I’m in favor of the disruptive technologies like Airbnb and Uber because they advantage consumers and they give New Yorkers who need it a chance to make money. So New York’s A-G Eric Schneiderman has not been a favorite of mine because he has pursued Airbnb for flouting some of the rules about sub-letting. However I then kept finding references to his untiring work defending the rights of New Yorkers, especially New Yorkers being bilked by shysters or being treated badly by the big end of town and he started to look a bit more like a caped crusader than the technological neanderthal I had thought him to be.
First case: he brought a successful case against Donald Trump who had set up the Trump University charging up to $35,000 for ‘qualifications’ in, amongst other things, real estate management. The case related to Trump’s use of the words Universuty and called into question any qualifications given by a non existant Unversity. See the video for Scheinderman being interviewed about aspects of the Trump case.
Second Case: recently the A-G pulled a CIA type manoevre putting in undercover agents to act as prospective owners of time shares in the Manhattan Club at W 56th St. The owner had oversold the 286 units available to 14,000 people at $35,000 each. Of course they could never use their timeshares because at the same time they were being offered at full rental price on the net as casual short term rentals. The owners who had been bilked took a class action against the owner of the Manhattan club but it was thrown out because of lack of evidence. Schneiderman’s undercover agents got the evidence and now a case against the owner can proceed.
And third case;, the issue of rent-stabilized apartments is an ever present one with owners using standover tactics to get tenants out so rents can be increased. In particular an ex-cop Anthony Falconite has been accused of forcing his way into apartments and going through drawers to try and prove that tenancies were illegal. Schneiderman slapped a ‘cease and desist’ order on Falconite to make him stop pressurizing tenants. So yes, he is a caped crusader and he looks after the little guys who really need his help. The big guys always have people around to help them, so evening the scales up sounds good.