We May Have Just Found the Worst Slumlord in Brooklyn

Slumlord Malina Nealis

The first time I saw Malina Nealis, it was in a the video below, where she is recorded beating the cameraman with a file folder, yelling in a thick Eastern European accent ‘Don’t take the pictures of me!'”

This in itself is almost comically insane, but it gets worse.

Andrew, who lives in one of Nealis’ buidlings, 95 Clay Street, shot the video.

“Our lawyer suggested that we get video evidence,” Andrew explained (he asked that we omit his last name for the sake of anonymity), ” So I saw her on the street and said ‘don’t prevent HPD from coming in the building’ and she just kind went ballistic on me.”

Daniel Pippenger, Andrew’s neighbor at 95 Clay, gave me the backstory.

It turns out that Nealis was illegally rigging the building’s pipes to funnel gas into an un-permitted building that she built (also illegally) in the backyard of 95 Clay in 2005. Despite stop work orders from the city, she continued to build.

“She just does whatever she wants to do,” said Daniel, who has lived at the building on Clay Street since 2012. “She doesn’t care what the city says.”

A little research indicates that the building is actually owned by Kevin Nialis (possible spouse or son?), however the tenants make checks out to Malina.

When the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) sent out inspectors to investigate, Nealis would change the locks to the boiler room each day, frantically trying to keep city officials out of the basement. This happened at least 6 times before Andrew confronted her.

She was also illegally renting out the basement as an apartment, Daniel said. That tenant was forced to leave, which is a definite blessing for them in the long run, considering what happened next.

Finally in December, Emergency Services broke down the door to the basement and the City Marshall and National Grid removed the entire gas meter, leaving residents without any heat or hot water for 40 long winter days. The city also removed the connection to the cooking gas line, so they didn’t even have access to their stoves.

“I took my showers at the YMCA,” Andrew said. “That’s what all of the tenants did.”

Meanwhile, the roof of the illegal back building started leaking and the tenants there lost their electricity and gas. The top two floors moved out and only recently received their security deposits, according to Daniel. There is still a family living on the ground floor of that building.

“She’s in Housing Court almost every other day because all of her buildings are so dilapidated,” Daniel told me, adding that he and his neighbors also deal with leaky plumbing, crumbling walls, and other less than ideal conditions on a daily basis.

Nealis also owns 156 India Street, a building that literally collapsed several years ago. One girl even wrote a Thought Catalog piece about it, describing how she came home one night to find that her building was completely roped off by police, who explained that the back wall of the structure had begun to crumble, causing the 3rd floor to jut out dangerously and one of fire fire escapes to fall off. The Red Cross had to evacuate the tenants to a shelter for the night.

Nealis made the NY Public Advocates watchlist of NYC’s Worst Landlords (courtesy of Bill de Blasio) with 98 total infractions, but that list was last updated in October of 2013 (she has been on it since 2011).  And given the recent dealings with 95 Clay, there are many more violations in the works.

She is also the landlord of 202 Kent, which has reported multiple infractions, including building violations and again, lack of heat and hot water.

When I asked the two tenants why they would stay in the building, their answers pointed to the larger catastrophe of finding decent  housing in New York City.

“It’s really hard to get an apartment in New York and I really wanted to live in Greenpoint,” Andrew said (he moved into 95 Clay in August of 2013). “I saw the apartment on Craigslist and the price wasn’t great, but it was on the same level as the other things out there. As soon as I moved in, ConEd refused to give me an account because the landlord was in so much debt from not paying the electricity bills for the common areas in the building.  That was kind of a red flag.”

Daniel explained that he was staying in the building to fight against his slummy landlord on principle. A few tenants didn’t want to go to Housing Court for fear of being blacklisted. But Daniel and 5 other tenants began a rent strike in January and are actively fighting against Nealis in Court, with the help of Council member Levin’s office, St. Nick’s Alliance, and Brooklyn Legal Services.

“We’re hoping that the city will take over the building,” Andrew said.

Watch Nealis’ certifiably insane behavior below.  And spread the word so that no one you know rents from her. At least some lucky people could be spared the experience of living in these torturous housing conditions.

12 Comments

  1. Michael Morgan says:

    Malina Nealis is a horrible, horrible person. She also is the slumlord of 135 Franklin St in Greenpoint.

    My girlfriend and I lived there for 3 months before having to move because of rats. The heating rarely worked and the front door was always left unlocked (because it was broken). I came home one night to find we had homeless people sleeping in our building. The place was a wreck and she deserves to be punished for creating such shitty living conditions.

    Let this post be a warning to anyone who is getting looking for apartments in the area.

    Reply
  2. Adrian says:

    This bitch is bonkers

    Reply
  3. no-permits says:

    what makes you think the building in the back is illegal? it’s always been there. the city has it on record.

    Reply
  4. Nonald Trump says:

    She also owns (or used to, in the late 90s) 80 Eagle St. I believe some member of the clan also owns (or used to, in the late 90s) Vera Cruz restaurant on Bedford.

    Reply
  5. Martin Needelman says:

    Not to mention 376 South 3rd St, where the tenants have been seeking the appointment of a Court appointed administrator for the last couple of years, but to no avail, as the Housing Court judges just ignore the mandates of the Article 7A statute that mandates fast trials and the appointment of such administrators with this kind of landlord. But their and the others’ fight goes on and with this added public attention maybe the Housing Court Judges and other government agencies will start doing their job and dealing with this and other such horrendous slumlords!!

    Reply
    • Malina Nealis says:

      Mr Needleman,
      At least as an attorney you should stop lying. You horrendous attorney! Four years ago (2010) after trial and testimony by HPD engineers, witnesses, tenants, owners, Judge Laurie Lau dismissed the case against my property and you started a new case against the same property. Two years later after yet another trial and testimonies by tenants and experts, Judge Kevin McClanahan dismissed the case. You started then yet another case and Judge Kimberly Moser dismissed the case.
      Legal services of NY with headquarters on 40 Word St. stopped giving you donations to your organization. They informed that they have nothing to do with You Mr. Needleman! You are asking for support from private people, organizations and public institutions.
      You represent wealthy, professional individuals who do not qualify for legal aid in NYC. None of them are on welfare. One day in court, you introduced me to your mother’s friend, Mr. Knoll. You screamed at me “Sell him building! Sell him building!”. When I told you that you are getting money from the people to help others, your answer was: “People who are giving money are rich and STUPID. Just STUPID!”. After the first trial when I told you that my family survived the holocaust and I will survive you. You answered me that you are WORSE THAN THE HOLOCAUST!. You manage 344 S. 3rd St and your front door is constantly broken. Maybe an inspector should come to the property which you manage.

      Reply
  6. Kevin Henry says:

    What a terrible story. Andrew and Daniel, thank you for having the courage to stay and fight. You’re doing the entire neighborhood a service, and we thank you.

    Reply
  7. Chase Farnum says:

    I’ve lived here for 7 years. I’ve had no troubles living here at all. I have a great relationship with malina. I will always back her up, good woman, don’t pay attention to the wishful thinking pusssehs. Sorry you guys had a bad time but glad you left.

    -chase farnum

    Reply
  8. Kevin says:

    Yes she owns Vera Cruz. Hit her in the pocketbook and protest at Vera Cruz on Cinco de Mayo. Power to Greenpointers!!

    Reply
  9. Green says:

    There must be someone breaking the locks and the doors to basement if the landlord is replacing them. Nobody else but Daniel Pippenger who was caught by the super breaking the locks with a sledge hammer to the basement door in middle of day. He was asked to stop, but he continued until he smashed all the locks, leaving the property unsafe and vulnerable. Nobody else but Daniel Pippenger and Andrew Mudge were caught in basement by the building manager. All locks at that time were already broken and Daniel picked up his professional tool box and they were asked to leave basement. Once again recently the heavy duty locks were totally damaged. The tenant of the building informed landlord it was an inside job.

    Reply
  10. Tammy Wells says:

    More websites like airbnb and showing up for example there is this site called “lesfrenchy” which is for people from Europe looking for a place in NY. Tons of illegal places in manhanttan brooklyn & queens are listed everyday! Many students are risking there lives at many of these places paying outrageous prices for staying and being defrauded by tenants. Here is an example a woman called “Madame V” in Chinatown her real name is “Virginie Sommet” undetected for 15 years created illegal shady SRO Slum Lord Hotels, she had two huge lofts full of beds in Chinatown. These shady lofts according to many sources had rats, bedbugs and loaded with fire hazards. These bedroom partitions housed up to as many 20 people per loft with only one shower and bathroom, the rooms were a disgrace for anyone to live under. Her Gallery was a front for that hotels, she made off with thousands of dollars ripped off from unsuspecting tourist & students who lived in horrible conditions. Rent ranged from $1,700 to $1,100, per month, plus incidentals and cleaning charges. How could the city not know about this for 15 years? She was shut down but she has an untold number of illegal rentals in Brooklyn & Manhattan The Chinatown Lofts were so dilapidated! Crumbling walls
    torturous housing conditions complete Fraud!

    How come the city has problems catching people like this? This city is loosing money then go and catch people like this who are not working honesty and hemorrhaging the city ?
    http://gothamist.com/2014/01/13/secret_chinatown_http://www.boweryboogie.com/2014/01/clandestine-c

    Reply

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