RANEE LANDLORD BEN FRIEDMAN INVOLVED IN 100+ LONG-TERM CARE DEATHS!
We re-publish this report from People’s Defence Toronto.
While organizing over the past two months, we have been horrified by news of mass COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes. Recently, we found out that some of the worst hit homes are owned by the same person sending eviction notices and rent increases to hundreds of tenants without jobs and income.
Ranee Management Limited is a corporate landlord with over 7,500 units throughout the GTA. Ranee is run by the Zolty-Friedman family dynasty, which has been profiting off real-estate schemes for over 60 years. Phyllis and Bentzion (Ben) Friedman – the daughter and son-in-law of Ranee’s founder Morris Zolty – personally own several buildings, including those in Goodwood Park and Fountainhead Road which have been on rent strike since April and May 1st respectively.
Ben is also the president of Rykka Care Centres, one of the largest for-profit long-term care (LTC) operators in Canada. Three Rykka-owned nursing homes – Anson Place in Hagersville, Eatonville Place in Etobicoke, and Hawthorne Place in Jane/Finch – have had some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the province, causing over 100 deaths so far.
Why? Because Rykka refused to put in place basic health and safety measures even as people were dying. PSWs, nurses and families of residents had to go to court to get any protection. Now, the military has exposed ongoing abuse and neglect in their homes, and the province is considering take-overs and criminal charges.
“I actually called the OPP, because I thought this was murder!” – Rebecca Shaw, PSW at Anson Place, on management’s handling of crisis
“My sister was traumatized by the way he died…it was a terrible death…he worked hard all of his life to bring up four children. He was a good man and he was a good father.” – Son of Maurice Orchard, first resident at Eatonville Place to die of COVID-19
“Protocols in place have a near 100 per cent contamination rate for equipment, patients and overall facility…Equipment is seldom/ever observed to be disinfected but is used between positive/negative patients.” – Military Report on Hawthorne Place, May 26th
HOW ARE RANEE TENANTS RESPONDING?
Tenants of Goodwood and Fountainhead are aware of Friedman’s heinous acts in Rykka, and are themselves victims of his greed. Before this pandemic, many of them faced constant rent increases while basic repairs weren’t done. Now, during the worst economic crisis in living memory, Ranee has used the threat of eviction to pressure them out of what little savings and income they have.
Hundreds have refused to accept these conditions. They want rent relief (not rent debt) for those who cannot afford to pay, and an end to rent increases in the coming months and years – including Above Guideline Increases (AGIs) of over 5% being pursued in two Goodwood Park buildings. They have taken up the Keep Your Rent Toronto campaign, and organized group chats and committees with the support of Tamil Freedom Coalition in Jane and Finch and People’s Defence Toronto in East York. They are on rent strike until Ranee stops threatening people with eviction, and acts like the “responsible landlord” it claims to be by negotiating with tenants.
For over 30 years, the wages, jobs and health of working-class people have been destroyed, while a small group of people have become unbelievably wealthy. This is at the root of the crisis in residential housing and long-term-care. Things will only get worse as this pandemic becomes a recession. The only chance of reversing it is if we get organized to fight back: in our buildings, workplaces and community networks.
With this understanding, tenants in Goodwood and Fountainhead will continue their rent strike into June, and take on concrete acts of solidarity with residents and workers at Rykka-owned homes. Follow the PD page for updates!