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Notorious landlord Steve Croman to pay a record $8M to tenants

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He's also serving jail time at Rikers

Residents of 301 East 108th Street have reported harrassment from Croman.
Residents of 301 East 108th Street have reported harassment from Croman

Reviled NYC landlord Steve Croman will be giving a big payout to the tenants he allegedly harassed, just after being sentenced to one year of jail time on Rikers Island this October. Croman has agreed to pay $8 million to his former tenants, and the The Real Deal reports that it’s the largest-ever settlement with an individual landlord in New York.

It ends a massive civil case brought by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in which Croman was accused of leading an operation that both harassed and tricked tenants into giving up their rent-stabilized apartments.

In the summer of 2016, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman charged Croman with 20 felonies, including harassing tenants at rent-regulated apartments within his various properties as well as falsifying rental income in order to secure as much as $45 million in financing. This fall, Croman plead guilty to charges of grand larceny, tax fraud, and an additional fraud charge relating to false statements.

As part of the plea agreement, Croman also agreed to a separate $5 million tax settlement. It's still a drop in the bucket for the notorious landlord—according to a TRD analysis, Croman took in at least $63 million from his portfolio of more than 140 properties in 2014 alone.

Croman owned nearly 150 buildings across the city but has since forfeited his brokerage license. An independent manager will now run his properties, and Croman is required to pay for a court-appointed monitor who will ensure compliance.

New York lawmakers have been pushing for stricter laws to punish landlords who harass rent-regulated tenants, and the AG has plans to continue pursuing them.

“New Yorkers are already struggling with high rents,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “We have zero tolerance for those who try to boost their bottom line by disregarding the welfare of their tenants. My office will continue to ensure that all landlords play by the rules, and aggressively pursue anyone who doesn’t to the fullest extent of the law.”