Head of Bike New York In News–for Real Estate Squabble

August 21, 2013–New York, NY–In the News

The president of Bike New York has surfaced in the news for something other than cycling–a legal squabble with a tenant in his building at 250 Elizabeth Street.

Ken Podziba sued his tenant Amy Parness first for making illegal alterations in her apartment. Later he tried to evict her because she has been subletting the apartment via Airbnb–allegedly making an estimated $500,000 in the process.

Podziba lost the eviction suit on a technicality, because there were two actions against Ms. Parness in housing court, Podziba told The Real Deal Magazine.

As president of Bike New York, Podziba has been credited with increasing attendance at the TD Five Boro Bike Tour, an annual event, growing the organization’s role in bike education city-wide, and increasing the organization’s income by adding new events and partners, such as the Bike New York expo which features bicycling-related businesses.

Podziba, who filed suit against Parness in December 2011 in New York Civil Court for making unauthorized alterations to the rental property at 250 Elizabeth Street, said Parness has complied with a court order to pay four months’ rent in damages.

He then discovered that Parness was allegedly subletting the apartment through Airbnb and other short-term rental sites after suing her over the alterations, and hired a private investigator to catch her in the act, according to the Real Deal.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t make an issue of the illegal sublet matter because the case we commenced was for illegal alterations,” Podziba told TRD via email. “We’re not allowed to have two actions in housing court at the same time.”

Last Podziba successfully won a lawsuit against the City of New York who sought to charge Bike New York almost $1 million in fees for police presence for the Five Boro Bike Tour. Because Bike New York is a non-profit venture, the organization prevailed: the police department has a policy of not charging non-profits for police presence, and can’t change their minds when it comes to Bike New York, decided Judge Margaret Chan.

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