By Bill Parry
The property manager of a Sunnyside condominium who became the focus of multiple state and city investigations after he was accused of intimidating and harassing residents, and who hung Nazi posters in the building’s lobby, will not run in next month’s condo board elections.
Neal Milano, 70. and his “one-man reign of terror” was exposed by City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) after he toured the lobby of the condo at 47-55 39th Place in August and discovered the names of Nazis Josef Mengele and Rudolph Hess in the building’s directory.
“These tenants are living in terror,” Van Bramer said at a rally that week. “After seeing this lobby firsthand and spending several days with these tenants, I can say without a doubt that they are rightfully terrified of a property manager who posts images of hate and racism, boasts of guns in his apartment while hanging posters celebrating guns and the NRA, and who retaliates against anyone who speaks out.”
After the rally, investigations were launched by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the NYPD and the city’s Commission on Human Rights.
Lynn Calvacca, a lawyer who owns a unit in the condominium, filed a suit against Milano and the board.
“He’s a bully,” she said. “He’s a terrorist in this country, in this Sunnyside area. Everybody is so afraid.”
Milano was arrested on Sept. 3 upon his return from an international vacation and charged with assault, harassment and stalking while police confiscated guns and permits.
The Human Rights Commission would not comment on the ongoing investigation and is helping to organize the board election next month. Meanwhile, Milano’s attorney Jacob Laufer released a statement.
“To avoid wasting vital building resources fighting over mischaracterized artwork that is historical in nature, and fending off demonstrably false and disturbing claims, the current board members have agreed not to run in the upcoming election,” Laufer said.
Van Bramer, who characterized the building’s lobby as a “hate-crime scene,” was pleased with the latest development.
“Hate and bigotry have no place in Sunnyside or in Queens,” he said. “I am grateful to see that order and decency will be restored to this condo with a new board after years of hatred and bullying. I believe that a new condo board will allow all residents to live peacefully without fear of racism, bullying, and intimidation.”
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) spoke at the original rally outside the condominium, lamenting that the neighborhood had felt like a haven amid the rise of racism and bigotry elsewhere following the election of President Donald Trump. He was relieved to learn that Milano was standing down and that the residents of the condominium would replace the board with new leadership.
“It’s heartening to see our community’s activism get results,” Gianaris said. “There is no place for bigotry in our diverse neighborhoods, and I am glad the residents of this building can finally live free of harassment.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr