Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) Protested for Trying to Kill Stronger Rent Laws and Millionaire's Tax

Leaders of Committee to Save New York Targeted in Prelude to May 12th Wall Street Demonstration

NEW YORK, NY (05/09/2011)(readMedia)-- Protestors flooded the street and sidewalk outside the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY)'s midtown Manhattan office today in a lead-up to a massive rally planned on Wall Street for May 12th to call on big banks and the wealthy to pay their fair share to address the City's revenue crisis. About one hundred demonstrators briefly disrupted traffic at Third Avenue and 51st Street.

REBNY was targeted by community organizations outraged over their opposition to stronger rent laws and keeping the millionaire's tax, which they fought through their leadership in the Committee to Save New York (CSNY). Community Voices Heard (CVH) and VOCAL-NY joined allies from the May 12th coalition ( in leading the demonstration outside their headquarters today.

"I've had it! REBNY and the Committee to Scam New York messed with the state budget and now those same interests are attacking our city," said Agnes Rivera, public housing resident and Board Member of CVH who was arrested at the Capitol during a millionaires tax protest on March 2nd. "They're taking our homes; they're chipping away at our social services. They're the reason we're losing affordable housing and losing sustainable jobs. These people are advancing themselves off the backs of the poor. This city isn't just for the rich! Us poor people need a place to live, too."

"The landlords, big banks and other wealthy backers of the Committee to Scam New York couldn't care less about 'putting people first,'" said Wayne Starks, a VOCAL-NY leader and Board member who was also arrested on March 2nd. "Their bottomline is protecting their profits at the expense of the rest of us. "

This past January, CVH and VOCAL-NY disrupted a reception outside REBNY's annual gala to protest their role in CSNY and their campaign to approve billions in tax cuts for Wall Street bankers and millionaires. Through the New Deal for New York coalition, the groups later issued a report criticizing CSNY's members, including REBNY, for exploiting corporate subsidies and tax loopholes, while using massive campaign donations to advance an agenda that is counterproductive for most New Yorkers.

"Every year, New Yorkers are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to pay daily living expenses because Wall Street bankers aren't paying their fair share and to pay higher rents because landlords continue to squeeze us," said Bobby Tolbert, a VOCAL-NY leader and Board member, mocking the script for a recent ad by the REBNY-backed Committee to Save New York.

CVH and VOCAL-NY will be joining thousands of New Yorkers on May 12th to demand that Wall Street banks pay their fair share to fix our City's revenue crisis. For more information, visit

CVH is a membership organization of low-income families, predominantly people with experience with public assistance and public housing. With four chapters and over 40,000 low-income contacts, CVH works on welfare and workforce development, public and affordable housing, economic development, and community governance issues.

VOCAL-NY is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, drug use and mass incarceration to create healthy and just communities.

Both organizations are members of the New Deal for New York coalition -