FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Imani Henry (646) 820-6039
Ozone Development, LLC causes Thousands of Dollars in Property Damage to Historic Bed-Stuy Brownstone
Equality for Flatbush’s Real Estate Watch creates Map of Properties Bought up by Predator Developer in predominantly Black and Latinx Brooklyn neighborhoods https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/viewer?mid=1HsWPk5GM86BrHiFC2dU-szUWV3s&ll=40.68692224743087%2C-73.93104905411985&z=14
Equality for Flatbush (E4F), a Brooklyn-based anti-gentrification organization, launches an accountability campaign to expose predatory developer Ozone Development, LLC for its refusal to pay thousands of dollars in property damage to Evette Simmons, a Black homeowner in Bedford-Stuyvesant. In addition, E4F’s investigative research team, Real Estate Watch, has mapped out 25 properties linked to Joe Mashieh, of Ozone Development, in the historically Black and Latinx communities of Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and East New York. Real Estate Watch, launched by E4F in 2016, works to hold predatory landlords and developers accountable by providing empirical information and tools to empower Brooklyn residents and small businesses.
Ozone Development LLC, was brought to E4F’s attention by Ms. Evette Simmons, who has been in a legal battle with the developer since 2016. Ozone Developer bought the property at 631 Hancock Street next to the 100-year old brownstone owned by Ms. Simmons. During the rehab of the 631 Hancock Street, Ozone Development LLC painted one side of Ms.Simmons’ brownstone black without her consent. Ozone also attached of handrails to the side of the building without her unauthorization as well as illegally dumped construction debris in front of her property resulting in numerous fines from the city. Ms. Simmons is currently suing for over $5K in damages.
“On December 19, I met with Mr. Mashieh and his associate. They agreed to pay me for the cost for repairs,” said Ms. Simmons, “But shortly later, they declined from their verbal agreement. I hired 2 attorneys to mediate and settle with the owners, with no success.” Then on April 12th, E4F launched a petition and sent a letter to Ozone at the behest of Ms. Simmons and several community members asking for a meeting with the developer. To date, Ozone Development LLC has not responded to this request for a meeting. Ms. Simmons goes back to Kings County Civil Court on May 4th.
According to Mr. Mashieh’s LinkedIn page and a 2012 post on the real-estate site Zillow, his business is to buy out and rehab, i.e. flip, properties in distressed and foreclosure conditions. Equality for Flatbush’s research shows that he is concentrating his efforts in low-to-middle income neighborhoods of color and looking to sell to wealthy new residents. “The real-estate industry in general has no regard for existing communities. They just want to want gentrify as quickly as possible so they can make a buck. They’re profiting off the suffering of people of color who have been displaced through foreclosures and evictions,” says Colin Kinniburgh, co-coordinator of Real Estate Watch. “That Ozone has gone back on their word to pay damages to Ms. Simmons and has ignored community members requesting a meeting shows their lack of respect for communities of color.”
To date, over 200 people from across New York as well as around the world have signed the petition calling on Ozone Development to pay Ms. Evette Simmons for the damages they caused. Many signers have left comments expressing their anger over what they feel is the blatant disregard for long-time Brooklyn residents communities by the real estate industry.
Diane J. from New York said it best: “It is simply not right that a development company deface another homeowner's property! How dare they assume they can come into a community and do whatever they please without first obtaining permission from the owner of the neighboring property? I grew up in that area and still attend church there. They must be stopped! Bedford Stuyvesant fight back!!!”