NEW YORK – A landlord, property manager and contractor are accused of driving a rent-stabilized family out of their Manhattan apartment by demolishing the building around them.
Forty-eight-year-old building owner Ephraim Vashovsky, 32-year-old property manager Adam Cohen and 56-year-old contractor Shaoul Ohana pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
Authorities say an agent of the landlord would bang on the family's door threatening to report them as immigrants in the country illegally.
Prosecutors say the residents were the last rent-stabilized holdouts in a building undergoing renovations in 2015 so the landlord could attract higher-paying tenants. Investigators say demolition work commenced around them, making the building unstable and leaving the family with five children without heat or hot water in the winter.
Authorities say the water in the family's toilet bowl froze, forcing them to use bathrooms at nearby restaurants.