Dem Running for Santos Seat Appears To Invest With Notorious NYC Slumlord

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.) | YouTube
February 7, 2024

The New York Democrat vying to fill former Rep. George Santos’s (R.) seat appears to invest with a firm whose cofounder once led a company labeled the worst landlord in New York City.

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.) holds a combined stake of up to $500,000 in two commercial properties with the investment firm HREA NJ NY LLC, according to his latest financial disclosure. The firm shares an address with the similarly named Hildreth Real Estate Advisors, a firm owned by real estate investor David Shorenstein. Shorenstein also cofounded and led Silvershore Properties, which in 2017 racked up a staggering 1,090 housing violations across 19 of its properties in New York City.

Under Shorenstein’s tenure, Letitia James, then New York City’s public advocate, put Silvershore atop its 2017 "Worst Landlord Watch List." Residents of Silvershore Properties reportedly lived in pest-infested apartments overrun with mold, and went weeks without heating or hot water in the dead of winter. One Silvershore resident told DNAinfo in 2017 that she had to spend $100 a month on glue traps to stave off a rat infestation in her apartment.

Suozzi, a former three-term congressman who mounted an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2023, is locked in a dead heat with Republican Mazi Pilip despite Democrats outspending Republicans in the race to replace the scandal-plagued Santos. Suozzi attempted to lower expectations Monday, telling CNN that "the Democratic brand is in trouble here" due to the Biden administration’s failure to contain the border crisis.

The upcoming Feb. 13 special election for New York’s Third Congressional District will have significant ramifications for the remainder of the 118th Congress. A Republican win would expand the conference’s razor-thin majority, giving House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) a slight legislative advantage.

Suozzi's financial disclosure indicates he owns a 3 percent ownership stake in HREA NJ NY LLC. It is unclear whether Shorenstein has any direct involvement with the company, which appears to be an affiliate of his Hildreth Real Estate Advisers. Hildreth also uses the HREA acronym on its website to refer to itself. Neither Suozzi nor a spokesman for Hildreth responded to a Washington Free Beacon inquiry into the relation between the two entities.

Silvershore Properties said in November 2017 that it had done a "tremendous amount of work" on its properties and expected its violations to reduce significantly during subsequent inspections. But months later, in July 2018, the firm sold most of its holdings and shut down its Manhattan headquarters.

Residents accused Silvershore of letting their homes languish in disrepair in an attempt to push them out and replace them with higher-paying residents, Gothamist reported in 2019.

Shorenstein launched Hildreth after calling it quits on Silvershore. Suozzi acquired his stake in HREA NJ NY LLC shortly after leaving Congress in January 2023. Suozzi’s holdings in Hildreth make up a small portion of his total investment portfolio, which is worth up to $6.3 million, according to his financial disclosure.

Suozzi is the latest Democrat revealed to have a financial stake in a slumlord. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) came under fire during his 2022 reelection campaign following reports that his Ebenezer Baptist Church owned a low-income apartment building that moved to evict disadvantaged residents for trifling levels of unpaid rent.

Residents of the church-owned building, which tried to evict one resident during the pandemic for just $28 in late rent, said their home was plagued by pests, maintenance problems, and filth, the Free Beacon reported.