One hundred and thirty-nine elderly residents who were allegedly forced from their apartments at the Esplanade Senior Residences in White Plains will share $528,000 as part of an agreement reached between the building’s owners and the state Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement today that under the agreement, Esplanade of White Plains Venture Partnership LP and White Plains Hotel LP will make payments totaling $528,367.50 to the elderly residents who were forced to vacate their apartments as a result of a major renovation of the building at 95 S. Broadway and 10 Lyon Place.
In November 2015, the Esplanade owners sent a letter notifying all residents that a “multi-year complete overhaul” of the facility was planned and that the “enormous level of construction will make it necessary to vacate the building.” The letter was sent in connection with a plan to repurpose the building from a senior residence to 212 luxury studio, one- and two-bedroom luxury rental apartments.
According to Schneiderman, the plan to vacate and renovate the building was in the works since 2014, though the Esplanade owners continued renting apartments to senior citizens without informing them of their plans. Some residents moved in just weeks before the November 2015 notification was sent. Schneiderman said that by failing to inform potential residents of their plan to vacate and repurpose the building, the Esplanade owners “caused many seniors to suffer undue and unnecessary stress, hardship and expense.”
“The AG contacted us to discuss the closure,” said Geoff Thompson, a spokesman for the Esplanade. “We cooperated fully. No investigation was commenced, and there is no allegation that we acted in any way in contradiction to law or violated any right of any senior. No resident was ‘forced out.’ In fact, we have never even asked a senior to leave, and we have never given a formal notice to terminate any senior’s tenancy.”
Thompson added that as a result of discussions with the Attorney General, the Esplanade voluntarily agreed to make payments to seniors to assist them in their relocation and is comfortable with this result.
Under the agreement, the Esplanade will pay $6,500 to each of the 60 residents who moved into the facility during 2014 and 2015, $3,250 to each of the 27 residents who moved in during 2013 and $1,250 to each of the 52 residents who moved in prior to 2013. Payment will be made within thirty days.
Prior to the agreement with the Attorney General’s Office, the Esplanade owners had made payments totaling $14,382.50 to certain residents as reimbursement or partial reimbursement for moving expenses. Those payments will be deducted from the amount those residents will receive pursuant to the agreement.
“This agreement will help the residents cover some of the expenses they incurred in having to make an unanticipated move from a facility where they expected to live out their remaining years,” Schneiderman said. “My office is committed to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and to holding landlords accountable for their actions.”