Notorious landlord Steven Croman was arrested today and charged with over "20 felonies including grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records" according to the New York Times. While Croman is primarily known as a residential landlord, and indeed the charges today pertain to violations against individual tenants, he has also had some run in with restaurateurs over the years.
Most recently Bruno Pizza won a judgment against a petition of eviction by 9300 Realty, Croman's company. According to Bruno Pizza owner Demian Repucci he was served with an eviction notice the very week that his restaurant opened. At issue was an unsanctioned roof deck and the use of basement space by the landlord, both of which fell outside of the bounds of the lease that Repucci has signed. When Repucci refused to accept the modification, 9300 Realty filed the lawsuit that was eventually thrown out. Bruno Pizza does not seem too upset about today's proceedings:
Two years ago Yassir Zraouli, owner of Moroccan restaurant Rustic LES, blamed Croman for the shutter of his restaurant. According to Zraouli Rustic LES was "met with a series of issues, and the owner reneged on many contractual obligations citing construction delays and outside agency interference." This included asbestos removal in the building and a scaffold that completely obscured the restaurant's signage.
Back in 2011, Prune chef Gabrielle Hamilton invested almost $60,000 to open a take-out restaurant in a Croman owned property. As it turned out, the space was never zoned for commercial use and despite being unable to obtain the permits required to open her business Croman refused to return the chef's money. The State Supreme Court eventually forced Croman to pay back the money in 2014.