Protesters Keep Pressure on Hotelier Accused of Evicting Chinatown Families

The World Journal reported on the latest protest by Asian Americans for Equality, a community development and housing advocacy group, which has called for a boycott of the Wyndham Garden Hotel on the Bowery, claiming that hotel owner William Su intentionally neglected an adjacent building he owned to the point where it had to be demolished, forcing out its 28 residents. After an earlier protest, Su’s lawyer told The Villager that the allegations are “completely groundless” and threatened to sue AAFE for libel and slander. The World Journal article is translated from Chinese below.

Photo by Luna Liu / World Journal

On the August 7, members of Asian Americans for Equality and others gathered in front of Wyndham Garden Hotel, located on the corner of Bowery and Hester Street in Chinatown, to urge the hotel owner to provide fair compensation to eight families who lived at 128 Hester Street.

Those tenants were forced to move because of safety issues caused by the hotel construction. Julie Menin, the Chairperson of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, and representatives from  the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council also joined the protest.

In front of the hotel, protesters held up signs that read “Give compensation to Tenants,” “Disregard Safety, Ignore Justice, but Maximize Profits,” “Demand Compensation and Relocation,” and “Take Care of 128 Hester Street Tenants.” Hally Chu, the project director of Asian American Resource Development Center, said the hotel owner, William Su, refused to provide almost $1 million in compensation as required by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, and that the tenants have not been compensated.

Asian Americans for Equality compiled 1,000 signatures from residents and tourists and planned to give them to Su in order to urge him to provide the fair compensation.

“This issue is about responsibility,” Chu said. “Su has been actively involved in community affairs, and so he should take responsibility for the eight families. He should not keep delaying his duty, and must immediately resolve this issue.”

Josh Gold of the New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council said his union represents 3,000 hotel employees, and that many of hotels have maintained amicable relationships with the community. He said he hopes that Su will quickly provide the compensation and become a responsible business owner.  Menin said that Su’s actions are not fair, and that she supports the rights of the tenants.  Standing by the Asian Americans for Equality, she vowed to continue to fight for the rights of the displaced tenants.