|Neil Rubler (Zachary Kussin Photo)|
According to the Village Voice article, Rubler got his start in the real estate business by marrying into the Olnick real estate family where he became a top executive. Rubler established Vantage Properties in 2005, which scooped up about 9,000 mostly rent-controlled apartments scattered among 130 properties around New York City. Rubler boasted to investors that he planned to do for real estate what Wal-Mart had done for the retail industry. He promised investors a 20% turnover rate in his apartments, a difficult goal to achieve given that average turnover rate for rent-controlled apartments in New York at the time was just 5.6%. By simply turning over tenants, Vantage could increase rental rates at least 20%. Litigious tactics Vantage employed to achieve higher turnover rates landed Rubler on the Village Voice's list of notorious landlords. According to a spate of lawsuits and actions taken by government authorities, Vantage would refuse to cash tenants' rent checks and then take them to court to evict them, or it would falsely accuse them of having a primary residence other than their rent-controlled apartment as a way of forcing them out.
Rubler's sweetheart relationship with the ethically-challenged, long-time New York Congressman Charlie Rangel also caught the attention of the New York Times a few years back. A couple of months after a charity Rubler headed up honored Rangel, The Times reported that his real estate company had leased four rent-controlled apartments in its Lenox Terrace property in Harlem to Congressman Rangel. The Times criticized Rangel for hoarding rent-controlled apartments, including using one as an office, while the Olnick Organization headed by Rubler used overzealous tactics to evict tenants from rent-stabilized apartments and convert them to market-rate housing. New York's former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo at one point threatened to sue Vantage for unlawful business practices before his office reached a settlement agreement with the company under which it agreed to cease serving tenants with baseless legal notices.
As was pointed out in a previous post, The Tyler apartment building in Indianapolis had already become a problem apartment building while it was still under the ownership of Trinitas Ventures. Downtown Indianapolis residents should be alarmed that city officials earlier this year gave approval to Trinitas to build another 11-story apartment building in the heart of downtown at the northeast corner of Michigan and Capital Streets. Clearly, this company is more interested in developing and flipping properties for a quick profit than being a long-term, committed business neighbor like so many of the other favored developers gaining quick approval of similar apartment building projects throughout downtown, often sweetened with taxpayer subsidies.