MANHATTAN -- A Manhattan super is fighting back after he was allegedly fired for refusing to snoop on tenants living in rent-stabilized apartments.
Jorge Perez has been the super at 510 Amsterdam for almost eight years.
He's worked for Pine Management since 2001. Perez says he was fired in March because he refused to perform snoop tests on tenants.
"Snoop tests as explained by my property manager at the time would be to open up tenants mailboxes, photograph the mail, send the photos to the owners. Enter the tenants apartments, photograph any medicine that might be in the medicine cabinet," said Perez.
The snoop tests only started after Daniel and Jason Rohlman took over for their father, Thomas, about two years ago.
The super says there were never any snoop tests for tenants who were paying market rate for their apartments.
"This is only for tenants who are rent-controlled," said Perez. "They're trying to find basis to get the tenants out of their apartments."
Perez says he was told to turn off breakers to gain access to tenants apartments, and told to ignore repairs or do shoddy work in the rent-stabilized units.
"I refused. That's why I was fired."
Now Perez is suing Pine Management for wrongful termination as they try evict him from his apartment. His attorney says the story is not unique.
"This is common place with a lot of management companies, landlords," said Sumani Lanka with the Legal Aid Society. "They want to be able to find ways to evict rent-regulated tenants so they will be able to raise the rents, which is an outrage."
We reached out to Pine Management for comment, but they did not respond.
The company owns 31 properties in the city and seven others under another name.
Perez says he knows he wasn't the only super asked to perform these tests.
"All the supers that work for Pine Management at one time or another have been given snoop tests to do," said Perez.
And he says he's got the paperwork to prove it.