During the OAG compliance period, Green National
Fixed many violations, but issues remain
OAG will retain a $250,000 penalty and install an independent
Monitor to continue monitoring remaining violations
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced that her office will continue to monitor Syracuse-based landowner Green National for failing to fully comply with all requirements of an agreement with the Office. Attorney General (OAG). Since Green National entered into the agreement two months ago, it has corrected numerous housing violations across all of its properties during the 60-day compliance period. These corrected violations include broken door locks, infestations, unsanitary conditions, and more. However, there are still a number of serious breaches that remain unaddressed at Green National-owned properties, including an out-of-service elevator at James Apartments and inadequate security at Skyline Apartments. As a result, OAG will continue to retain Green National’s $250,000 penalty in escrow and install an independent monitor for one year until these issues are resolved.
“For years, Green National has grossly neglected its properties and put tenants at risk,” said Attorney General James. “Since our enforcement actions began two months ago, Green National has finally begun making repairs and resolving some of the dangerous and troubling issues affecting its tenants. Although some changes have been made, there are still serious issues to be resolved. Green National is not off the hook and we will continue our monitoring until the remaining violations are resolved to ensure tenants have the dignified housing they deserve.
As part of the agreement with OAG, Green National was to correct numerous housing code violations, including: repairing broken doors, repairing broken elevators, responding to tenant repair requests in individual units, replacing and installing smoke detectors, control cockroach and mouse infestations, and properly clean their buildings. The agreement also required Green National to comply with the City of Syracuse’s Nuisance Abatement Ordinance, which required full-time security at Skyline apartments.
Since the start of the 60-day compliance period at the end of February, Green National has made the necessary repairs to individual tenant units in all of its properties.
However, serious issues remain at two specific properties, the Skyline and James apartments. After neglecting the issue for years, Green National finally signed on with contractors last month to replace the out-of-service elevator in the James Apartments and to install security cameras in the Skyline Apartments stairwells. As replacing the elevator will be a lengthy process, OAG has asked Green National to advise tenants of the reasonable accommodations available to them – such as relocation to lower floors or other buildings and assistance for groceries and moving – in accordance with the American Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Green National has complied and issued these notices to all tenants. The OAG works closely with tenant legal service organizations and fair housing groups to ensure tenants’ housing needs are met.
The OAG is asking Green National to install an independent monitor to oversee and report on the status of elevator repair and inadequate security, as required by the agreement. The Controller will review Green National’s code compliance procedures and submit monthly reports to the OAG. To ensure that Green National is meeting its obligations under the ADA and the Fair Housing Act, the Monitor will review tenant requests for reasonable accommodations, including the nature of the request, date of filing, date of Green National’s response to the tenant, and the outcome.
“The City of Syracuse welcomes Attorney General James’s assistance in enforcing Green National,” said Ben Walsh, Mayor of Syracuse. “The city will continue to use all the authorities at its disposal to ensure that the company fulfills its responsibilities to its residents and our community.”
“Green National’s continued violation of the law and failure to care for their properties and maintain accessibility is simply unacceptable,” said Sally Santangelo, Executive Director, CNY fair housing. “CNY Fair Housing is grateful for the Attorney General’s continued efforts to hold him accountable for the way he treats his tenants.”
In February, Attorney General James announced an agreement with Green National requiring them to correct housing code violations at all of their properties within 60 days. If Green National failed to meet the terms of this agreement, OAG would withhold $250,000 as a penalty and install a monitor.
Green National owns and manages more than 1,000 apartment buildings in the Syracuse area. The tenants of these buildings are mainly people with modest or fixed incomes, people with health problems, people receiving assistance from government programs and seniors. The OAG began its investigation of Green National in March 2021 in response to reports of rampant crime, unsafe conditions, and consistent code violations at some of their Syracuse-area properties, including but not limited to limited to Skyline Apartments, Vincent Apartments and the James. Apartments.
The agreement also required that prior to the sale of any of its New York properties, Green National either correct any open code violations or include in any sales contract a provision requiring new owners to correct code violations by suspense. Within 14 days of the sale of any of its properties, the company must notify OAG of the sale. Additionally, if Green National purchases additional property in New York within the next five years, it must notify the OAG.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith C. Malkin of the Syracuse Regional Office with the assistance of Investigator Andrea Buttenschon. The Syracuse Regional Office is headed by Assistant Attorney General in Charge Ed Thompson and is part of the Regional Affairs Division, which is headed by Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Jill Faber and overseen by the Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.