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Judge Hands Down 5-Year Real Estate Ban On Predatory Landlord Toledano

325 East 12th St., which was part of Raphael Toledano's portfolio

Rafael Toledano, an East Village multifamily landlord who notoriously harassed tenants, has been banned from doing any real estate deals for five years.

Toledano reached a $3M settlement with New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office after a 2019 investigation found he had used coercive buyouts and illegal construction practices to harass tenants. James said this week he breached the terms of that agreement — which required him to hand over his business to the supervision of an independent monitor.

James' investigation found Toledano advertised apartments as having three and four bedrooms when they were only allowed to have one and misrepresented himself as a lawyer on multiple occasions.

“New York tenants can breathe more easily knowing that Rafi Toledano is no longer in the real estate business,” James said in a statement. “Through his deceptive and illegal actions, Toledano caused incredible pain and suffering to hundreds of vulnerable families, who are still feeling the effects of his harassment today.”

Toledano sold his 15-building portfolio to his lender, Madison Realty Capital, last May, according to The Real Deal. The sale price was about $153M, following a liquidation plan that had been finalized earlier in the year.

In a press release, James said Toledano didn’t appropriately disclose his business dealing to the independent monitor or seek approval to engage in further real estate dealings. He also didn’t keep properties in a condition that met tenants’ rights laws and didn’t make his penalty payments.

He will have to pay his past-due penalties with the proceeds from the sale of the buildings, and will be able to petition the court to re-enter the real estate business after the five-year period, James' office said.

A ban on real estate dealings is not an unprecedented punishment for a New York City landlord. Condo developer Shaya Boymelgreen was handed a state ban after his projects were delivered to buyers unfinished and he refused to pay for repairs. Boymelgreen has been unsuccessfully trying for years to develop a luxury condo tower in Atlanta.