The city of New York is using eminent domain to seize a family-owned dry-cleaning business and offering the owners only about 30 percent of the value.
“The city has offered my family about 30 cents on the dollar on the market value for what our three lots are worth — that’s not enough to buy anything comparable in East Harlem today,” Damon Bae told The New York Daily News.
Bae’s family business, Fancy Cleaners, sits on three lots in Manhattan’s East Harlem.
The Bae family bought three vacant lots that had sat empty for decades and then built a dry-cleaning store on them in 2003. The city is seizing the lots and giving them to a real-estate developer.
The city wants to pay the Baes $3.5 million for their land and $615,000 for machinery worth $2 million, Bae charged. A lot near his property recently sold for $11 million.
“It’s like you own a Mercedes-Benz, and someone offers to reimburse you for the price of a Hyundai Sonata,” Bae complained.
City Charging Business Rent for Property it Seized
That was not the worst outrage committed by the city’s lawyers. Bae is now paying the city $30,000 a month rent to stay in the building his family built.
The city can charge rent because it seized the building in April 2017. When Bae did not pay the rent, the city simply deducted it from the amount it tried to pay him.
Worst of all, Bae cannot afford to move his business because he cannot afford to buy a lot or building in New York with the amount the city offered to pay him.
“We are being run out of business,” Bae said. “The city is just squeezing us dry. It’s like dealing with the Mafia . . . and we are so tired of fighting.”
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