Southern Brooklyn

Brighton Tenant Advocacy Group Accuses Developer Of Flooding Office To Kick Them Out

BNA Founder Pat Singer, left, continues to assess the damage from the flood.
An old photo showing a small fraction of the photos and memorabilia on the walls, now taken down or thrown out. Source: BNA (Click to enlarge)

The water seeped through a hole in the roof, flooding the 1121 Brighton Beach Avenue storefront overnight. It was gushing through ceiling tiles and dripping down walls when the Brighton Neighborhood Association’s Russian liaison opened the office Tuesday morning, finding what she described as a “rainstorm.” The group’s office is well-known in the community for its colorful office, crowded with historic photos and memorabilia collected during its 34-year-old history.

Now it all lays in ruins.

There were the photos of Mayor Beame, State Senator Chuck Schumer – “when he had hair” – and other assorted tchotchke’s of the group’s history. Office workers, led by BNA Founder Pat Singer, pulled things off walls and shelves, wrapping in garbage bags what could be saved, and taking to the curb what couldn’t. They also worried about asbestos, mold and other contaminates that could put them in harm’s way.

“We were just trying to salvage what we could,” said Singer.

But the organization – a tenants advocacy group – said this flood is no accident. They’re pointing fingers at the landlord.

(The BNA, a 510(c)3 is seeking tax-deductible donations to replace equipment and aid in the cleanup. More information is at the end of this article.)

Singer called the FDNY to examine the leak, and she was told that it looked suspicious. While the property managers were repairing a vent, it appeared a hole was made and left uncovered – just as four days of rain was to come.

“Why do you leave a roof open like that? What do you think is going to happen?” asked Singer.

According to Singer, the building’s new landlord wants to build taller and is trying to get them out faster.

“He wants to take the building down, and I’m not trying to stop him. I just want to have time to get out,” said Singer.

1113-1123 Brighton Beach Avenue: the property Alex Levin has plans to develop, including the BNA storefront.

The new developers originally said they weren’t going to touch the building, according to Singer. But just last week, two realtors came in and told her she’d have to move immediately. However, Singer said, she and the landlord came to an agreement to vacate in six months, a deal Singer thinks the landlord might not have been content with.

“They did it to get us out faster. They want to take the building down and make it go up higher,” she said.

Property records show that the building was bought in July 2010 by Alex Levin for $4.8 million, and the Department of Buildings approved plans in February to double the size of the building and convert the first and second floors to medical facilities.

Just half an hour after discovering the flood, Levin’s secretary came to the BNA with an offer for a new location. Singer refused to take it, saying the offer is out of the question and insensitive to their situation.

“The owner never even came in to say ‘How are you doing?'” said Singer.

The landlord’s secretary returned again this morning with an offer to relocate.

The building has three tenants remaining, one of which owns two storefronts – a Chinese restaurant and a sushi restaurant. The Chinese takeout place – Chopstick House (1119 Brighton Beach Avenue – is directly next door, and was also flooded.

Owner Michael Lin said, before the flood, he had been squabbling with the landlord, refusing to leave the building. He said he has about four years left on the lease and, after 21 years in that location, has no plans to go anywhere regardless of the new landlord’s wishes. Lin stopped short of saying the flood was done on purpose, though. Chopstick House opened late on Tuesday, and has returned to business-as-usual.

But Levin said his plans have nothing to do with the leak and denies any role in it.

“This is all stories. I don’t know. It’s made up I guess,” said Levin. “There’s a big hole in the roof and we’re trying to fix it.”

He said the building has been leaking for years before they ever bought the place.

“We thought we could save the building but we can’t do it. It’s unstable,” said Levin. “It’s impossible to salvage.”

Though an FDNY official told Singer the hole was suspicious, she said she was told her only option would be to call the Department of Buildings. If she does that, she runs the risk of being ordered to vacate for safety reasons, which she said the group can’t afford right now.

“It’s ironic because I fought for down-zoning of Brighton Beach, and here’s this guy who wants to tear our building down” to build larger, she said. It reminds her of the days when developers would set fire to Brighton Beach’s bungalows in order to speed up demolition permits from the city.

“I gave up a lot personally because I believe I can make a difference, and now this bastard says I have to get out,” Singer said. “It’s not right. It’s not even human.”

Regardless of blame, the flood couldn’t have come at a worse time for the BNA. The group has been hit hard by budget cuts, slashing their office down to one full-time employee (Singer) and a couple of part-time advocates. They’re in the process of filing for grants and organizing their annual fundraiser, the Brighton Jubilee Festival, and some of the paperwork may have been lost or damaged.

“Computers are gone, scanners are gone, files and contracts damaged – it’s like a disaster,” she said. “I’m dead in the water. This is not right, they shouldn’t get away with this.”

Now Singer is turning to the community for help. She said she needs neighbors to donate equipment like phones, a fax machine, a scanner and a computer. The group can also use money to aid in the cleanup, and, if possible, an affordable office space in Brighton Beach.

Brighton Neighborhood Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible. To donate, call (718) 891-0800 or visit the office at 1121 Brighton Beach Avenue.

“I’m hoping someone out there can help us. We need to rebuild,” she said. “We’re getting down on our luck here.”

(Correction: The original version of this article suggested that the landlord was trying to get the BNA to vacate before their lease is up. The BNA does not have a lease and is on a month-to-month tenancy. We apologize for any confusion.)

The main area that water gushed from. The hole in the building's roof flooded the entire second floor before gushing down into the ground-level storefronts.

Comment policy


  1. Wow did this story hit close to home! I had almost exact story with my landlord except he tried to burn down the building, of course this is all my speculation since I have to evidence to prove it.
    Simple fact that landlords have more cash and know all the loopholes makes it almost impossible to fight them. Oh btw if you think you have a lease and their is nothing landlord can do to get rid off you you are very, very mistaken.

  2. Thats terrible. I would not feel the same way if it was just another business or storefront but the BNA and Pat Singer have been helping people for years. Another medical office you have got to be joking. Put in some real storefronts and the med office upstairs. Its one thing to develop and improve but this will do nothing good for the community. The weird thing is that all the med offices on Brighton are on side streets and he wants to use prime retail for this doesnt make sense to me. Unless med is on Brighton 14th and keeps BBA retail.

  3. Yeah, they need more medical offices – there are alot of fradulent, dishonest doctors who need office space. 

  4. Yeah, they need more medical offices – there are alot of fradulent, dishonest doctors who need office space. 

  5. Did she have “ANDERSON” windows?

    Look at the link below with reputable articles. (Daily News, Bay news, Brooklyn Daily Eagle and more)

  6. What’s this obsession with men’s “hair”? I don’t hear any comments like “Here’s a picture of Singer when her hair was a color found in nature.”

  7. What’s this obsession with men’s “hair”? I don’t hear any comments like “Here’s a picture of Singer when her hair was a color found in nature.”

  8. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Pat Singer. But I do question the veracity of websites that set up a domain name perhaps meant to confuse people. Can you personally vouch for the absolute truthfulness of this site? 

  9. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Pat Singer. But I do question the veracity of websites that set up a domain name perhaps meant to confuse people. Can you personally vouch for the absolute truthfulness of this site? 

  10. Why no positive articles. Someone does good for a couple of decades then gets bashed for a couple of developments she did not even build. Im sure if you line up the people that like her and the ones that dont the numbers will speak for themselves. She wouldn’t have been around this long if she was up to no good.

  11. Lady in red.
    Pat MURPHY singer.
    Is the red hair a wig?
    Her daughter works in Assemblyman’s Cymbrowits office.

  12. you obviously have issues with Pat Singer. You are the one and only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is an honest and compassionate individual. You did not get want you want and you have dedicated your boring life in harassing this wonderful lady. Stop it allready and start a project were you can do some good to people.

  13. That landlord should be arrested.  This happens all too often now.  If an owner or landlord wants to get someone out or get rid of a property, they either torch it or flood it or vandalize it. These developers don’t give a damn about the neighborhoods they are invading. They tear down buildings and put up monstrosities that just kill the character of the neighborhood.  They don’t give a damn about the history or character of the neighborhood.  It’s all about money.  If we don’t put a stop to it now, they will continue to ruin neighborhoods.  Greed is a terrible thing.  Ms. Singer and the BNA hang in there!  You do too much good for the Brighton Beach community to let this piece of garbage get the better of you.  Let’s all do what we can to help Ms. Singer.  Good always wins over evil.  

  14. This is a total shame!!!  It apears to me that the owners did this purposely to get this organization that does SO much for the people of the community out!  Then they want to tear down the building and build a four (yes 4!) story Medical Office.  We need that like we need a third armpit!   Where are all those ambulettes going to park? 

  15. Funny how the site doesn’t mention Shpelfogel family run-in with the law.
    His grandfather was a known Nazi war criminal not to mention the grandson being arrested twice for assault and soliciting a transexual prostitute at the golden gate inn…Everyone has their demons I suppose.. Google it for yourselves..

  16. pat singer is a discrace to the area.
    dont know how and why she is still talking about brighton beach

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