The five elderly women who refused to leave their apartments at the Prospect Park Residence – despite an eviction notice and living in “deplorable conditions” – reached a $3.35 million settlement, attorneys said on Wednesday.
“Instead of being rushed into nursing homes like many former Prospect Park Residence residents, our clients will now have the time and resources to transition safely to appropriate settings,” said Kevin Cremin of MFY Legal Services, who represent the women.
A week before the women, ages 91 to 101, reached a settlement in Brooklyn Supreme Court, a facility worker at 1 Prospect Park West told the Park Slope Stoop that they continued living there. The settlement will provide each tenant with $533,333 and an August 31 extension.
The messy court battle involved the tenant’s families, their homeowner, real estate developer Haysha Deitsch and the New York State Department of Health, which approved and announced the center’s foreclosure in March 2014.
Lead attorney in the case, Judith Goldiner, said she’s disappointed with the DOE’s failure to notify residents – home to 120 seniors at the time – of eviction, forcing them out of their homes in short notice.
“We will continue to pursue the legal claims against the Department of Health,” Goldiner said. The DOH declined to comment and said, “DOH does not comment on pending litigation.”
In 2006, Deitsch bought the residence for about $40 million. He reached a deal in 2013 to sell the building for $76 million under the condition that he’d empty the facility before his deadline. Deitsch had his eyes on converting the facility into condominiums and gave residents 90 days to leave.
Reports say Deitsch is satisfied with the settlement and can focus on other lawsuits. But he continues to paint the tenant’s and their families as “motivated by greed.”
Joyce Singer, daughter of Alice Singer, one of the seniors who lives in the building, told the Associated Press, she worries whether Dietsch would follow through with the agreement. Singer expressed that while the money would suffice, the move out would be “unbelievably distressing,” for her mother.
New York City Councilmember Brad Lander, a supporter of the Prospect Park Residence elders, describes Deitsch as “evil” with “sociopathic” actions just to make a buck through condo-conversion.
The Councilmember praised the attorneys for winning a settlement that meets the seniors’ needs and urged more efforts towards the DOE.
“It is deeply disappointing that the NYS Department of Health gave no support or protection to 130 elderly New Yorkers,” Lander said. “New York needs better public policy to protect our seniors from greed.”