April 7, 2011
Hundreds of Building Trades union members will gather to protest Sam Zell’s appearance at the 16th Annual NYU REIT Symposium at the Pierre Hotel. The NYU REIT Symposium is an important industry event attended by hundreds of real estate executives annually. Zell and his companies have amassed a shocking record of irresponsible practices that threaten investors, communities, tenants and workers.
Sam Zell is the Founder and Chairman of Equity Residential, the country’s largest publicly traded owner of multifamily housing. Equity has hired Ryder Construction, a contractor with a troubling history of recent safety violations, to construct a luxury rental building at 500 W. 23rd St. Ryder has been fined by the NYC Department of Buildings more than $65,000 since 2008 and was issued a partial stop work order at Equity’s 500 W. 23rd St. for unsafe building practices. Equity also has a record of unsettling building maintenance issues, including the July 2010 collapse of a 3 story parking garage collapsed at an Equity apartment building in New Jersey. Equity allegedly ignored an engineer’s warnings that predicted the collapse two months earlier.
Finally, under Zell’s watch, Equity has amassed a troubling record of tenant rights violations. In 2005, the company settled a lawsuit filed by the Maryland Attorney General for imposing illegal fees on its tenants. In 2002, Equity lost a tenant class action lawsuit in Florida in response to charging similar fees and was forced to pay out $1.6 million to affected tenants.
Equity’s Chairman Sam Zell is no stranger to controversy. In 2007, Zell led the disastrous leveraged buyout of the Tribune Company. In 2008, the Tribune went bankrupt due to the unsustainable debt burden brought on by Mr. Zell’s buyout, as well as the poor performance of the management team he installed. In November 2010, Sam Zell was sued by the Tribune Company’s Official Creditors Committee for allegedly defrauding the company’s creditors by pursuing a buyout he knew would lead to bankruptcy.
WHO: Metallic Lathers Local 46 and other NYC Building and Construction Trades unions.
WHEN: Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 12 Noon
WHERE: Pierre Hotel 2 East 61st Street NYC
Summary: Local 46 members to protest irresponsible corporate practices of Sam Zell, Chairman of Equity Residential and owner of the Tribune Company. Zell’s Equity Residential has history of questionable practices, including hiring a contractor with a record of safety violations for a NYC construction project.