Brighton real estate agent claims racial comment prompted him to flip off protesters

Residents affected by rent spikes and evictions gathered outside the City Realty Group in Brighton yesterday in protest against the Reality Groups actions. A person inside City Reality office reacts to the protesters by giving them the middle finger and laughing as another man tapes the event.  PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
A real estate agent at the City Realty Group in Brighton said he flipped the middle finger to protesters because he heard someone call him an “Uncle Tom.”
PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

A Brighton real estate broker who was photographed flipping off a group of roughly 70 protesters said today that the photograph was “taken out of context,” and claimed that the gesture was a reaction to a racial comment.

Jerome Bibuld, an agent at City Realty Group, was photographed Wednesday flipping his middle finger to protesters as he stood next to Fred Starikov, a Managing Partner at City Real Estate Development Corp.

Bibuld said one of the protesters called him an “Uncle Tom.”

“(The finger) was my reaction,” he said.

In an email to Metro, Starikov defended his colleague, saying, “I am not saying that he was right to do what he did, but in fairness to him and to your reporting, it should be brought to light that it was in response to racist comments being made by the angry protesters,” he said.

Starikov also defended his organization, saying: “We purchase distressed properties that are in need of major renovations and we invest in to low income neighborhoods and provide affordable housing. In case you are unaware, there is a shortage of affordable housing in Boston. We bring houses back up to code and make them very nice with the help of investors and community banks. I believe we provide a much needed service and I believe we are doing positive things despite what a few organization may believe.”

He went on to call leaders of the tenant rights group City Life – one of the protest organizers – “bullies.”

The tenants gathered with signs outside the company’s Chestnut Hill Avenue office Wednesday afternoon to speak out against what they consider to be predatory rent spikes and unfair, no-fault evictions.

Protest organizers said the Brighton-based company is using the foreclosure crisis to buy up homes at rock-bottom prices, then going back on its word to tenants and instituting predatory rent hikes that are well beyond original lease agreements.

Eliza Parad, who heads Chelsea Collaborative’s City-Wide Tenants Association, another protest organizer, said demonstrators were “only protesting and chanting.”

“Ray Fernandes, whose back in is in the picture, said ‘We are angry about what is happening but did not go there to fight. We have to be patient and just keep asking for what we want,” she said. “I personally, was not nearby when the photo was taken. I am not sure what was said or what transpired but I hope that nothing insulting was said by a protestor.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.