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
Local

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures July 11,…

A block party in Times Square, Bastille Day celebrations and a festival will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Thousands come to pay respects to fallen NYC…

Thousands turned out to say farewell to fallen firefighter Gordon Ambelas at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island this morning.

Movies

Interview: Matt Reeves on directing 'Dawn of the…

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" director Matt Reeves discusses his love for the franchise, working with actors as apes and the weight of 3-D cameras.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

Entertainment

Actor Josh Duhamel dons bunny suit to encourage…

The former Transformers star and husband to singer Fergie took to the Venice Beach boardwalk in California in a bright pink, Christmas-story inspired bunny suit Wednesday to help spread the…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

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.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…

Wellbeing

Stop thinking your diabetes risk begins above a…

When it comes to diabetes research, a new study says black and Asian adults may be at risk for developing diabetes at a lower weight…

Food

Christian Siriano inspires Magnum's color-blocked dessert

Christian Siriano, chef Andrew Carmellini and Magnum team up to create "America's Most Fashionable Chocolate Dessert."