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‘I Put in White Tenants’ — Brooklyn Landlord

The topic of gentrification and how it’s affecting African-American communities is a sore subject for many of us, with some in our community even completely oblivious to exactly what’s happening. As hundreds of historically black neighborhoods across the country continue to be wiped out under the guise of creating a “more diverse” and “progressive” society, those within our circle who were originally championing the movement are even running dry when attempting to convince us that the pros of gentrified neighborhoods outweigh the cons.

But if you really want the ugly truth behind exactly how this process is targeting black people and forcing them out of their own neighborhoods in mass numbers, look no further than this shameless Jewish landlord “Ephraim,” who breaks it down all too well during his anonymous conversation with a NY Magazine editor while riding through Brooklyn on a sunny morning.

We’re small, so we look into places that haven’t caught on — we just did a place on Nostrand Avenue. People are not even there yet. We put in $600,000 and everyone was laughing at us. “It’s crazy, you’re over there. A building for yuppies, white people? It’s not going to work.”

The building was full of tenants — $1,300, $1,400 tenants. We paid every tenant the average of twelve, thirteen thousand dollars to leave. I actually went to meet them — lawyers are not going to help you. And we got them out of the building and now we have tenants paying $2,700, $2,800, and they’re all white.

So this is what we do.”

But don’t worry, guys. He’s not racist. Really, he promises he’s not.


My saying is — again, I’m not racist — every black person has a price. The average price for a black person here in Bed-Stuy is $30,000 dollars. Up over there in East New York, it’s $10,000 dollars.

Everyone wants them to leave, not because we don’t like them, it’s just they’re messing up — they bring everything down. Not all of them.”

And not only are these common law crooks capitalizing off of the economic hardships plaguing black communities by buying them out of their own homes, they’re also banking on the fact that many black people aren’t aware that even the highest of payouts offered in exchange for their homes are grossly undervalued on purpose by the landlords that offer them “big” money to leave.

Sometimes it’s really tricky because you’ll have one person willing to leave for $2,000 and another wants $20,000. And the second this guy finds out that guy is getting 20 he says, “Hell no, I’m not leaving. I want 20, too.”

They don’t know — here he lowers his voice — that even if they get the money and they left, they could always come back. They don’t know that part. And it’s so scary sometimes because they could come up in the middle of construction and say, “It’s my property, I didn’t understand what I was signing, and I want to come back.”

In case all of this isn’t enough to allow you to see gentrification for what it really is, the landlord also shed some light on just how racist things can get when his white tenants realize a black person is residing in the same building.

If there’s a black tenant in the house—in every building we have, I put in white tenants. They want to know if black people are going to be living there. So sometimes we have ten apartments and everything is white, and then all of the sudden one tenant comes in with one black roommate, and they don’t like it. They see black people and get all riled up, they call me: “We’re not paying that much money to have black people live in the building.” They’re the ones that are paying and I have to give them what they want. Or I’m not going to get the tenants and the money is not going to be what it is.

The scary part about doing this is, if the black guys start to realize how much the property will sell for. None of them realize yet—some of them do—the amount of money you can get. The scary part is they’re going to realize they can get the same exact house in East New York for $400,000, $500,000 and they can get paid $1.5 million for their home in Bed-Stuy, they’re going to start dumping houses on the market and the market’s going to be flooded and it’s going to cool down.”

Time to wake up, ladies and gentlemen. And time to stay woke.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

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  • J4L4N

    Ok, I’m lost. So this landlord comes in offers some money to someone they accept it and move out. Is that right? So why is he the bad guy? He didn’t force them or anything they accepted the offer. The only I don’t get about blqck people is that we are so trusting of non blacks despite the fact that they continously take advantage, kill, and pass legislation to hurt us. Why do they accept the money? Even if they didn’t understand the process don’t trust them. I mean really when was the last time someone did something out of the goodness of their heart for black people as a whole? If it looks too good to b true, it probably is.

    • Me

      it’s not just “they took the money”. it’s that there’s a lot of rights that those tenants have that weren’t spelled out for them, but the investor knows them & doesn’t disclose before he takes their money. (any bank is required by law to tell every customer all of their rights upfront, but this guy is not held to the same standards b/c he’s just an investor). basically he’s exploiting people’s ignorance, which is what makes him a bad guy.

      not only that, but he mentions in his statement that he exploits racism by allowing new white tenants to dictate that they refuse to live w/black folks in the building. so he’s actively pushing out black folks specifically so that he can court racist dollars. it’s easy to say just don’t trust them, but people have to be taught why not to trust & how to protect themselves from being taken advantage of.

      if you took race out of the equation, most americans would fall for the same tricks. i saw a documentary recently about how they do the same thing to trailer park owners in cali who live close to the beach. they bought all the previous tenants out & now those same trailers are million dollar properties b/c of location.

      it’s wrong to prey on the weak & ignorant, but this country prays to capitalist gods & worships racist saints. that’s how they keep the money flowing amonst the rich.

    • J4L4N

      Exactly my point. Slaves and the first freedmen were ignorant but knew better than to trust a white man. I’m just wondering why black people continue to trust those who have repeatedly shown themselves to be untrustworthy. I don’t need a degree or to understand finance or real estate to know the vast majority of white people don’t do anything out of the goodness of their hearts to benefit black people. Unless these people are brand new to America they should know it’s all about preying on the weak and ignorant. They may be ignorant of their specific rights but not that American history and current events even if those events are none other than what’s happening in their own neighborhoods and communities. It’s all about money to white people. All I’m saying is they willingly accepted the offer. They may not have been told everything and of course that is wrong but why would they trust a bunch of liars to tell the truth? It’s like expecting a snake not to bite you and picking it up. In the word of Fox Mulder “trust no one”.

    • Me

      i don’t think you can compare a time when white folks were openly brutalizing black folks & black folks knowing not to trust them to a time when white folks do everything as sneaky as possible & expecting black folks to still not trust them. honestly it would make us look racist to just blanket not trust any white folks today w/o evidence or a reason for why we don’t. back then white folks were straight up stealing money and property from black folks. compare that to black folks being offered money, it’s not so cut & dry for some folks to not see money as a good thing or a trick. they can’t just rely on not trusting white folks buying them out when they were likely renting from white folks in the first place. that’s why knowledge is necessary. the folks falling for these tricks don’t know the meaning of “all that glitters ain’t gold”. this is what that old saying applies to.

    • J4L4N

      There are other groups who don’t trust blacks with a blanket. And they look racist and their kids aren’t being shot down, they are getting a good education, and they don’t have the worst stats! So what if you look racist! Your family and community is in tact. So why can’t we? That’s the part I don’t get. And last I checked blacks were still being openly brutalized and blacks are still be discriminated against. Today this is happening so I don’t see your comparison. I’m sorry I just don’t. Same thing then is happening now. The only difference is that they are using the law to do it and we are still expecting people to do the right thing. How long will we be accepting and including while everyone else is exploitative and exclusionary?? I just don’t get it. I think you sell blacks short by assuming they are just this naive, childlike ignorant group that just doesn’t know any better. Like we just can’t tell the difference and need them to tell us everything other wise we won’t know. If that’s the. Are there is no wonder the black population as a whole isn’t doing well. We had a black Wall Street long before this happened.

    • RaiseTheBar

      “Ok, I’m lost.”

      Me Too!

  • TeflonD

    Welp. No law is being broken here, and no one is forcing Black folks not to be educated.

  • Rastaman

    As noirluv45 noted it is not that black folks are not hip to this game, it is that we lack the financial wherewithal to compete. these white and Jewish developers are given financing that many black folks no matter what their business acumen or credit history are often times locked out of accessing. Many of the successful black entrepreneurs in NYC have had to partner up with people of other races in order to access funding or operate incognito. Many of these white real estate developers have spotted financial histories of bankruptcies, foreclosures and loan defaults. Yet they are still able to borrow money from big banks at very reasonable terms. Why do we think that is?
    There are also black folks benefitting immensely from gentrification too and the most important color at the end of the day for most of them is green. Not black or white.

  • Wow! Well now we know.

  • RaiseTheBar

    Color me “CONFUSED”!

    I’m not understanding this.

    WE all need to live somewhere. WE don’t value the communities in which we live? WE place a higher value on the $$$$$ than “HOMEOWNERSHIP???”

    IF we lack whatever UNDERSTANDING we need re: gentrification why not chip in to hire a LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE that can inform US of our RIGHTS???

    Why would anyone expect a CAPITALIST who can get 2x as much monthly rent $$$$$$$ per apartment, not to EXPLOIT that situation???

    DOESN’T this scenario support the NEED not to $pend every penny WE get our hands on — A Need to $AVE “Religiously” for the next B.S. right around some corner to Crap On Our Lives???

    • you are spot on just good common sense, logic and wisdom. sometimes it makes you wonder.

    • RaiseTheBar

      “…common sense, logic…”

      THANK You for your comment!

      I did’t believe it’s as complicated as “Brain Surgery” or “Rocket Science”