Assemblyman Keith Wright grew up in Harlem's Riverton development, a 12-building complex built by Met Life Insurance as part of Robert Moses's slum clearance program—after black leaders objected to Met Life's whites-only Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village projects. Fast forward to the 2010s and and all three developments are owned by a firm called CW Capital, and just 770 of Riverton's 1,200 apartments are still rent-stabilized. Tenants of those regulated apartments, including Wright, were getting price-gouged for renovations, they claimed in a lawsuit. The suit settled quietly in February for $2 million, as the Daily News reported this week.

Rent-stabilized landlords can raise rents by a fraction of the cost of renovations that are classified as major capital improvements. The problem came when CW Capital and its property manager CompassRock tacked on surcharges two and three times for the same remodeling job, raking in an additional $50,000-$75,000 per month for the complex, according to the tenants. The two companies denied wrongdoing, but are providing the $2 million through rent credits, and reducing rents going forward, the News reported. But the settlement came too late for some.

“I know at least five senior citizens who couldn’t take overcharges and were forced to move out,” Wright told columnist Juan Gonzalez.

Wright is chairman of the Assembly's housing committee and chairman of the New York County Democratic Party. Rent-stabilized apartments account for 45 percent of the city's rental housing stock (PDF), and the fact that even Wright and his tenants association had to hire a high-powered real estate attorney to avoid allegedly being bilked raises the obvious question of what else everyday tenants are being subjected to that goes unchallenged.

"If my landlord was doing this to me, imagine what regular folks go through," Wright said.

We have reached out to CW Capital for comment and will update if we hear back.