Exclusive: Borough President Calls For An Investigation of Landlord’s Foundation

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FLATBUSH – Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is denouncing the “insidious practices” that forced an octogenarian, Joy Noel, out of her home — and calling on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate a charity operated by the landlord who evicted Ms. Noel before her death last week.

Adams said he is also returning campaign contributions from the landlord, Isaac Jacobowitz:

“Brooklyn mourns the loss of Joy Noel, an 85-year-old resident of Flatbush who was wrongfully evicted from her apartment at the Ditmas Arms after living there for more than 20 years. Tenant harassment is the dirty fuel accelerating our borough’s gentrification crisis, and bad-acting landlords who engage in predatory tactics to evict our neighbors need to face criminal responsibility for their actions. Ms. Noel died homeless, all because her landlord evicted her while she was traveling last summer, during which time she missed a court hearing for which she was never notified.

“We must be determined to get justice for Ms. Noel, so that in her blessed memory other seniors will not fall victim to the same insidious practices that forced her out of her home. I am doubling down on my fight for stronger rent laws in Albany, starting with the repeal of the Urstadt Law that allows upstate lawmakers, supported by big-money interests, to endanger tenants’ welfare.

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“Additionally, I intend to hold her landlord, Isaac Jacobowitz of Carnegie Management, accountable for his practices. I am asking Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate whether his tax-exempt charity, the Isaac Jacobowitz Foundation, is operating legally. Moreover, I am returning any and all previous contributions he has made to past campaigns of mine, as his behavior does not represent the values of my mission to create and preserve quality affordable housing for all Brooklynites.”

BKLYNER reported this week that Jacobowitz runs a charity whose mission is “to assist ill, elderly and disabled persons with medical and other living expenses.”

Councilmember Jumaane Williams, who was the previous chair of the Housing Committee at the City Council also issued a strongly worded statement, together with the Flatbush Tenant Coalition:

“Our hearts break at the passing of Ms. Joy P. Noel, a Coalition member and our Flatbush neighbor for more than 20 years.  An incredible, strong, and spirited woman, Ms. Noel was unjustly evicted and forced into homelessness at the age of 85 by a landlord who sought profit and lacked conscience, and by a system that turned its back on her and refused to serve justice.”

“No one should die, or live, homeless. Those who unjustly removed Ms. Noel from her home should feel shame in equal measure to the indignation and pain of all those who supported Ms. Noel in her time of desperate need. It is a tragic failure of humanity and decency that Ms. Noel was left in such dire and damaging conditions, particularly as one of our elders. It is also a failure of a government which was unable to find even a temporary home for this woman, and that our laws, housing court, and services were unable to protect her. Her passing is the devastating result of the system turning a blind eye and disregarding tenants’ rights. It is a system that often fails to enforce consequences for landlords, even those who mercilessly target the elderly and the ill.”
“Ms. Noel herself, G-d rest her soul, put it best, once saying ‘This city needs to stop predatory landlords from putting money in front of humanity,’ and that “We are here today not for Joy P. Noel, but for justice in our community.’ On behalf of Ms. Noel, we have a moral obligation to seek that justice.  We will continue her fight. “

Lastly, Ms. Noel’s Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte had this to say:

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of one of my constituents, Ms. Noel, who died homeless after being wrongfully evicted from her home,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. “Unfortunately, these types of wrongful convictions are becoming more and more frequent due to the shameful greed and inhumane treatment by landlords. In the Assembly, we have passed progressive rent laws to protect the most vulnerable among us, only to have our colleagues in the Senate either vote them down or not even entertain bringing the legislation to a vote. If we want to pass meaningful legislation, it will require changing the make-up of our State government. My prayers are with the family, and friends of Ms. Noel during this time.”

Ms. Noel’s Funeral arrangements are as follows: 

When: Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 12:00 noon. 
Where: Harmony Funeral Home, 2200 Clarendon Road, Brookly, NY 11226

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