East Village Landlord Accused Of Trashing Tenant’s Apartment While He Was Hospitalized With COVID


When Ryo Nagaoka was hospitalized with coronavirus earlier this yr, the owner of his East Village condominium wasted no time altering the locks. After simply three weeks, they employed a cleansing firm to empty his condominium. His neighbors, assuming he’d handed away, erected a makeshift memorial outdoors.

However Nagaoka, a 65-year-old restaurant employee, was not lifeless. On Wednesday night time, he returned to his Avenue D condominium to seek out practically all of his possessions — apart from his piano and his pet tortoise — had been gone.

“They thought he died,” neighbor Sierra Zamarripa, who’s serving to to prepare a fundraiser for Nagaoka, informed Gothamist. “He got here again final night time and there have been padlocks on the door.”

The Lazarus-like story has prompted an outpouring of help and confusion from East Village residents, and questions over how the property’s house owners — who embrace Alex Rodriguez and mega-investor Barbara Corcoran — justified trashing his belongings so shortly.

Data present that Dan Shapiro bought the 21-unit Avenue D walk-up in 2018 from ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen. Corcoran and A-Rod reportedly turned half house owners in 2019.

The apartment where Nagaoka lives, partially owned by A-rod


The condominium the place Nagaoka lives, partially owned by A-rod


In an emailed assertion, an legal professional for Shapiro informed Gothamist that the tenant was hospitalized on January twenty seventh after he was found incapacitated by the constructing’s tremendous. The house owners made “each effort to find the Resident,” together with making calls to native hospitals and the town, however claimed they could not discover him. On February 17, simply three weeks later, the condominium was cleaned by an outdoor firm employed by the owner, in response to legal professional Mitchell Kossoff.

“The few salvageable possessions had been saved for the Resident in hopes of his return,” the assertion continued. “Additionally, the Resident’s pet tortoise remained within the condominium and was cared for by the owner’s brokers till the Residents return [sic].”

A number of neighbors informed Gothamist that Nagaoka had not acquired any of his most essential possessions as of Thursday afternoon. “He has no footwear, no toothbrush, no paperwork or ID, no passport, no fridge or range,” Valentina wrote in his GoFundMe. “What the administration has performed is so inhumane and I’m fairly certain very unlawful.” (Nagaoka couldn’t be reached for remark).

Ellen Davidson, a employees legal professional on the Authorized Help Society, mentioned the actions did in truth seem to violate the legislation. “It’s less than the owner to determine if somebody is coming again,” she mentioned. “You’re not allowed to filter out somebody’s condominium since you assume they are not there.”

Even with out the continued eviction moratorium, it’s unlawful for landlords to “lock-out” tenants with out going by way of the housing courtroom course of, Davidson emphasised.

“They’re referring to the property they stole from him as being ‘salvageable’ as a result of they’re beginning to construct their case that his possessions weren’t as much as their requirements,” she added. “It is surprising.”

Neighbors pitched in on Thursday to lend Nagaoka a mattress, and to make sure he had different requirements, together with blankets and meals. They mentioned his well being is significantly better than it was when he was hospitalized earlier this yr.

Cea Weaver, an organizer for the tenants rights group Housing Justice for All, mentioned the story was “symbolic of landlords getting actually determined within the face of the eviction moratorium.”

“A-rod does not want more cash,” she added. “Individuals simply imagine that renters are lower than them.”

Inquiries to Rodriguez and Corcoran weren’t returned.