants. He is the first person to be criminally charged in the city’s recently-launched campaign against wayward landlords.

A Brooklyn landlord on Wednesday has become the first person arrested under a new city-state campaign to go after property owners who threaten and harass rent-stabilized tenants, sources told the Daily News.

Daniel Melamed, 39, was indicted on charges of unlawful eviction, child endangerment and filing false documents in harassment of rent-protected tenants at the Crown Heights building he owns.

Melamed’s arrest was to be announced at a 1 p.m. press conference with Mayor de Blasio and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The mayor and Schneiderman formed a task force to go after landlords who illegally force out rent-stabilized tenants so they can jack up the rent.

Schneiderman, who will prosecute the case in Brooklyn courts, said Melamed “presided over a disturbing pattern of dangerous and unlawful construction that jeopardized the health and safety of building tenants and forced at least one rent-regulated tenant to move out.”

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Photos by Benjamin Lifshitz

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35 Comments

  • 1. SMH wrote:

    interesting with such a big city that they go after a jewish person

    how about they go after black crimes against Jews or are they scared of them?

    bottom line they told police to let the blacks roam free with guns but jews who pay taxes should be put in jail

    reason # 8007 o leave NYC

    • 3. Bubble. wrote:

      Maybe his building got a lot of complaints, but when they go after others and they just so happen to be not Jewish I wonder what is your excuse then.

    • 4. Yup wrote:

      I am looking to move out of this communist city and hope it works out soon.

  • 5. to #1 wrote:

    you must be joking? let this be a warning to all of the “frum” landlords who have thumbed their noses at housing laws for years and made a fortune on the backs of hard working citizens .. many of our own.

    the law is the law.. you break it you pay

    • 8. Milhouse wrote:

      Why not? What has he done that’s wrong? It’s his building, what right does the city have to tell him what to do with it, or to force him to let someone live there, let alone paying less than it’s worth? Such a law deserves to be broken.

    • 9. Milhouse is wrong wrote:

      If you don’t like a law. leave the country.
      If you choose to stay and break it don’t complain if you get punished .

    • 10. what wrote:

      it is HIS building but when ppl move in they make an agreement to adhere to certain things. ex: heat when it gets cold out. if he trespassed their agreement…

    • 11. Milhouse wrote:

      There is no reason to leave the country just because it has bad laws. And there is no reason to obey a bad law. He doesn’t want the tenants there; the city is unjustly forcing him to keep them. He never agreed to it, so he has every moral right to make it unpleasant for them in the hope that they’ll move out.

  • 12. JEWS ????? wrote:

    this world is going from bad to worse.
    the most important items for a human being to conduct a normal life is Food, Shelter,Clothing and Medicine.
    now look at the low lives the scum of the earth.
    thank god clothing are plentiful so is food.
    but when it comes to Shelter or Medicine people lost the humanity the large Pharmaceutical companies only care about the Mighty Dollar and the patients are only the means to Money.
    and now in a BIG WAY the shelter that is necessary for humans to Live in is just the means to get to the big MONEY and the way to get there is 99 % if not more trough all corrupt ways. taking the poor people as slaves working hard for the survival.
    it is time for the government to crack all this crooks.
    i would call all this PROPERTY FLIPPERS just MURDERERS.

    • 13. Milhouse wrote:

      You have NO RIGHT to live in someone else’s property against his will, or to pay him less than it’s worth. If you can’t afford the full value of the apartment then MOVE SOMEWHERE CHEAPER. There are plenty of places in America that are cheaper than NYC. But forcing someone to give you an apartment at less than it’s worth is stealing, and you have no right to do that.

  • 14. safe wrote:

    the reason he mdae the press conference on that side of the street is becasue the other side is not safe to walk on

  • 15. Fresser Rebbe wrote:

    In general I believe that all the Frumies that invested and paid crazy prices based on the fact that the Yuppie population is paying above market rent, are all going to loose their pants, because first of all the Yupps are not staying here for ever, when the rent goes up another couple of Dollars they will move further away from the city, and the prices in CH will drop….
    Second, if you pay high and can’t get rid of the Drug dealers who are not paying enough for you to pay your Mortgage, you are behind the Eight Ball….

  • 16. non-gender wrote:

    Here we have a prime example of New York politics at its _______

  • 17. moshe der g wrote:

    first the person that was arrested is not from “our” community he is part of the problem of the outsiders coming in here and buying up property and raising our rents

    we cannot afford now to live in our own community where we grew up …

    and these type of people will buy up real estate and do the same thing to yidden and goyim they don’t care

    so i am actually proud that they did this.

    our new white neighbors are no better then our old african american west indies neighbors. they both dont love us equally

  • 18. Anonymous wrote:

    If thay were concerned thay would go after all of these “criminals”.

  • 19. 2 sides wrote:

    First of all no one should hide behind a shaitel or kippah to commit a crime. Crime should be punished!
    However
    As we learned from the Rubashkin case anyone can be put in jail with our legal system. They went after him and destroyed his father’s business because he was supposedly hiring illegal aliens. This is in a country where many people do. He wasn’t running a slave mill or even accused of that. He was paying people to do a job. He was put in jail for life and his kids were made into virtual orphans because he lied on a bank document to try to save his father’s business that the govt destroyed. Also his smile – people arrested and put on trial are supposed to be broken and contrite.

    I brought up this case to show how if it just happened that the first slum lord happened to be an Orthodox Jew who will be followed by other slum lords of all different religions and cultures then it is the govt. going after slumlords. But If one by one all the people caught just happen to be Jews then there is something to worry about.

    Running a business taking care of a building with tenants is not easy. With the squatters law on the books. Meaning a person could come as a guest – stay there x amount of time- and have mail sent to your address – then you can’t just kick them out. They are living rent free but you can do zilch about it without having a court case. One Arab I worked for in a different state hired guys with baseball bats because otherwise people would move in and refuse to pay and trash his property. (Although I don’t agree with that method)

    I have dealt with slumlords as a tenant and it is hard. Not enough or no heat in the winter. Basic repairs being ignored. Rats, mice, cockroaches- I have seen it all.

    My point is this is not so easy a case. We have to be careful it’s not open season on “rich Jews” as if most of us were in that category instead of struggling to put bread on the table. But ridiculous laws should be struck down and yet tenants need protection.

  • 20. l want you to know wrote:

    that many of the frum landlords has made millions of people miserable,including us, the list is endless,that includes lack of chimmey liner and horrible toxics fuel for heat,cause it’s cheap,truthfully this causes many people sickness,it’s a cycle that needs to be broken,some don’t even give heat,’cause they can’t pay for it,especially in the freezing winters,the rebbe has said many times about this issue,when the roof leak,the landlord tell the people to pray,,,,,,actually the rebbe was screaming at farbrengen about this,he said he feels like he talking to a deaf con,

  • 21. sorry arrested but... wrote:

    It doesn’t matter if the tenants are Jews or Gentiles, black or white; everyone deserves to be treated with respect. The rents here have skyrocketed so that this is no longer Crown Heights but has become Greedy Heights. Anash are selling out the Rebbe’s Shchuna to anyone who will pay, even to those who are an abomination in the Torah. $$$ is all they see.

  • 22. Haim wrote:

    For the record
    The landlord is a big baal tzedaka
    And in this country a person is presumed innocent untill proven guilty.

    • 24. let's be careful not harmful wrote:

      Correct. But this is “pick and choose” game. They decided to after guy #1 and guy #2 gets away with same. Some spy gets out of jail after few years and Pollard sits w/o end. And I agree NY is 1 of the most communist societies I am so happy to be out of there.

    • 25. it depends... wrote:

      I’m not talking about this case but when the 6th Lubavitch Rebbe in russia risked his life for the sake of Hashem’s Torah for the gov’t forbid it THEN anyone has FULL responsibility to do all that they can to disobey the law of the land.

    • 26. Milhouse wrote:

      No, the Torah does not mandate obeying the laws of the land. Not if the laws are unjust, as this law is.

  • 27. mostly jewish people the cathis omers wrote:

    This id the rebbi shchuna
    ,whats mean hahavat israel ,to help other jew like you, some are very rich bh , they can afford it,what a bout the people that dont have such kind of money dont they deserve to live in the rebbi shchuna?the rent became very very expencive for regular people ,the landlond makimg a fortion ,if they call them self a lubavitcher ,they have to go way to low the rent to help people like in many other places .the chasidishe people help each others ,

    • 28. Milhouse wrote:

      No, if you can’t afford to live in the Rebbe’s shchuna then you don’t deserve to live there. In the ’50s and early ’60s, before the neighborhood went bad, many Lubavitchers couldn’t afford to live there, so they didn’t. That’s how it works; if you can’t afford to drive a Lexus you drive a cheap car, or you use the MTA. Nobody is mechuyav to give you a Lexus just because you want one, and nobody is mechuyav to give you a subsidized apartment in Crown Heights just because you want to live there.

  • 29. let's be careful not harmful wrote:

    And also: in a city were I live now there is no such law. My neighbour moved out recently bcz his rent was bumped by $200. I was worried to face same – I expected my new lease terms in 2 weeks. Guess what – only $55 – reasonable. The whole year I was paying on time and not causing problems otherwise, so they don’t want to let such tenant go.
    Is not this better?

  • 30. this happened to my family wrote:

    Our apartment wasn’t rent controlled, but the landlord forced us out in order to raise the rent. He took us to goyish court, before even trying with a Jewish Beis Din. It’s been so hard for my family ever since we were evicted from Crown Heights. Please stop being so greedy with rent prices in Brooklyn!!!! Working class/Yeshiva families still want to live there!

    • 31. Milhouse wrote:

      It’s not greedy to want the full value of what you’re selling. Would you sell someting of yours for less than it’s worth? Would you work for someone for less, when someone else is willing to pay you more? If you want full price for your labor, and you don’t call that being greedy, then why shouldn’t your landlord want full price for his apartments?

      But if your apartment isn’t controlled then why would he have to force you out to raise the rent? Why couldn’t he just raise the rent and give you the choice to pay it or leave?

  • 32. about time wrote:

    Glad the city is cracking down on slumlords, jewish or not. Being jewish does not exempt you from the law.

    • 33. Milhouse wrote:

      Being human exempts you from obeying unjust laws. That’s what America is about. If the founders had been content to obey the law we wouldn’t have a country. America was founded on the principle that if we don’t like the law we fight back.

  • 34. si wrote:

    lets do have ahavat Israel ,if we don’t help each other
    nobody,nobody help us ,if all of us do all the mitzvos in torah but not having Israel moshiach ,chasv shalom does not…. this is what chida said ,lets help each other

  • 35. CHERRYBIM wrote:

    • You can’t be “a big baal tzedaka” when the money you give is not obtained legally.

    • When the law is not a direct violation of the Torah, and you are not being forced to violate it, then the Halacha is Dina D’malchuso Dina; you are required to follow the law of the government. In addition, Chillel Hashem overrides any other rational you may have to violate the law.

    • The secular courts are the harshest enforcers of the Torah when it comes to frum Yidden; they have no rachmonis, so watch out.

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