Man at Brighton realty company flips the middle finger to tenants protesting high rent

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
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 Metro Boston photographer snapped a shot of a man at Brighton-based City Realty Group flipping off a group of Massachusetts tenants as they braved the rain today to protest the company for what they consider to be predatory rent spikes and unfair, no-fault evictions.

Chelsea City-Wide Tenants Association organized the protest outside the company’s Chestnut Hill Avenue office. The event comes one day before a local couple’s eviction hearing in Chelsea District Court.

Attempts to contact City Realty Group for comment have been unsuccessful.

Advocates argue that 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.

“Investors like City Realty are preying on the foreclosure crisis, causing even more harm to communities that have already been hard-hit by the economic downturn,” said Eliza Parad, who heads Chelsea Collaborative’s City-Wide Tenants Association. “In places like Chelsea, these predatory rent spikes and no-fault evictions are putting a huge strain on shelters, schools and other social services. City Realty must stop the unfair evictions immediately and bring rents back in line with fair value.”

Of the photograph, which Metro has censored, Parad said she was “not surprised” to hear of the offensive gesture.

“They’ve treated people in insulting ways in the past,” she said, adding that attempts to speak to Fred Starikov, a real estate agent with City Realty Group, were unsuccessful.

“I tried to talk to him, I approached him and asked to set up a meeting, but he told us not to come any closer. He wouldn’t talk to us,” she said.

Starikov is pictured holding a cell phone in the office’s doorway.

Chelsea resident Rafael Abarca said he is now paying $1,000 rent, but the company wants to raise the price by 25 percent.

“Hopefully (the protest) helps. We’re trying very hard,” Abarca said. “The rents are just way too high.”

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


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

PHOTOS: Who is Alix Tichelman?

Who is Alix Tichelman, the high end call girl who allegedly murdered a Google executive?

National

Washington state approves first producer of pot edibles

  A Seattle-based company that makes marijuana-infused drinks and candies has become the first business in Washington approved to make edible pot products for the…

National

Florida cat owners call 911 after Russian blue…

By Barbara ListonORLANDO Florida (Reuters) - Kush the cat was quarantined in central Florida after her owner called 911 over the weekend for help, saying…

Local

Times Square costumed characters under scrutiny

Costumed characters in Times Square are under scrutiny after a string of incidents involving Elmo, Woody, Mario and Spider-Man.

Going Out

What to do this week in NYC: July…

Le Fooding Beach Club Presents: San Pellegrino Fruitstock at the Rockaways Friday-Sunday, Noon; $40 Beach 97 97-01 Shorefront Pkwy., Rockaway Beach Picnic on the beach…

Going Out

Where to eat on Bastille Day in NYC

We had ours on the Fourth of July, now it’s time for France’s equivalent on July 14. Go out and show your solidarity with the…

Books

What to eat while you read

A smudge of chocolate on a page never hurt anyone.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, July 9: 'The Bridge,'…

See Diane Kruger solve some mysteries in the second season premiere of "The Bridge."

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

World Cup

World Cup semifinals preview: Holland vs. Argentina

The second semifinal pits another South American soccer power against a European one.

MLB

MLB power rankings: Athletics cement spot on top,…

The Athletics cement spot on top of our MLB power rankings with a huge trade, while L.A. teams follow.

Travel

Amsterdam is known for sex and drugs, but…

Amsterdam is arguably best known for its red light district and cannabis coffee shops, but the city on the banks of the Amstel River is…

Wellbeing

What eye symptoms need emergency attention?

Many people experience temporary eye-related problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) from a cold virus or a scratched cornea resulting from an object coming into…

Wellbeing

Sugar isn't making anyone's life more sweet

Not so sweet. Anne Alexander, author of “The Sugar Smart Diet,” tells us where sugar is hiding and how it’s making us sick. Bet that…

Wellbeing

This will take more years off your life…

  Obesity can cut life short by causing strokes and other illnesses, but a new study quantifies the toll: The most extreme cases cut a…