Harlem Shop Sues Landlord, Claims Unfair Displacement

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April 27, 2022—Prestige Auto Repair has been located in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan for 15 years, but its building has a new owner that wants to tear it down. 

As a result, according to an article by Patch, Prestige owner Yossi Mazig is suing the new landlord.

Elie Fouerti, a developer, purchased the shop building for $9.3 million in November 2021. Fouerti also purchased four more buildings near the shop's immediate area.

The lawsuit claims that these businesses are being forced out to make room for an apartment building that Fouerti wants to build.

Fouerti sent Prestige a notice in March that threatened termination of the shop's lease due to an alleged lack of proof of insurance. The shop's lawyer has pushed back on this claim, explaining that the shop sent its insurance policy to the previous landlord prior to Fouerti purchasing the building.

"The Notice is patently frivolous and further confirms your client's intent to harass our client in an effort to drive it from its long-term business at the premises so it can pursue its plan to demolish the building and erect a substantially larger building at the site," attorney James Fishman wrote in a letter earlier this month, according to Patch. 

Fouerti has filed multiple plans with the Department of Buildings to build a 14-story building on the block of land that Prestige partially occupies. But according to Patch, Fouerti denies that there is any development happening on the site. 

Prestige has seven full-time employees, and according to the suit, its owners have invested more than $700,000 into the shop. Even though the Prestige lease has not been canceled since facing its initial threat, Mazig is still fearful of eviction. 

In the lawsuit, the shop is asking for an extension in regards to the period of time it has to correct any lease violations. 

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