Rick Aidekman and the crazy world of NYC Landlords

This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Rick Aidekman and the crazy world of NYC Landlords

Dracula Part 5:

The Crazy world of NYC landlords continues. As he was in trouble, the opportunity to purchase Dracula’s properties at a good price, would normally be the case.   As stated in the last article, a Receiver was in control of the operations and cash flow, the City was pressing him with threats of jail, the tenants were mad and organizing.    A normal owner would want it to be over and would sell at a discounted price to normal value.    But, this was Dracula and his ego made him act like he was winning, and all his problems would just go away, if he held firm, and, as he would always say, like Dracula, he wouldn’t ever die, or in this situation, sell at a discounted price.     I met with him a dozen times, just to determine which buildings he would sell.    He felt that if he sold one or two properties, it would all go away, and he could keep the rest under his control.   We weren’t interested in buying just the two properties in the midst of their turmoil.    We wanted to buy all twelve of his Brooklyn properties, seven of which were in receivership.    Our thinking was that the five, not yet in the hands of the receiver, could provide us with cash flow while we negotiated with the City to allow us to take control of the seven in receivership.    It turned out that the prices at which he was prepared to sell each of the properties was not the issue, he was surprising realistic when we actually sat down to negotiate.   But every time we spoke, he would add a property and take one away.   He would raise the price we agreed to on each of the properties, acting as if we never even discussed a price before.    Always stating, “I am getting robbed.    The tenants are taking my money.”  “The City is making me the bad guy.”    “These are great properties and I take personal care of them.”    I just listened and smiled.  

Finally, an event occurred that changed the entire landscape.    I was at my desk when my assistant told me that Dracula was on the phone.   He was speaking at hyper speed.   I tried to slow him down to understand what he was saying.   Finally, it hit me.   He was in the Bronx House of Detention.   The Brooklyn District Attorney charged him criminally for the thousands of violations on his properties.   This was unheard of, in that civil fines usually got the attention of bad landlords, but she decided to make an example of him to get the message to other similar individuals.    What I heard through all of his mutterings was that he was ready to get out, totally.     As his time allowed on the phone was limited and controlled, this was just the first of two or three daily calls for about a week until we made a deal.

Twelve properties at an agreed upon price.    I knew he wouldn’t hold to the price, that was his style, but I felt for the first time, that he knew he had to get out and get out fast.    After about a week, after a couple of hearings, he was allowed out on bail.   It seemed like his first stop, was not his office, or his home, but my office.     As this was years before 9/11, building security was virtually non-existent, he came right up to my office and after about 10 minutes, we shook hands on a deal.    All twelve properties at a fair price.

I asked for his attorney’s name as we sat in my office.   We called together, and his attorney agreed to prepare the contracts.    Surprisingly, we felt done.   Not so fast.   With Dracula, you are never done until you are done, then undone, then done, etc.    

Next, the contracts, the negotiations with the City, the Receiver and finally the tenant meetings.   All this before the closing and our takeover.  

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