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Rice named new CBO of WeWork and Melamed faces jail time

Noun. A decent, upright, mature and responsible person.

Noun, slang. An awkward, clumsy, or unlucky person whose endeavors tend to fail. A loser.

Mensch of the Week:

Julie Rice, WeWork

SoulCycle’s Julie Rice joins the WeWork team as its new Chief Brand Officer. A veteran in community building, Rice expects to further the success of the office leasing company.

WeWork is eager to be known as something other than just a co-working space company. The company recently delved into apartments with flexible leases, fitness centers, and experimental elementary schools. Rice seeks to focus on members of the  WeWork community to create an even stronger network.

SoulCycle was not always the uber-successful fitness class with a cult following. According to Rice, many doubted her when she brought up the idea in 2006. Before Soul Cycle, she worked in Hollywood as a Talent Manager. Hollywood’s cutthroat talent industry is the reason for Rice’s thick skin and persistent work ethic. Last year, she sold her remaining SoulCycle shares to Equinox and cashed out at $90 million.  

Rice’s goal for WeWork is simple: to continue expanding community services, something she claims was a pillar in the success of SoulCycle. Connectedness between SoulCycle members is what created brand-loyal riders. Rice told Fast Company, “What I am contributing to this community is actually propelling it.” 

Schlemiel of the Week:

Slumlord Daniel Melamed

Daniel Melamed’s apartment conditions are so terrible that he is referred to as a slumlord instead of a landlord. After four years of trying to push people out of rent-controlled units by cutting off heat, Melamed is finally being charged.

His 14-unit multifamily building in Crown Heights is described as nothing short of hell. Families claim to use their ovens as heaters because the heat has been turned off. Children are forced to cover their mouths when leaving the building due to lead dust. His aggressive tactics to force out tenants is a way to increase rent on rent-controlled units once they are vacant. These reports could put Melamed in jail for four years.

Melamed did not work alone. He had his construction engineer, Pirooz Soltanizadeh, carry out the unlawful construction. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman denounced the actions of the two men:

“They undertook months of demolition work that put the health and safety of every tenant at risk.”

To cover up the dangerous construction, Melamed had his engineer file false documents stating the building was vacant. He has since been arrested and charged with filing false construction plans.

Melamed’s tenants were pervasive with their complaints and finally got a reaction from Mayor De Blasio, which will hopefully set a precedent for future landlords. See you behind bars, Melamed.


This Post Has One Comment
  1. Rent control is a throw back from years gone by when lawmakers worried about the under supply of affordable housing rental units. Although today we still have that same short supply the reality is market driven rental rates keep Properties economically and physically viable for both landlord, renters and the surrounding neighborhoods. The market driven supply and demand model makes more sense than any government controls could ever hope to achieve. Let me also suggest that most rental rates fall well within the median incomes for any area.

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