Assemblyman Wright in response to a massive outcry from community organizations and leaders within Harlem and Northern Manhattan, led a rally and press conference at company headquarters to let The Pinnacle Group know that abusive business practices will not be tolerated. According to activists, the Pinnacle group has exercised unfair tactics and is pressuring many longtime Harlem residents through harassment and unnecessary evictions. Among these activists, many tenants groups were in attendance, including Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center, Inc., Buyers and Renters United to Save Harlem (BRUSH), the Coalition to Preserve Community, the Harlem Tenants Council along with representatives of the New York City Council and New York State Senate. “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 simply unacceptable and intolerable,” said Assemblyman Wright.
According to current and former Pinnacle Group tenants, the issues at hand range from massive scale condo conversions, which effectively price out Harlem residents to face-to-face harassment by Pinnacle employees and management. In the last decade, the Pinnacle Group has purchased many buildings and hundreds of units within Manhattan, many of which have been converted to luxury housing stock and others simply remaining empty, raising concerns of warehousing for profit. Ms. Kim Powell, an executive member of BRUSH, has been monitoring the Pinnacle Group for years and is fed up with their business practices. “These are just properties to Pinnacle but to us they are homes and neighborhoods. Current practices of urban renewal, gentrification, escalated condo conversion pricing schemes, as well as warehousing of housing stock, spell displacement. A ‘non eviction-plan’ does not mean displacement will not and cannot occur, quite the contrary. All we are asking is that Harlem residents get a fair deal and that this development be sustainable and not ruin the community we have worked so hard to preserve,” said Ms. Powell.