Prospect Park Residence
The owner of a Brooklyn assisted living facility who came under fire for attempting to evict his elderly patrons — and allegedly trying to force them out through nefarious means — will have to shell out $3.35 million to the remaining tenants as part of a settlement agreement, a Brooklyn judge has ordered.
Prospect Park Residence owner Haysha Deitsch must now pay the remaining five nonagenarians still living in the once-lavish facility the bulk of the settlement in a series of installments.
If he doesn’t stick to the court’s payment schedule, the seniors get more time to move, and more money, said attorney Fred Millett.
The two-year legal saga began in March 2014 when Deitsch abruptly gave his patrons just three months to scram — allegedly so he could sell the lucrative real estate to a development company.
A number, fearing eviction, did move out — but seven tenants stood their ground and fought the order.
Originally dubbed “the Prospect Park 7” the remaining five will have to relocate by August 31st of this year. Two of the original plaintiffs have died over the course of the legal battle.
The tenants originally filed suit claiming the eviction went against their tenant agreements, and didn’t offer enough support for relocation.
Brooklyn Judge Wayne Saitta ordered that Deitsch keep the residence open during the case, but residents soon claimed he was feeding them rotten food, hiking rent, and depriving them of central air-conditioning during the hot summer months.
Deitsch even filed a $50 million countersuit in March of this year, claiming the residents were taking part in a “scheme” to obstruct his sale of the property.
The heft of the settlement will go the five still residing in the dilapidated 134-unit living facility, while a small portion will be given to 4 former residents who moved out under Deitsch’s threat of eviction but were still involved in the suit.
“It is definitely a win for our clients,” said attorney Fred Millet, who represented the plaintiffs. “With the settlement they were able to make plans to move elsewhere, and the money to make that happen.”
But the elderly and soon-to-be-homeless tenants will face some obstacles, the attorney said.
“The problem is there aren’t a lot of adult care facilities in Brooklyn,” he explained. “And while this settlement gives them the time and money to make the transition happen, a lot of these facilities are very expensive. Prospect Park residence was comparatively affordable, so that might make it more difficult.”
Millet says his firm and the plaintiffs will continue with their suit against the Department of Health, who green-lighted Deitsch’s original eviction plan.
Meanwhile, the whole payout will go to the seniors, as Millet and his firm represented them pro bono.
Forcing elderly out will cost Brooklyn building owner millions
By Emily Saul
New York Post
June 1, 2016 | 4:01pm