19, No. 6
March 23 - Apr. 5, 2006
Pinnacle Tenants Take Protest to
By JAMES FERGUSSON
Harlem residents, elected officials and community leaders
converged last week on the midtown offices of the controversial Pinnacle
Group to denounce the company’s practices.
The rally, held outside a plush 57-floor skyscraper near Penn Station, drew
a few dozen protesters denouncing the rent hikes and harassment that they
contend is Pinnacle’s hallmark.
Pinnacle has scooped up hundreds of apartment buildings across the city,
including dozens in the Bronx. The Norwood News has written seven
previous articles on the plight of tenants after their properties were
purchased by the company, including scores of lawsuits, threatening letters,
harassment and inflated improvement costs.
As Pinnacle employees looked on, protesters railed against them. “Pinnacle
is trying to take our people from apartments that they have been in for 40
or 50 years,” said Luis Tejada of the Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community
Center, a Harlem organization that organized the rally. “Is this abuse?” he
asked. “Yes!” the protesters responded.
Residents began organizing against Pinnacle in the winter, and elected
officials are starting to respond. “They are making a concerted effort to
destabilize our neighborhoods,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright, a Harlem
representative during the rally. “This must stop.”
Wright claimed that a Pinnacle employee tried to indirectly pressure him to
skip the protest. He rebuked the company for “picking on” tenants.
Other speakers, including former Councilman Bill Perkins, said the situation
has wider implications. “If they are successful, it will open the door for
multiple assaults,” he said, referring to other landlords who might move to
low-income neighborhoods to buy properties and raise rents. “It’s very
important that this example isn’t replicated.”
Advocates appealed to city officials to better police the practices of
management companies. “You’ve got to do your job,” said Nellie Bailey,
director of the Harlem Tenants Council.
Pinnacle’s public relations firm, the Marino Organization, dismissed the
protesers’ allegations. “It is unfortunate that there are a number of
baseless and simply erroneous charges circulating among tenants, public
officials and within the community,” said the group in a statement. “We have
offered to meet with today’s protest leaders on numerous occasions to
discuss any issues they may have, but it seems they are motivated more by
their own selfish agenda than finding out the truth.”
Back to News
News | Opinion | Schools
| Features | Continuing Stories | Home
About Us | Past Issues