Monday, September 17, 2018
City using strongarm tactics at Willets Point
From the Queens Chronicle:
Wais Mohibi doesn’t like to go down without a fight.
With his partner Jamie Sabeti, he owns A&B Repair Shop & Discount Muffler at 38th Avenue and 126th Street, the lone holdout in an otherwise barren section of Willets Point.
The Bloomberg administration made deals with other businesses in the area, so the properties could be cleared to make way for a since-killed plan to build a 1.4 million-square-foot mega-mall. Many of the businesses were given money and moved to the Bronx but ended up evicted from their new home.
Mohibi and his partner didn’t end up taking an offer.
“I fought with the city,” he told the Chronicle. “They wanted me out.”
Because the business stayed, its lease with the previous owner of their lot was still in effect and they had to start paying their rent to the city.
Mohibi said he doesn’t regret the decision to stay, and not take a relocation deal, but noted that it hasn’t been painless.
“We had a loss of business,” he said.
Not helping his company is its lack of accessible water — which is often a necessary part of auto work.
“[The city] cut off the water,” Mohibi explained. The issue is compounded by the fact that there is no meter the business can use to gauge its electricity usage, a problem he said was also created after the city took over the lease.
Because of the lack of services, Mohibi and Sabeti stopped paying rent to the city about a year ago, according to Ira Cooper, their attorney.
The de Blasio administration is suing them.