Land­lord’s hit on 20 charges

New York Daily News - - VOICE OF THE PEOPLE - Kerry Burke and John An­nese BY SHAYNA JA­COBS and GREG B. SMITH

Av­enue P. The im­pact hurled the In­finiti into the cy­clist, who was pinned be­neath it. The cars then slammed into a parked ve­hi­cle.

“The Honda lost con­trol and swerved into the In­finiti. Peo­ple started push­ing the car off him,” said Jake Sabba, 16. “He was chok­ing and went into shock.”

The cy­clist was taken to New York Com­mu­nity Hospi­tal but couldn’t be saved. NO­TO­RI­OUS LAND­LORD Steve Cro­man was hit Mon­day with a 20-count in­dict­ment and a civil suit re­lated to his long-run­ning cam­paign to ha­rass rent-sta­bi­lized ten­ants into flee­ing so he can jack up the rent.

Cro­man, who owns 140 apart­ment build­ings across Man­hat­tan, has long been the tar­get of a crim­i­nal probe by state At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man.

A grand jury in­dicted Cro­man (be­low) and his mort­gage bro­ker, Barry Swartz, on mul­ti­ple felonies charg­ing they lied about rental in­come to get more than $45 mil­lion in fa­vor­able mort­gages.

The civil lawsuit al­leges Cro­man rou­tinely used threats, in­tim­i­da­tion and bo­gus law­suits to ha­rass rent-pro­tected ten­ants so they’d leave.

Sch­nei­der­man called Cro­man “the Bernie Mad­off of land­lords,” adding, “My of­fice will not tol­er­ate any­one who at­tempts to line their own pock­ets by gam­ing the sys­tem. No one is above the law — no mat­ter how rich or pow­er­ful.”

Cro­man is a reg­u­lar on the black-tie cir­cuit and liv­ing it up in the Hamp­tons — buff­ing an im­age con­trary to the source of his wealth.

Most of the rent-sta­bi­lized build­ings he tar­gets are in gen­tri­fy­ing neigh­bor­hoods such as the Lower East Side, where rents have rock­eted and lower-in­come ten­ants have been squeezed out.

A key player in Cro­man’s cam­paign is an ex-NYPD cop, An­thony Fal­conite, who used shady tac­tics to gain en­try to apart­ments and falsely ac­cused ten­ants of break­ing rent-con­trol rules, the suit charges.

In emails, Cro­man re­ferred to the for­mer cop as his “se­cret weapon.” Fal­conite’s role was first dis­closed by the Daily News last year. On Wed­nes­day he was also hit with a civil suit.

In one ex­change, Fal­conite dubbed the push to re­move rent-sta­bi­lized ten­ants from Cro­man build­ings “a team sport.” Cro­man was re­leased on $500,000 cash bail.

Scene at Av­enue P and E. 12th St. in Brook­lyn, where bi­cy­clist was killed.

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