East Village fire victims seek assistance from their illustrious landlord.
Residents of a burned-out East Village building are enraged with their landlord about their new living arrangements.
Faith Popcorn, a renowned "futurist" who has been dubbed the "Nostradamus of Marketing," owns 48 East 7th St., which was destroyed in a fire on Dec. 5, 2020, that also damaged Middle Collegiate Church next door.
Tenants recently organized a rally, pleading with Popcorn to rehouse them in one of her two other East Village structures. Faith Plotkin, as Popcorn, inherited the properties from her family.
Popcorn, who originated the phrase "cocooning" to refer to lounging at home luxuriously, also owns a $8.7 million Upper East Side townhouse and two East Hampton homes on Georgica Pond near Beyoncé and Jay-home. Z's In 2019, she listed the smaller cottage for $4.99 million.
Meanwhile, two of Popcorn's tenants, Zwenyslawa and Chrysanna Woroch, are residing in a former hotel that has been converted into a homeless shelter, according to their lawyer, James Fishman.
“They were without a place to go,” Fishman explained.
The Worochs paid $617 per month for their rent-controlled apartment, which they had owned since 1957.
The two sued Popcorn's LLC, the property's owner, in April, requesting that Popcorn or a subsequent owner "take any and all actions necessary" to reclaim their flat and maintain their rent-regulated status.
Popcorn contended in court documents that she was under no responsibility to do so because there is no structure.
“If that were true, then any landlord seeking to terminate rent-controlled or rent-stabilized tenancies might simply allow the building to burn down or go unrepaired,” Fishman explained. “That cannot be true.”
Popcorn's LLC is also being sued by the insurance company for four additional renters, seeking $186,301 in damages.
The occupants were compelled to vacate the premises following a smaller fire in February 2020.
The building was undergoing repairs at the time, and occupants were offered $200,000 apiece in early December 2020 to relinquish their rights to their flats, according to court documents.
The fire then spread to an empty restaurant space on the first level, where it was believed to have started electrically. There was no conclusive cause discovered.
The six-alarm blaze raged through the deserted apartment building and into the adjacent church. The fire spared the steeple that houses the 1729 New York Liberty Bell. Recently, the bell was donated to the New-York Historical Society.
Popcorn and her attorney did not reply to demands for comment.