The New York Times Opinion | Dec. 7, 2019 | Read Article
Readers discuss how giant online stores like Amazon and rising rents have forced small entrepreneurs out of business.
To the Editor:
Tim Wu tells yet another sad story about the demise of New York City's mom-and-pop stores, even though local stores can be cheaper and more efficient than ordering from Amazon. Rent gouging during lease renewal is a major reason so many small businesses are in crisis and closing in record numbers, resulting in the annual loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Small entrepreneurs are at the mercy of money-grubbing landlords and property speculators.
A fundamental change in American capitalism is not why thousands of New York City small businesses are shutting down. They are disappearing because the Real Estate Board of New York, for 33 years, has stymied passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which would provide small businesses rights to negotiate fair lease terms and an arbitration process to end rent gouging. Such legislation will lead to billions of dollars staying in the pockets of small businesses, their employees and the local economy.
The writer is co-founder and director of Corporate Campaign, which works on behalf of labor unions and the public interest.
By Steve Wishnia | October 27, 2019 | LaborPress | Read Article
"The bill, sponsored by Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) and 27 other Councilmembers, would require landlords to tell commercial tenants 180 days before their lease expires whether they intend to renew it, and if not, to give a legally valid reason why. Tenants would have the right to get a 10-year lease, and could demand arbitration if they believe a rent increase is too much...
"The loss of small businesses to massive rent increases is 'a crisis, not only for the owners, but for the entire community,' Luis Tejada, head of the Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center, an upper-Manhattan housing-activist group...
"The measures passed by the Council in August include requiring the Department of Small Business Services to publish an online guide to regulations affecting small businesses, give owners instruction in marketing, and conduct surveys of storefront businesses in various neighborhoods every three years, including vacancies...
"None of those 'will save a single small business owner or a single job,' Ray Rogers, head of the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies, said at the rally.
"'Why is REBNY and the big landlords it represents so terrified of this bill, and why has REBNY prevented a vote on it ever since 1986 when Ruth Messinger first introduced it?' Rogers asked. 'I'll tell you why. Making this legislation the law in New York City will mean the transfer of billions of dollars, and the power that goes with it, from super-wealthy property speculators, developers, and landlords to small businesses, their employees, and the local economy. REBNY's billionaire bullies and racketeers are afraid of that possibility. The rest of us should welcome it.'"
By Shane O'Brien | Sept. 17, 2019 | Sunnyside Post | Read Article
"Members of Stop Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) Bullies, Queens Neighborhood United, Queens anti-gentrification Project and Centro Corona all took part in the protest...Tom Angotti and James DeFilippis, both professors in urban planning, lectured the crowd on the potential adverse effects of the Sunnyside Yard project.
"'When the EDC tell us that Sunnyside Yard is planned for 100 years, I have to laugh because nothing in New York City is planned beyond two years. It's a lie,' Angotti said...
"Ray Rogers, founder of the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies said that the EDC 'is a cesspool of corruption.
"'They follow the policies that adhere to the Real Estate Board of New York,' Rogers said. 'It causes so much displacement and shutting down of small businesses throughout the city.'
"Rogers said that the EDC had been offering the community lip service about the Sunnyside Yard master plan and that Monday's protest was about putting pressure on them to answer questions and make real change..."
Protest REBNY's High-Powered Political Lobby Fueling:
— Massive Displacement and Homelessness
— Discriminatory Rezonings and Soaring Rents
— Hostility Against Small Businesses
— Construction Industry Union-Busting
— Transfer to Wealthy Business Interests Billions of Dollars of Our Public Assets
DATE: Thursday, January 17, 2019
TIME: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
PLACE: In front of New York Hilton Midtown, Sixth Ave. between 53rd & 54th Sts
EVENT: REBNY's Annual $12,000 a table banquet fundraiser
By Joe Maniscalco | January 18, 2019 | LaborPress| Read Article
"[REBNY] needs a heart transplant," said Rev. Charles Curtis, head of the NY Interfaith Commission for Housing Equality. "Those who've worked here so long, and given so much, and have sacrificed so much, have a right not to be pushed out, priced out and forgotten."
By Lincoln Anderson | October 25, 2018 | The Villager | Read Article
Ray Rogers comments to article posted by The Villager:
"Mayor De Blasio unfortunately is drinking the kool-aid by supporting the position of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) in opposing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) which they falsely claim is a commercial rent control bill. REBNY President John Banks and other REBNY minions continue to parrot that message to confuse legislators and the public about the real focus and intent of the proposed legislation. Walking down NYC streets show conclusively that NYC is in the worst small business crisis ever. Some 1000 small businesses close each month including about 500 lease holdover evictions with a loss of an estimated 8,000 local jobs that constitute the backbone of our local economy.
"The SBJSA is not a rent control bill. It is a jobs, neighborhood and immigrant survival bill since many small businesses are owned by immigrants and provide a safety net and character to our neighborhoods. The SBJSA passed intact would provide commercial tenants rights during lease renewal so they can't be price gouged out of existence by property speculators and unscrupulous landlords. The bill provides rights to renew leases for up to ten years, mediation and binding arbitration if landlord and tenant can't agree on a fair rent, and an end to inflating rents through made-up costs landlords can't justify.The legislation would also end the practice of extorting tens of thousands of dollars from small business owners, especially immigrants, just to secure a lease."
By Ray Rogers | Oct 22, 2018 | NY Daily News | Read Op-Ed
The Real Estate Board of New York...has ramped up its propaganda to thwart passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act...To undermine the bill, and to confuse legislators and the public, REBNY President John Banks is describing the measure as a rent-control bill...
If you consider the larger picture of what is at stake for our city's economy, and the health and vitality of society at large, you will understand why REBNY and many of the landlords it represents are so terrified of this bill...
Making this legislation the law of New York City will mean the transfer of billions of dollars in money, and the power that goes with it, from super-wealthy property speculators, developers and landlords to small businesses, their employees and the local economy. Entrenched power is afraid of that possibility. The rest of us should welcome it.
By Ray Rogers | April 19, 2018 | New York Daily News | Read Letter to the Editor
"One city under REBNY
"Manhattan: Re "Change the math that's keeping too many NYC storefronts vacant" (Op-Ed, April 16). The rezoning policies of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) are behind "manufactured gentrification," or the unnatural process called "hypergentrification on steroids," which has led to the monthly disappearance of thousands of small businesses and local jobs and the bulldozing of communities, viable schools, libraries, hospitals, playgrounds, churches, parks, community gardens and historic buildings. These policies are spurring massive displacement of tenants and are the major factor behind the lack of real affordable housing, the increasing homelessness crisis and record numbers of small-business closures throughout the five boroughs. REBNY, which has been appropriately dubbed the Real Estate Bullies of New York, is able to run roughshod over New Yorkers because the mayor, City Council speaker(s), Economic Development Corp. and city Department of Planning are all shilling for the superwealthy developers, property speculators and landlords at the expense of the 99%. Ray Rogers"
March 25, 2018: At 9:15 into the interview, Frank Morano cuts into Ralph Nader saying, "enlightened" people who have "a lot of money and want to do something for humanity, they should send it to Ray Rogers, a famous Corporate Campaigner on behalf of workers and consumers..."
March 25, 2018: Candidate for NYS Senate Jasmine Robinson (D), who is running against an IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) incumbent senator bankrolled by REBNY, talks about standing up for labor and the 99%. She is one of five Democratic candidates, who have publicly rebuked REBNY and are running against IDC State Senate incumbents bankrolled by REBNY. See photos of the four anti-IDC candidates at: http://stoprebnybullies.org/state_candidates.php
March 4, 2018 Interview by hosts Bill Hohlfeld and Joe Maniscalco on Labor Press' Blue Collar Buzz AM 970 which airs every Sunday from 9-10 pm.
Robert Rotolo, SMART Local 28 business rep and Ray Rogers discuss the attack on union jobs at Hudson Yards by REBNY executive board member/billionaire developer Stephen Ross of Related Companies
By Joe Maniscalco | January 19, 2018 | LaborPress | Read Article
"He should be out here fighting for workers and the homeless, and the small businesses — that's what Schumer should be doing," Rogers told LaborPress. "Instead, he's in there hobnobbing with REBNY — the ones responsible for exacerbating and creating the homeless crisis in this city. He's sitting in there with the people that are busting the unions. REBNY is not just busting the construction unions — they're against all unions. They want a union-free environment."
Chuck Schumer Jeered Outside REBNY Gala
Labor unions, tenants and small business representatives protested outside REBNY's annual $1200 a ticket fundraising event honoring Sen. Chuck Schumer at the New York Hilton Midtown Manhattan
Watch on YouTube
Fight for Tenants! Fight for Construction Workers! Fight for Small Businesses!
Fight for the Homeless! Fight to Save Neighborhoods & Historic Buildings!
Fight for justice! Stop REBNY!
By Rey Mashayekhi | Commercial Observer | January 17, 2018 | Read Article
"My objective is to greatly diminish the political power of REBNY and to make REBNY something that you would not recognize today," Rogers told Commercial Observer. "What REBNY should be in the business of is working with the vast majority of their membership, which is real estate agents and brokers, to help them buy and rent and sell properties. They should not have their dirty hands and their dirty money in politics, trying to undermine labor protections for construction workers and undermine every kind of rent control and rent stabilization."
Upon launching last May, the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies produced and released a five-minute animated film entitled "Bullies," which screened at the annual Workers Unite Film Festival. The animated short blames REBNY-backed policies for exacerbating high commercial rents that price out small businesses and for fostering unsafe working conditions on construction sites (in addition to drawing a curious, if unclear, connection between REBNY and real estate industry investment in the tobacco industry).
By Joe Maniscalco | LaborPress | January 14, 2018
On the newest episode of LaborPress' Blue Collar Buzz, Corporate Campaign, Inc. founder Ray Rogers talks about the protest planned for Thursday night's REBNY awards gala.
December 29, 2017
Office of Senator Chuck Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Schumer,
As a concerned citizen and registered democrat, I began writing to you to voice my displeasure after learning that you agreed to accept an award at the 122nd Annual Banquet of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). This annual gala event serves both as a major fundraiser and public relations tool to legitimize both REBNY and its leadership as being socially conscientious and benefiting New Yorkers.
Then I received a series of emails from you saying, "Ray Rogers, I need you to send $5 to Jon Tester. Here's why: Jon Tester's Montana Election could decide whether Democrats win back the Senate...But Citizen's United just endorsed Jon's opponent...If 1,000 Democrats don't chip in right now, we could lose this seat. Ray Rogers, I'm personally counting on you. Will you please rush an online donation to help take back the Senate?"
Senator Schumer, I am sure you are familiar with the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) in New York State which is primarily bankrolled by REBNY. I'm sure you must realize from numerous news stories how upset, angry and frustrated fellow Democrats are over how the IDC, consisting of 8 Democratic senators, vote with the Republicans enabling them to maintain control of the New York State Senate particularly as it relates to the interests of the heavyweights in the real estate industry. This means eroding and nullifying rent stabilization laws, weakening laws aimed at protecting and benefiting workers and small businesses and keeping billions of dollars of corporate welfare in the form unnecessary tax abatements and subsidies flowing to wealthy developers, landlords and property speculators.
The fact is the policies and practices of REBNY, and what I refer to as the bullies and racketeers who head it, are running roughshod over the 99% and doing great harm to tenants, construction workers, small businesses and their employees throughout your state and particularly New York City.
On our website, www.stopREBNYbullies.org, thirty-six New York City political candidates who ran in 2017 are shown repudiating REBNY by posing for photos holding a flyer entitled, "Beware of REBNY: Real Estate BULLIES Plaguing New York." In the coming months, we expect many more city and state candidates and incumbents who have the courage and integrity to stand up to REBNY to be added to the list.
Linked below is a flyer promoting a peaceful demonstration that will take place during the January 18th REBNY event.
Perhaps you should seriously consider removing yourself from this or any other event that legitimizes and helps fund REBNY.
By Shirley Irons | Street Hype | November 1-18, 2017 | Read Article
"Prominent labor and human rights advocate, Ray Rogers, has launched a counterattack against the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) asserting that REBNY more appropriately stands for Real Estate Bullies of New York.
"Rogers claims, 'REBNY's top policymakers are a cartel of billionaire bullies and racketeers.' Their abuse of political power is at the core of NYC's lack of affordable housing and homeless crisis leaving 62,000 living in shelters and thousands more in the streets. Rogers says these conditions are exacerbated by REBNY orchestrated rezoning plans leading to 'hyper-gentrification on steroids.'
"Millions of residents face displacement and thousands of small businesses are shutting down, Rogers explains, 'as profit-driven landlords and property speculators are charging exorbitant rents and finding more ways to evict renters from their apartments, shops and offices.'
"Rogers says 'REBNY corrupts our political system by feeding compliant politicians with fat campaign contributions to see things their way.' Two glaring examples are ..."
By Joe Maniscalco | LaborPress | October 23, 2017 | Read Article
"If you've ever wondered why rents are so high in New York City, the latest episode of Blue Collar Buzz is for you. On it, we have an extensive conversation with Ray Rogers, director of the watchdog group, Corporate Campaign, about the power the Real Estate Board of New York [REBNY] wields in this town — and why that's not a good thing." (Read More)
Ray Rogers, interviewed by Joe Maniscalco Labor Press Radio's Blue Collar Buzz October 22, 2017, talks about the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies and two NYC labor leaders at the forefront of the struggle.
Ray Rogers discusses with radio host Arthur Schwartz REBNY's dirty money in politics and its assault on rent stabilization, small businesses and construction unions.
Ray Rogers and Bennett Kremen discusses the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies on The Diana Montford Show (10-6-2017).
Ray Rogers discusses the Campaign to Stop REBNY Bullies on WBAI (9-12-2017).
Frank Craven spotlights REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York), described as a cartel run by racketeers and bullies and one of the worst plagues to hit NYC, with guests Ray Rogers & Ben Kremen on his Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV show "Authority vs Majority: What's Ailing/Healing America." Published on Aug 25, 2017.
East Harlem resident Ray Rogers speaks out against REBNY and REBNY/NYC's rezoning policies at Community Board 11 Task Force meeting. on 6/16/17.
Ray Rogers condemns NYC's rezoning policies as REBNY policies that benefit fat cat developers like Rob and Jerry Speyer (Tishman Speyer), Jed Walentas (Two Trees Management), Gary Barnett (Extell Development Company) and Daniel Brodsky (The Brodsky Organization). Rogers says REBNY is run by "bullies and racketeers" while speaking at Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's rezoning hearing in East Harlem (7-13-17).
Ray Rogers on LaborPress "Blue Collar Buzz" AM970 Discussing NYC Construction Trades and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) May 21, 2017.
By Joe Maniscalco | LaborPress | May 19, 2017 | Read Article
"In an episode of LaborPress' 'Blue Collar Buzz' airing Sunday night at 9 p.m. on AM970, Corporate Campaign, Inc. leader Ray Rogers says REBNY's longstanding power to corrupt elected officials, drive up rents and erode construction safety standards citywide, can be greatly 'diminished' through coordinated efforts.
"'In fact, I believe we can make REBNY an institution you would not recognize from what it is today,' Rogers says. 'But I need the support of every labor union out there. Not just the Building Trades, but others, too.'
"To help drive the point home about the need to reform the Real Estate Board of New York, Rogers has helped produce a five-minute animation called 'REBNY Bullies' which uses caustic humor to castigate the high-powered organization and its activities.
"The next public showing of 'REBNY Bullies' is Tuesday, May 23, at 6 p.m., as part of the Workers Unite Film Festival, Penn South, 343, 8th Avenue." (Read More)
Eddie Small | The Real Deal | May 09, 2017 | Read Article
Prominent labor organizer Ray Rogers says the Real Estate Board of New York is responsible for some of New York City's biggest problems, and he's releasing a short animated film that takes aim at the lobbying group...
Rogers will debut the anti-REBNY film "Bullies" on Tuesday evening at Cinema Village Movie Theater during the pro-union Workers Unite Film Festival, according to Crain's.
REBNY — which represents landlords, developers and real estate brokers — has contributed to a host of crises in New York, including a shortage of affordable housing, small businesses shutting down or getting displaced, increasing injuries to construction workers, and corruption in politics, Rogers claims.
He said he was motivated to make the film, which runs five minutes, after witnessing what he described as unsafe construction practices by nonunion labor at a site in Dumbo... (Read More)
By Daniel Geiger | Crain's New York | May 9, 2017 | Read Article
Ray Rogers, who has directed campaigns against giant companies such as Coca-Cola, is debuting a five minute animated film that he says will highlight the harm the Real Estate Board of New York has caused in the city. The film, called Bullies will be played on Tuesday evening at Cinema Village Movie Theater, as part of the Workers Unite Film Festival, a collection of pro-union productions.
A promotional image for the short shows an illustrated picture of the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan and a giant "REBNY" emblazoned foot stepping down on it.
In an online leaflet entitled "Beware of REBNY Real Estate Bullies Plaguing New York", Rogers blames real estate magnates for many of the city's housing challenges. "The film shows how REBNY is a major reason why we have a homeless crisis, why we have small businesses shutting down, serious injuries on construction jobs and corruption in politics," Rogers said. (Read More)
Ray Rogers on LaborPress "Blue Collar Buzz" AM970 Discussing NYC Construction Trades and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) November 20, 2016.