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(Gothamist)   How one crazy, old, unemployed Ph.D turned his rent stabilized Manhattan hovel into $17 million   (gothamist.com) divider line 158
    More: Hero, Ph.D., Manhattan, Herb Sukenik, Central Park West, Mayflower Hotel, Central Park South, MRIs, Mayflower  
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26831 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Mar 2014 at 9:22 PM (38 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-03 12:17:07 AM  

Emposter: Goimir: Mentat: Emposter: Except, as I pointed out, he didn't need or even really want the money. So he wasted between one and two years of the last 9 years of his life living it a construction zone because he was too smart to accept the earlier offer, and held out for an even larger amount that he apparently didn't want or need. That sounds too smart for his own good to me.

How?  He walked away with $17 million.  Who cares if he needed it or not?  I'm still not seeing how he outsmarted himself.  He may be a dick for screwing with the developers out of spite, but he still walked away with a better deal.  Outsmarting himself would have been holding out for a better deal only to have the eviction case against him succeed.

He did it because it was more interesting than the crossword.

He was a troll. Epic troll.

Maybe.  Certainly possible.  But the article indicates that he might have done it just because he figured out partway through how much his property was really worth.

Sukenik knew the precise acreage of his block and how much the Zeckendorfs had paid. He'd calculated the taxes, insurance and carrying costs of the empty properties and recited them all to Grabow. And he wouldn't begin negotiations until his three fellow tenants were gone. "He knew the last man standing was very valuable."

He was already independently wealthy, according to the article.  His dad left him loads of money, and he never worked a day in his life after that.  Yet, according to the article he spent his days cooped up in an apartment doing crosswords.  He didn't use the fortune he had already...what would he use more money for?

If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it.  But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off.  If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the d ...



The article gave you a lot of information from the developer's words. It might not be entirely accurate. For instance, the developer said that he didn't want to leave anything to his brother or anyone else....... and in the end he left everything to his brother.
 
2014-03-03 12:17:32 AM  

Emposter: Goimir: Mentat: Emposter: Except, as I pointed out, he didn't need or even really want the money. So he wasted between one and two years of the last 9 years of his life living it a construction zone because he was too smart to accept the earlier offer, and held out for an even larger amount that he apparently didn't want or need. That sounds too smart for his own good to me.

How?  He walked away with $17 million.  Who cares if he needed it or not?  I'm still not seeing how he outsmarted himself.  He may be a dick for screwing with the developers out of spite, but he still walked away with a better deal.  Outsmarting himself would have been holding out for a better deal only to have the eviction case against him succeed.

He did it because it was more interesting than the crossword.

He was a troll. Epic troll.

Maybe.  Certainly possible.  But the article indicates that he might have done it just because he figured out partway through how much his property was really worth.

Sukenik knew the precise acreage of his block and how much the Zeckendorfs had paid. He'd calculated the taxes, insurance and carrying costs of the empty properties and recited them all to Grabow. And he wouldn't begin negotiations until his three fellow tenants were gone. "He knew the last man standing was very valuable."

He was already independently wealthy, according to the article.  His dad left him loads of money, and he never worked a day in his life after that.  Yet, according to the article he spent his days cooped up in an apartment doing crosswords.  He didn't use the fortune he had already...what would he use more money for?

If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it.  But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off.  If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the d ...


If he'd spent his life holed up in his apartment doing crosswords maybe the entertainment value alone was worth it to him, and the money was just a bonus.

One thing living in FL has taught me has been to never underestimate the capability of bored old people to be enormous pains the ass.
 
2014-03-03 12:17:35 AM  

Emposter: If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it. But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off. If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the definition of too smart for his own good.


He was wasting his life anyway.  It's not as if that two years took anything away from him.  I only wish I could outsmart myself into $17 million.
 
2014-03-03 12:24:52 AM  

Mentat: Emposter: If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it. But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off. If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the definition of too smart for his own good.

He was wasting his life anyway.  It's not as if that two years took anything away from him.  I only wish I could outsmart myself into $17 million.


Don't get me wrong.  I'd give up a year or so for $17 million in a heartbeat.  But this guy already had a fortune, and did nothing with it.  He lived a hermit life in a tiny decrepit appartment by choice.  He clearly cared about different things than you or I.  I suspect he valued his solitude and peace and quiet more than the money.
 
2014-03-03 12:26:47 AM  

ricbach229: Want to make more cheap housing? Ease building and zoning laws.


"Want to lower hospital costs? Cap malpractice suits."

"Want to decrease unemployment? Lower taxes for the wealthy."

"Want to increase sex? Make AIDS illegal."

/okay, I made the last one up

In reality, I believe in changes to some building/zoning laws in my area, and in other areas. That won't "make more" cheap housing, and if it does, it will not be the kind of housing people should want.
For reference, I live in an area that legally allows for establishments to rent out probably a dozen trailer lots for long-term living, and the rent to park a f*cking trailer is as much as a crappy studio apartment with a community bathroom on each floor. DERELICT pieces of property, disgusting in some ways. And when I say trailer, I mean the old trailer homes, not the modern "manufactured" homes that are delivered with trucks. That kind of property should rent for, at most, a buck fifty a month.
 
2014-03-03 12:47:02 AM  
Heh. Good on him. I once worked with an older woman who lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan. She was paying about $150 a month in rent for a pre-war apartment that would have gone for ten times that easily.
 
2014-03-03 01:03:35 AM  

ignacio: He's not a hero, he's a dick. He needlessly antagonized these guys until they gave in to his outrageous demands.


Apparent'y the developers didn't think it was outrageous, They must have thought it was worth it.
 
2014-03-03 01:04:47 AM  
And don't feel too bad for the unimaginably rich Zeckendorf brothers-that $17 million was chump change for them. 15 Central Park West is now home to the most expensive apartment in NYC, which was sold to a Russian plutocrat for $88 million last year.

It will be pretty hilarious when the US almost inevitably seizes the assets of the Russian plutocrat in question as retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.
 
2014-03-03 01:10:03 AM  
Leaves behind his brother Richard (Nancy) and many cousins. -

WAT?
images.wikia.com
 
2014-03-03 01:10:13 AM  

toadist: I don't think we are to look at him as a hero.   He's a millionaire, and I believe here on fark that millionaires are bad and to be vilified.

Tear this person down and sick the tax man on him.


Well, paying him off is passed on to the consumers.
 
2014-03-03 01:22:01 AM  

super_grass: His estate will likely go to the state since he's a freaking hermit with no family or friends.


He had a brother.  Who inherited his estate when he died.
 
2014-03-03 01:33:57 AM  

Marcintosh: Leaves behind his brother Richard (Nancy) and many cousins. -

WAT?
[images.wikia.com image 550x392]


It's not that complicated. His brother Richard had a wife called Nancy.

Actually, belay that. It's not complicated at all.
 
2014-03-03 01:41:25 AM  
He's an opportunistic, self-pitying old brat who had enough money to start with, so I can't say that I'm really getting the sticking-it-to-the-man vibe here.
 
2014-03-03 02:03:09 AM  

organizmx: OgreMagi: organizmx: I live in a historic town filled with NYC commuters, so I just came in here to say fark developers to hell.

A developer built what you currently live in.

Yeah, in 1890, as rentals actually, but he did it without knocking down existing buildings, and they were built with a ton of care and attention to architectural detail. They're still striking and in fashion 120 years later.

Developers today buy homes like mine, bulldoze them, and put up cheap condos which blight otherwise beautiful historic neighborhoods.


The problem is your city's Dept of Planning and Development or its equivalent and your neighbors, not the developers.  If you and your neighbors cared enough you would stop it.  We got our neighborhood designated a historical district and had it downzoned to stop that crap.  Can't really blame people for wanting to live here, I want to live here, but we can keep them from tearing down historical buildings to do it.
 
2014-03-03 02:39:17 AM  
You wouldn't have to pay me to leave a building where Lloyd Blankfein lived.  OTOH, if I lived there as they constructed Lloyd's unit, I would have made it my mission to find ways into the place for some way overdue payback and monkeywrenching.  Starting with upperdecking all his toilets, then moving on to providing e.coli surface wipes in his master bath...
 
2014-03-03 03:05:31 AM  

dywed88: ignacio: He's not a hero, he's a dick. He needlessly antagonized these guys until they gave in to his outrageous demands.

Apparent'y the developers didn't think it was outrageous, They must have thought it was worth it.


Considering the last paragraph of the article, it looks like they did. If you can afford to build high end real estate at a prime location, it's worth a fortune.
 
2014-03-03 05:11:08 AM  

Emposter: Don't get me wrong.  I'd give up a year or so for $17 million in a heartbeat.  But this guy already had a fortune, and did nothing with it.  He lived a hermit life in a tiny decrepit appartment by choice.  He clearly cared about different things than you or I.  I suspect he valued his solitude and peace and quiet more than the money.


Or he was just a miser. There are some people who, for whatever reason, just want to get as much money as they can and do nothing with it. They aren't like the plutocrats that want more money to have more toys/bling, rather they want more money just to have more money. They'll go out of their way to be cheap, to the point it hurts their lifestyle, for no particular discernible reason. I dunno what causes it, but it is strange. Like Hetty Green who was worth billions in today's dollars, yet wouldn't pay for medical care she badly needed, wouldn't use hot water, etc, etc. She sought the acquisition (very successfully) of more and more wealth, but used none of it to make her life good, or even comfortable.

Heck a friend had a great aunt somewhat like that. She was old and in failing health, badly in need of full time hospice care. She had plenty of money for it, but refused to spend it, sticking in her apartment because it was rent controlled and thus cheap. They finally had her declared incompetent and forcibly moved to a managed care facility. She was delighted, because she took that to mean (and they didn't bother correcting her) that the government was paying for all of it.

So I could see this dude being similar. He wanted to keep living in his place because it was cheap, because cheap is good in his world. He wanted tons of money for it not because he needed it, or had any use at all for it, but because he wanted to have more money because that is an end to itself for him.

It is a strange condition. Worked out kinda shiatty for him, as it always does for misers. Good for his brother though I guess.
 
2014-03-03 06:38:50 AM  
FTFA: "The Mayflower's last holdout was short and balding with a wild fringe of gray hair and the "old-man smell" of someone who "didn't shower much," [relocation lawyer Michael] Grabow says. "He was clearly brilliant."

"I wasted my life," the embittered Sukenik told Grabow. His father had died while he was finishing his medical degree and left him enough money that he didn't have to work. "I could have been at the heart of research into CAT scans and MRIs," Sukenik said.

"Instead, I've been up here 30 years doing crossword puzzles."


Just for grins, I looked him up in the ProQuest Dissertations database, and there he is:

Subject: Nuclear physics
Title: NUCLEAR MAGNETIC RESONANCE IN LITHIUM - MAGNESIUM ALLOYS
Author: Sukenik, Herbert John
Publication year: 1959
Degree date: 1959
University/institution: University of California, Berkeley
Degree: Ph.D.
Dissertation/thesis number: 02111050

On a daily basis, I get to interact in an academic department with some brilliant people who are ... quirky, shall we say, and yet they are highly successful in their fields. If he was brilliant and yet never worked, my guesses are that he suffered major depression and couldn't work, or just had such an unpleasant personality that the level of his genius/promise of academic/industrial glory couldn't overcome people's dislike of him.
 
2014-03-03 06:48:43 AM  
"hero" tag finally says "enough"! can no longer deal with all the idiot subbies idea of what an actual "hero" is. or try to slide it by as irony, because they can afford $5.00 a month and they are more clever then you. puts 12 ga. in mouth and pulls trigger.
 
2014-03-03 07:03:45 AM  
He (only) moved into the building the year I graduated high school, I've lived in the same rent controlled building in San Francisco for 20 years was offered 30K to move out a few years ago told them to piss off maybe 10 more years I'll be rich....

/there's people in this building that have lived here since the 50's
//when I moved in it was the 30's but they're dead now
 
2014-03-03 07:04:26 AM  

KAVORKA: Come on, there ought to be a rule where they can give him 10 years in a rent-free, comparable apartment.  Or something like that.  He basically extorted them, how does this help anybody except him?


How exactly is refusing to sell something to someone until they meet your price extortion?
 
2014-03-03 07:05:23 AM  

WhoGAS: They should replace that bulb.


Nice catch.
 
2014-03-03 07:06:29 AM  

Manfred J. Hattan: bunner: In other news, you can oink up 17,000,000.00 for a small apartment and still make a profit off of people who want to live in an ant farm.

What a $65 MM ant farm may look like.


So there's people living above below and next to you in this dump? Some kids banging on the ceiling will keep me up all night?

Keep your overpriced ant farms.
 
2014-03-03 07:15:55 AM  

Heron: KAVORKA: Come on, there ought to be a rule where they can give him 10 years in a rent-free, comparable apartment.  Or something like that.  He basically extorted them, how does this help anybody except him?

How exactly is refusing to sell something to someone until they meet your price extortion?


In many states they just take your property with eminent domain and then give it to the developers. Happened in Kansas when a used car dealer refused to sell his property to a new luxury car dealer.
 
2014-03-03 07:25:05 AM  

toadist: I don't think we are to look at him as a hero.   He's a millionaire, and I believe here on fark that millionaires are bad and to be vilified.

Tear this person down and sick the tax man on him.


That these two men could drop 15 mil like it was nothing, turn around, then make from a single tenant 88 Million, but still biatched and moaned and had to be dragged to it as if that money was a big deal, should be all the evidence anybody needs to see that the extreme concentration of wealth in the US is not only irrational, but makes those who hold it irrational as well. To give you some perspective here; Guy 1 makes $88 bet with Guy 2 that he can make Guy 3 do a thing. Guy 3 refuses unless paid 15 dollars. Guy 1 biatches, moans, threatens suit, then threatens destruction of property and eviction to Guy 3; wastes months on this. Guy 3 is unmoved; insists on 15 dollars. Guy 1 finally overcomes irrational attachment to having money and pays 15 dollars; makes 73 dollars profit. You see how stupid Guy 1 sounds there? The only reason you don't respond the same way to these developers is because you, like them, foolishly believe that 15 million dollars has an objective value beyond what it can get you. In this real world instance, that 15 mil was no more valuable than the 15 bucks in the scenario above.

And -stooping to the twisted logic of money-men like these- the pair also screwed themselves out of all the money they could have made off the interest from/use of that 73 million over the time they didn't have it. Even by their own psychopathic lights, they were rubes.
 
2014-03-03 07:31:25 AM  

simkatu: Heron: KAVORKA: Come on, there ought to be a rule where they can give him 10 years in a rent-free, comparable apartment.  Or something like that.  He basically extorted them, how does this help anybody except him?

How exactly is refusing to sell something to someone until they meet your price extortion?

In many states they just take your property with eminent domain and then give it to the developers. Happened in Kansas when a used car dealer refused to sell his property to a new luxury car dealer.


Yeah, I know :/ There was a Supreme Court case about the same happening in Virginia ~ a decade ago when Pfizer wanted to build a parking lot for one of their sites where a neighborhood was, but the homeowners didn't want to sell. I realize that, according to current US "Wealth gets what it wants, all the time" moral logic him holding out would be considered rude, but I meant the question in a more comparative and definitional sense.

Blackmail is when you've got something on somebody and you use fear of its revelation to force certain behavior from them; this was a guy who legally "owned" a thing somebody else wanted and refused to sell it. Not really a textbook case of extortion, to my eyes.
 
2014-03-03 07:54:14 AM  
"Hero"?

This miserable asshole stood in the way if progress by exploiting an extraordinarily flawed law. I'm glad he had such a miserable, lonesome life.

Rent control is a ridiculously farked up law. We can't just do away with it all at once because that would provide a huge windfall to new owners (who bought their properties after rent control reduced their value) but this is just more evidence of how farked up it was to enact these laws in the first place.
 
2014-03-03 08:00:38 AM  
Too smart for his own good? Sounds like he's too smart for your own good, douchey real estate guy.
 
2014-03-03 08:20:23 AM  

ricbach229: Sure, some rich dudes are getting new luxury apartments, but they're moving out of older stock, leaving them vacant for upper middle class to move into who in turn leave cheaper housing and so on until the market clears and everyone has a place to live.


The only way that could possibly work is if the number of people in each economic class is equal.  Do you believe that there's as many multimillionaires as there are people on foodstamps?
 
2014-03-03 08:21:59 AM  

strangeluck: So being a bitter old douchebag with a good memory can get you millions of dollars?

I can't wait to grow old!


I must have missed a few steps along the way. I only got the bitter, old, douchebag and good memory parts. Missed out on the millions.
 
2014-03-03 08:35:50 AM  

Coming on a Bicycle: He's an opportunistic, self-pitying old brat who had enough money to start with, so I can't say that I'm really getting the sticking-it-to-the-man vibe here.


It is also worth pointing out that (according to the article anyway) he went out of his way to make life miserable for people who had to deal with him, such as the cleaning staff and the building manager. There's no excuse for that.

/ The older I get, the more I am convinced happiness, a good nature and being a person comfortable to live with is largely a matter of biochemistry.
// Born happy.
/// Die laughing.
 
2014-03-03 08:43:32 AM  

jst3p: ignacio: He's not a hero, he's a dick. He needlessly antagonized these guys until they gave in to his outrageous demands.

I don't think they were outrageous. Why hate on the guy just because you don't like how he spends his free time?


It was 17 million dollars to move out of his crappy apartment. It's outrageous.
 
2014-03-03 08:45:44 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: StanTheMan: Rent-stabilized tenants in the outer boroughs are increasingly facing malign neglect from greedy landlords

Uh, no, malign neglect comes from landlords who can't earn a return on investment because of rent control, so they don't improve their buildings.

Santa Monica, CA has rent control. All the buildings are run down ugly crapholes. Nearby Westwood has no rent control, and all the apartment buildings are new and beautiful, some with giant gyms and other awesome amenities. You get what you freaking pay for.

Want to see crappy apartments? Go to a rent controlled city.

The non-rent controlled apartments may be nicer, but for someone who can't afford the rent in one of them, but can in the rent-controlled place, it doesn't really matter.

Rent control exists to keep people from being priced out of their own homes.  Yes, they don't actually own the property, but for places like Manhattan where only the 1% could actually afford to own the property, renters need certain protections.  It's in the city's best interests to foster a sense of investment in the community, and long term residents with a stake in the neighborhood are one of the best ways to do that.  If you know that you can easily be priced out of the place you're living the next year, it doesn't give you much incentive to be involved in the community or to try to make it a better place.


The reason only 1% can actually afford to own property is because rent control artificially inflates apartment, and therefor house, prices.
 
2014-03-03 08:54:32 AM  

sycraft: Emposter: Don't get me wrong.  I'd give up a year or so for $17 million in a heartbeat.  But this guy already had a fortune, and did nothing with it.  He lived a hermit life in a tiny decrepit appartment by choice.  He clearly cared about different things than you or I.  I suspect he valued his solitude and peace and quiet more than the money.

Or he was just a miser. There are some people who, for whatever reason, just want to get as much money as they can and do nothing with it. They aren't like the plutocrats that want more money to have more toys/bling, rather they want more money just to have more money. They'll go out of their way to be cheap, to the point it hurts their lifestyle, for no particular discernible reason. I dunno what causes it, but it is strange. Like Hetty Green who was worth billions in today's dollars, yet wouldn't pay for medical care she badly needed, wouldn't use hot water, etc, etc. She sought the acquisition (very successfully) of more and more wealth, but used none of it to make her life good, or even comfortable.

Heck a friend had a great aunt somewhat like that. She was old and in failing health, badly in need of full time hospice care. She had plenty of money for it, but refused to spend it, sticking in her apartment because it was rent controlled and thus cheap. They finally had her declared incompetent and forcibly moved to a managed care facility. She was delighted, because she took that to mean (and they didn't bother correcting her) that the government was paying for all of it.

So I could see this dude being similar. He wanted to keep living in his place because it was cheap, because cheap is good in his world. He wanted tons of money for it not because he needed it, or had any use at all for it, but because he wanted to have more money because that is an end to itself for him.

It is a strange condition. Worked out kinda shiatty for him, as it always does for misers. Good for his brother though I guess.


A well-reasoned theory. It could also have been brainwashing from the wealthy father that warped his mind permanently.

And from all accounts he did seem to be bent.
 
2014-03-03 08:54:51 AM  
Nothing beats asshole death match in a bell jar.
 
2014-03-03 08:56:29 AM  

ignacio: jst3p: ignacio: He's not a hero, he's a dick. He needlessly antagonized these guys until they gave in to his outrageous demands.

I don't think they were outrageous. Why hate on the guy just because you don't like how he spends his free time?

It was 17 million dollars to move out of his crappy apartment. It's outrageous.


It's lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous!
 
2014-03-03 08:59:54 AM  
Trustafarian asshole who lives off government largesse (rent control).  fark everything about this guy.
 
2014-03-03 09:00:49 AM  

Emposter: Mentat: Emposter: Mentat: InterruptingQuirk: Developer boohoo "this old guy is too smart for his own good"

Old guy:

[img.fark.net image 345x203]

No kidding.  It sounds like he was exactly smart enough for his own good.

Actually, from the sound of things, it had nothing to do with what was good for him.  He had plenty of money already, no family to give the new money to, and nothing really to do with it.  He toyed with the developers because he was bored and pissed off that he didn't get free dinner.  That's it.  The developers had the really bad luck to be the only entertainment in a bored, angry, clever dude's life.

His motives weren't the issue, it was whether he was too smart for his own good.  That usually implies outsmarting yourself, which he clearly didn't do.

Except, as I pointed out, he didn't need or even really want the money.  So he wasted between one and two years of the last 9 years of his life living it a construction zone because he was too smart to accept the earlier offer, and held out for an even larger amount that he apparently didn't want or need.  That sounds too smart for his own good to me.


I wonder what his fark handle is?
 
2014-03-03 10:18:29 AM  

super_grass: His estate will likely go to the state since he's a freaking hermit with no family or friends.


Farking wills. How do they work?
 
2014-03-03 10:19:15 AM  

ignacio: jst3p: ignacio: He's not a hero, he's a dick. He needlessly antagonized these guys until they gave in to his outrageous demands.

I don't think they were outrageous. Why hate on the guy just because you don't like how he spends his free time?

It was 17 million dollars to move out of his crappy apartment. It's outrageous.


If the developer is putting up multi-million dollar apartments, then even a cess pool is worth millions.
 
2014-03-03 10:55:40 AM  

Emposter: Mentat: Emposter: If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it. But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off. If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the definition of too smart for his own good.

He was wasting his life anyway.  It's not as if that two years took anything away from him.  I only wish I could outsmart myself into $17 million.

Don't get me wrong.  I'd give up a year or so for $17 million in a heartbeat.  But this guy already had a fortune, and did nothing with it.  He lived a hermit life in a tiny decrepit appartment by choice.  He clearly cared about different things than you or I.  I suspect he valued his solitude and peace and quiet more than the money.


I think you're going to have a hard time convincing people he'd be better off without the $17M.

Boxcutta: super_grass: His estate will likely go to the state since he's a freaking hermit with no family or friends.

Farking wills. How do they work?


I doubt he had a will, so farking probate, how does it work? (Hint: not with the money going to the government).
 
2014-03-03 10:57:12 AM  

sycraft: ReverendJasen: StanTheMan: Uh, no, malign neglect comes from landlords who can't earn a return on investment because of rent control, so they don't improve their buildings.

How many do you own?  Are you speaking from first hand experience?
The common tactic in these areas is for landlords to do anything they can to drive residents out.  So leaving the building as craphole as possible becomes a mark of pride for them.

There's plenty of economic reality that rent control has issues with. It costs money, quite a bit of it, to keep up a building. Try owning your own home some time for a reasonable length (like 10+ years). See the amount you have to spend to keep the place in good shape. It isn't cheap (it's very worth it, but not cheap). Those costs go up more or less all the time, since we tend to have steady, low, inflation in the US. So every year, things cost a little more. Also some things go up more due to new and better safety or environmental regulations. Like, say, an A/C, which now need to be R-410 (which is higher pressure so less efficient) and 13 SEER minimum, both which necessitate a larger heat exchanger, and thus more cost. So though you get better equipment, the minimum upfront cost is more.

Then add on things like property taxes and all those other expenses.  Property tax in particular goes up as the valuation of your place goes up.

Well, if you've places that are rent controlled at a certain level, they'll start to be unprofitable, and then just get more and more unprofitable. If a given space costs you $500/month in maintenance, taxes, and so on but you can only charge $200/month for it, well then you have a problem long term. Cutting maintenance makes sense in every way. You want the person out so you can charge more, you save money, and thus lose less while they are there, and it keep the value lower to keep taxes lower.

Seriously: Have a look at property costs some time. If you want a good breakdown of all kinds of things, find a friend who's ...


In my province, we have rent control.  Every year the rent control board decides on some percentage, usually 1 or 2 percent that owners can raise the rent, HOWEVER, if they do any major renovations, they can just apply for a higher raise, based on the amount they spent.  They have to show them the paperwork, and the numbers get sent to all of the tenants.  This, I believe is a fair system, as it gives an incentive to the landlords to keep the building in good working order.  However, it can get skewed.  I was living in an apt that was bought by another company.  They came in, changed the windows and the cupboards and did a couple of other minor things, and then managed to get the rent almost doubled.  This was due to the amount that they claimed to have spent, which was to be paid for by increases in rent based on recouping that cost over 1 year.  Of course, at the end of the year, the rent doesn't go down, so that's when they make their profit....IF anyone chooses to keep paying the new rental price.  I did not and moved into a much better place.
 
2014-03-03 10:59:06 AM  

Komplex: The rent laws make it really farking difficult for a landlord to kick out deadbeat tenants and next to impossible to kick out one that's paying rent on time.


Yeah, it should be way easier to kick someone out of their home. So what if they're paying on time as agreed? fark them for not owning it.
 
2014-03-03 11:12:06 AM  

TuteTibiImperes: Emposter: Goimir: Mentat: Emposter: Except, as I pointed out, he didn't need or even really want the money. So he wasted between one and two years of the last 9 years of his life living it a construction zone because he was too smart to accept the earlier offer, and held out for an even larger amount that he apparently didn't want or need. That sounds too smart for his own good to me.

How?  He walked away with $17 million.  Who cares if he needed it or not?  I'm still not seeing how he outsmarted himself.  He may be a dick for screwing with the developers out of spite, but he still walked away with a better deal.  Outsmarting himself would have been holding out for a better deal only to have the eviction case against him succeed.

He did it because it was more interesting than the crossword.

He was a troll. Epic troll.

Maybe.  Certainly possible.  But the article indicates that he might have done it just because he figured out partway through how much his property was really worth.

Sukenik knew the precise acreage of his block and how much the Zeckendorfs had paid. He'd calculated the taxes, insurance and carrying costs of the empty properties and recited them all to Grabow. And he wouldn't begin negotiations until his three fellow tenants were gone. "He knew the last man standing was very valuable."

He was already independently wealthy, according to the article.  His dad left him loads of money, and he never worked a day in his life after that.  Yet, according to the article he spent his days cooped up in an apartment doing crosswords.  He didn't use the fortune he had already...what would he use more money for?

If he did it for entertainment, then, to him, it might have been worth it.  But the article indicated that he did it simply because he didn't want to be ripped off.  If he ended up wasting 1-2 of the last few years of his life bargaining for money he didn't want or need, simply because his intellect wouldn't let him sell for less than it was worth, that's the d ...

If he'd spent his life holed up in his apartment doing crosswords maybe the entertainment value alone was worth it to him, and the money was just a bonus.

One thing living in FL has taught me has been to never underestimate the capability of bored old people to be enormous pains the ass.


Ain't DAT da trufe!
One thing living in FL has taught me is, don't BE a bored old person/ pain in the ass. Lots of negative models around here.

/can't wait 'til the snowbirds leave
/already old
 
2014-03-03 01:15:14 PM  

simkatu: Manfred J. Hattan: bunner: In other news, you can oink up 17,000,000.00 for a small apartment and still make a profit off of people who want to live in an ant farm.

What a $65 MM ant farm may look like.

So there's people living above below and next to you in this dump? Some kids banging on the ceiling will keep me up all night?

Keep your overpriced ant farms.


You've got it all wrong. That isn't the typical building full of poors that you or I would live in. A building like that has a foot or two of concrete in between each floor. Your upstairs neighbor could set off a small bomb and you'd never know it.

That's the reason I will never live in a garden style apartment again. I lived in a high rise for a while, and now I work with a bunch of them, and the difference in quiet and solitude is stark. In most high-rises you won't hear jack squat coming from your neighbors EVER. You go from your covered parking, to the elevator, to your floor and in to your apartment. Most days when I was coming and going I wouldn't even see a single human being until I got out on to the road. And that apartment probably has a private elevator. It's almost certainly quieter and more private than even living in a suburban home. If his neighbors are up all night having a screaming match he'd never even know.
 
2014-03-03 02:41:15 PM  
How didn't he end up dead of "natural causes" is beyond me.
 
2014-03-03 03:54:56 PM  

gweilo8888: Marcintosh: Leaves behind his brother Richard (Nancy) and many cousins. -

WAT?
[images.wikia.com image 550x392]

It's not that complicated. His brother Richard had a wife called Nancy.

Actually, belay that. It's not complicated at all.


Well ya never know in this day and age. It could be he had a brother called Richard who's now known as Nancy.

Debeo Summa Credo: This miserable asshole stood in the way if progress by exploiting an extraordinarily flawed law. I'm glad he had such a miserable, lonesome life.


Yeah, damn him for knowing the value of what he had and wanting fair value for it. How dare he not accept his beads and cheap whiskey.
 
2014-03-03 04:35:10 PM  
FTFA: Will Zeckendorf describes Sukenik as "a nightmare. Hugely intelligent, a Ph.D., unmarried, embittered, a loner, disconnected from society, and too smart for his own good. "


Sounds like he was just smart enough, doucheveloper.
 
2014-03-03 04:41:42 PM  

MechaPyx: gweilo8888: Marcintosh: Leaves behind his brother Richard (Nancy) and many cousins. -

WAT?
[images.wikia.com image 550x392]

It's not that complicated. His brother Richard had a wife called Nancy.

Actually, belay that. It's not complicated at all.

Well ya never know in this day and age. It could be he had a brother called Richard who's now known as Nancy.

Debeo Summa Credo: This miserable asshole stood in the way if progress by exploiting an extraordinarily flawed law. I'm glad he had such a miserable, lonesome life.

Yeah, damn him for knowing the value of what he had and wanting fair value for it. How dare he not accept his beads and cheap whiskey.


Right. Damn him. Even if you actually believe in rent control I don't know how assholes like him don't fall into the "you're not helping" category.
 
2014-03-03 04:43:00 PM  

Smelly Pirate Hooker: doucheveloper.


DOUCHEVELOPER!  Oh man, I'm so gonna steal that.
 
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