May Update: Don’t think I’ve forgotten!

23 May

Is Urban American really too big to be held accountable?

As of May 23rd, 2011, this site has had 695 total views. Not bad, but I’m waiting for the moment when the number of visitors to this site is greater than the number of housing violations that Urban American is guilty of. In the past month, I unfortunately have not been able to track down any new buildings in Urban American’s name, so the total number of violations has remained static. However, I’m keeping tabs on Urban American with the help of Google Alerts, which will let me know whenever new information appears in Google’s search results related to their dealings. I’m not letting them get anything past me.

I find it frustrating that this site hasn’t been given any attention by the news media, not only because Urban American deserves the negative publicity, but because coverage by a news organization may lead to an official investigation. Today, a housing inspector from HPD (the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development) dropped by unexpectedly to check out my unit’s violations, and I asked him why I haven’t seen any action taken against Urban American by HPD or the Office of the Public Advocate. The inspector claimed that “the problem is that Urban American is a corporation, not a private landlord, and therefore they cannot be held accountable.”

I beg to differ, especially considering how in the eyes of the Supreme Court, corporations have the same rights as individuals. Google “corporate personhood”, it’s a sad truth. Thus, while it may be difficult for HPD to go up against Urban American and the out-of-state investment bankers which fund it, this argument holds no water. For the record, the housing inspector was a very friendly guy, and I do not intend to be disrespectful of him in any way.

On the contrary, Urban American continues to be incredibly disrespectful to its tenants. It’s about time someone called out Josh Eisenberg and his cohorts on their tenant harassment and habit of keeping their units in disgusting conditions. Later this week, I’m going to pay a direct visit to the Office of the Public Advocate and see if there’s anything that can be done. I’d also like to begin writing to the politicians who serve the areas with the greatest number of Urban American buildings, and to create a map of these buildings as opposed to the running list. Hopefully, these actions may help myself and other Urban American tenants achieve justice once and for all.


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