Monday, March 27, 2006

Harlem Little League/Pinnacle Group

Carmen Perez wrote to Reysmont :

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Harlem Little League <>
Date: Mar 27, 2006 4:20 PM
Subject: Harlem Little League/Pinnacle Group
To: CPerez

March 27, 2006

Elinor R. Tatum
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
New York Amsterdam News
2340 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
New York, NY 10027
Re: Pinnacle Group

Dear Ms. Tatum:

First, we want to thank you and the New York Amsterdam News for your support of Harlem Little League through sponsorship of "The Renaissance." We welcome you back this season and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

We are writing to correct an erroneous statement in the March 23-March 29, 2006 edition of your paper. In the article entitled "Harlem tenants and Assemblyman Wright rally to end real estate giant's 'predatory practices,'" by Talise D. Moorer, it was reported that "Pinnacle supports community groups and programs like Harlem Little League�." We strongly object to the use of Harlem Little League's good name by Pinnacle Group in this way. The fact of the matter is that the Pinnacle Group contacted us on March 15, 2006 with an offer to donate money. After hearing of the controversy surrounding this group, Harlem Little League declined the donation.

Each year Harlem Little Leaguers say the Little League Pledge in which they promise to "play fair." We have a long history of refusing donations from anyone or any group that we suspect might act, or be perceived to act, in ways that are not reflective of our values. We take no money from tobacco companies or liquor manufacturers, or others who may be perceived to be harmful to our children or community. While we make no statement on the validity of the claims against Pinnacle, we very much resent the use of our name as a means to curry favor in the community in the midst of controversy. We also understand that Pinnacle representatives have misstated their support for Harlem Little League in Community Board meetings.

We would very much like a retraction of the statement in your paper and a public acknowledgement of the facts about Pinnacle and Harlem Little League. We work too hard to have our name sullied in this manner.

Many thanks,
Dwight and Iris Raiford
Founders, Harlem Little League

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Carmen L. Perez
District Liaison
NYS Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright
163 West 125th Street, Suite 911
New York, NY 10027
212-866-5809 Tel.
212-864-1368 Fax
Amsterdam News

Harlem tenants and Assemblyman Wright rally downtown to end real estate giant�s �predatory practices�

Amsterdam News Staff

�Hey hey, ho ho, Pinnacle Group has got to go!� was the blaring chant of angry
protestors recently gathered outside West 34th Street and Penn Plaza in Manhattan,
headquarters of the real estate giant accused of abusive business practices which
frequently result in the displacement of thousands of longtime Harlem residents.

In response to an outcry from constituents, community organizations and leaders in
greater Harlem and Northern Manhattan, Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright (D-Harlem)
held the rally downtown to send a message that unfair tactics and the harassment
and unnecessary evictions of tenants located uptown would not be tolerated.

Among the many tenants groups joining Wright were Mirabal Sisters Cultural &
Community Center, Inc., The Harlem Tenant�s Council, Buyers and Renters United to
Save Harlem (BRUSH), the Coalition to Preserve Community, and representatives of
City Council and the New York State Senate.

�We have been in a long-term battle against gentrification practices and slum lords in
Harlem, and we are well acquainted with Baruch Singer, the notorious slumlord of the
Dunbar Houses and five other buildings who reportedly sold his properties to the
Pinnacle Group,� said Wright. He added, �In the last few years we have seen a
population and development growth never before seen in Harlem. Unfortunately,
some of the growth has been at the expense of our current residents, who at the
hands of a select number of questionable developers are being pushed out of the
neighborhoods they helped form. That is unacceptable and intolerable and must
ceases and desist.�

Activists, including former Council Member Bill Perkins, claim that the Pinnacle
Group is a front and vanguard of devious efforts to allow landlords to hide their
interests while the larger company gobbles up the housing stock for luxury condos,
driving up prices beyond the reach of current tenants.

Activists also agree that this type of practice in Harlem can conceivably be the
dangerous prototype for break out groups elsewhere who will work to displace
tenants, particularly in the remaining boroughs.

Activists claim that over the last decade the Pinnacle Group has purchased many
buildings and hundreds of units within Manhattan, �many of which have already been
converted to luxury housing and others remaining empty, possible evidence of
warehousing for profit.�

Representatives of the Pinnacle Group declined an interview with the AmNews but
released a written statement defending their business dealings, stating, �We
challenge anyone to find one Pinnacle-owned property that is not safer, cleaner and
better off than it was before we took over management or ownership of the building!�
Pinnacle Group is a third generation family business that owns and manages
primarily rent-regulated housing in New York City.

�It is unfortunate that there are a number of baseless and simply erroneous charges
circulating among tenants, public officials and within the community,� writes Robert
Barletta, spokesperson for the Pinnacle Group. �Today�s protest is no different. We
have offered to meet with today�s protest leaders on numerous occasions to discuss
any issues they may have, but it seems they are motivated more by their own selfish
agenda than finding out the truth.�

According to the statement, since its founding in the 1950�s �the Pinnacle Group
strives to provide residents of its buildings with high-quality, safe housing, and is
committed to accomplishing that objective by making capital and other improvements
to its buildings, upgrading building services and demonstrating respect for its

Along with building improvements (including the installation of new doors, interior and
exterior lighting, roof alarms, security surveillance cameras and more) Pinnacle says
they are committed to tenants by being responsive to concerns and are receptive to
tenant suggestions for improvement.

Pinnacle supports community groups and programs like the Harlem Little League and
the Uth Turn organization for �at-risk� youth.

Pinnacle says their employees �comprise a diverse and dedicated group that work
together to provide residents of Pinnacle buildings with the services that all residents

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