Chelsea Hotel Tenants Remain in Limbo

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An update on the saga unfolding in court It's not all sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll at the famous Chelsea Hotel these days. Mary Anne Rose-Gentry, a painter who has lived in the renowned Chelsea since 1978, is all too familiar with the current state of the oft-depicted landmark. "I must say the Chelsea Hotel story is a very exhausting process to live through," says Rose-Gentry. "On August 1st it is our second anniversary with the new owners, and an ordeal it has been." Rose-Gentry refers to ongoing court proceedings between tenants at the Chelsea and the hotel's new landlords. The historic Chelsea, home to numerous notable artists over the years, still houses a number of permanent residents, including Rose-Gentry. In recent years, these tenants have struggled to maintain the home they know and love as it literally crumbles around them. In 2011, the Chelsea underwent extensive renovations under new owner Joseph Chetrit. At least 34 tenants have since filed lawsuits against Chetrit, citing unsafe living conditions that have resulted from these renovations, including mold, dust and lead. Renovations have since stopped. Tenants say Chetrit had been unresponsive to their demands for improved living conditions, which is what spurred the lawsuits. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, in whose district the hotel falls, says the landmark has fallen on hard times and Chetrit needs to step up to make the necessary improvements. "We will simply not let our neighbors be treated this way," said Quinn in a 2012 statement. On June 7 of 2013, tenants again went to court with the landlord but they say the negotiations continue without much to report until their next day in court. While Tenants Association President Zoe Pappas says there are no new developments at this point, as tenants wait to go back to court, she concedes "the waiting period is the most difficult" and calls the ordeal an "interesting saga." "We are in court and we haven't reached any conclusion and we are to start our trial soon, so in eight days we are are to have another consult," explains Pappas. We are basically making negotiations still." According to Janet Kalson, a lawyer representing the tenants, they had a consent order issued in 2012, which was violated by the landlord, at which point they brought a proceeding for contempt. When asked to speculate about the outcome of the trial, Kalson said: "Any speculation is only that. I don't know if the landlord will agree to a settlement in the case. "I think we will be proceeding with the contempt trial, but I cannot tell you that for sure because if the landlord is reasonable and comes to an agreement we'll settle it. The case is adjourned until June 19.

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