Attorneys for a pair of Brooklyn slumlords accused of forcing their long-time tenants to live in destroyed apartments and then scaring them into leaving in order to jump in on the growing real estate market are working on a plea deal to resolve the case.
Joel and Aaron Israel face up to 15 years in prison for breaking into one apartment, forcing an unlawful eviction and stealing from three other rent-stabilized buildings they own in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint.
Once a tenant was out of an apartment, the Israel brother’s would increase the protected rents of $600 to $1,000 to between $2,100 and $3,500 in market-rate leases, prosecutors said.
Joel Israel’s lawyer Kevin Keating informed Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on Thursday that they have been working hard to resolve this case.
The judge told him time was running out.
“This will be the final status update on this case…I used the word ‘final’ so many times on this case, I won’t use the word anymore,” Chun said.
If the plea negotiations fall through by Sept. 15, jury selection will begin after the Yom Kippur holiday on Oct. 12, the judge said.