When Marc Landis, a leading candidate to represent the Upper West Side in the City Council next year, talks about himself, he often boasts of his long record of fighting for affordable housing in New York City. The attorney and Democratic district leader, praised by his many endorsers for his tenant advocacy, also works closely with Tahl Propp Equities, a large real estate developer that has been sued by Manhattan tenants and accused of “predatory” financial practices in rapidly gentrifying Harlem.
“Tahl Propp was one of the early companies that we and other organizers spotted coming in and buying up large amounts of affordable housing and they weren’t a known actor in the affordable housing or real estate world,” said Emily Goldstein, coordinator of preservation and policy at Tenants and Neighbors, a statewide tenant advocacy group. “In more recent years, I know that they’ve said they care about affordable housing. They’ve said they care about the Harlem community. And yet their actual practices in many of these buildings have been detrimental to low and moderate income tenants, to the physical housing stock and arguably to the community.”
Ken Biberaj, who works as Vice President at the Russian Tea Room restaurant in Manhattan, looks like he might be throwing his hat in the ring to succeed term-limited Councilwoman Gale Brewer. This afternoon, he registered a committee for the seat, allowing him to fundraise and campaign for the City Council position in 2013.
Mr. Biberaj came to his executive position at the iconic restaurant through his family’s real estate business. The Russian Tea Room has often been featured in pop culture, making appearances in shows ranging from When Harry Met Sally to Gossip Girl.
best. campaign. ever.
John Scandalios, the owner of the comic book store Crazy Scondo’s, says he’s committed to running as a Democrat in Peter Koo’s Council District in Northeast Queens.
Despite Mr. Koo’s personal wealth, Mr. Scandalios pledged to spend no more than $1,000 on the race. “My budget is $999, because there’s no reason for me to spend any more than that,” he said in an interview with Politicker last night. “I don’t like receiving … 50 different mailings from ten different candidates … I find it a nuisance.”
Mr. Scandalios, a former engineer who worked on the operating system for the Trident II Submarine, said he found his way into the comic book business through a love of baseball cards a couple decades ago and intends to use his experience running a small business in the City Council.