Category Archives: 2nd District City Council race.

Dishonest, Disingenuous, but Media Savvy

Apr 10th – Yesterday, people may have come across the below Facebook post from Ori Feibush.

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It was accompanied by pictures of vandalism, somebody had spray painted the words “Don’t vote 4 Ori” on the side of a home in Point Breeze.  Mr. Feibush with no explanation or evidence sought to hold his opponent Councilman Kenyatta Johnson responsible.  Feibush’s long-time collaborator Republican candidate for Sheriff even posted a story about it.

This Facebook post came just as Mr. Feibush was receiving mounting criticism about the tone he brought to the 2nd District Council race.  Feibush was facing questions about language he had used to describe Councilman Johnson in the past.  Specifically, in Philadelphia Magazine, Feibush had reffered to Johnson as a “poverty pimp” and “terrible human being” yet at more recent forums called him a “nice guy.”

Feibush, instead of answering, aimed to changed the conversation.

It’s media savvy, in that it demonstrates Mr. Feibush knows how to affect media cycles.

However, for those of us in the Point Breeze neighborhood who’ve been embattled with Mr. Feibush,  it’s not the first time he pulled this same play:

On August 24th, 2013, the Point Breeze Organizing Committee (PBOC) organized a march down Point Breeze avenue that ended in a protest of Mr. Feibush’s business.  The morning of the march, there was an incident of vandalism – someone threw a brick through the window of OCF’s coffee shop.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 3.18.34 PM

Mr. Feibush wasted no time calling the media.  He convinced them to film him cleaning up the glass.  This was in order to portray him as under attack and sympathetic (much like yesterday’s post).  Mr. Feibush, again with no evidence, told NBC News that he knew for a fact it was our organization, PBOC, that had done it.  This, of course, differed from the police department, who did not think we did it.

That alone demonstrated a high level of irresponsibility, however a closer examination of the facts suggest something even more dubious.

The vandalism occurred at 6am.  Only 90 minutes later (see creation time below), somebody launched the website, “PointBreezeCriminals.com” with a corresponding youtube page, and twitter account. The site’s sole article argued that the act of vandalism was connected to PBOC’s march.  It also posted the surveillance footage.

PBCriminalswebsite-small  whois-small

Feibush, was apparently “lucky”, that he had a friend who was up that early and in such a small amount of time, had the idea for a website, obtained the domain, built the website and corresponding social media, uploaded and transferred the surveillance video footage, wrote the article, then recruited supporters to promote the website.

It was convenient for OCF in that, for those outside the neighborhood, it shifted the narrative to one where Feibush was a victim.  Media savvy.

Dishonest, Disingenuous, but Media Savvy.

Addendum: OCF Realty customer reviews point to disturbing pattern.

ORI FEIBUSH vs. HIS TENANTS:

Addendum: OCF Realty customer reviews point to disturbing pattern.

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A few weeks ago we wrote about Ori Feibush and OCF Realty’s history of illegally withholding security deposits from tenants until ordered by the court to return them.

In numerous cases, Mr. Feibush withheld security deposits from his tenants without cause, forcing them to take him to court. Only after a judge ruled that Mr. Feibush had to return the money would he finally relent and reimburse his disgruntled former renters.

Some of Ori’s supporters suggested that we were lemon picking; taking a few isolated incidents out of context in order to paint an unfairly negative picture.

We agree that it’s easy to discredit someone, if you’re willing to take things out of context. That’s why it’s so important to note what is an isolated incident and what is in fact a long-standing and documented pattern.

People familiar with the Point Breeze Organizing Committee know we’ve pushed very hard against the assertions from people like Mayor Nutter that Government is a business. A Government is for and by the people – democratic – it can do things for the common good, whether it proves profitable or not. It can invest in things like affordable housing and not focus narrowly on a rate of return. It’s not answerable to a select few, it’s answerable to all of us, and that empowers our Government to do things that can benefit all of us.

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However, if a candidate is going to run on a record of being a successful businessman, we believe it’s fair to ask how they define success. Do they define it as them making the most amount of money possible? Or were they able to provide a good or service, that helped people or benefited their lives or at least had basic standards of decency in regard to customer service.

That’s why we are asking the rest of the 2nd District to check out the below Yelp reviews – customers of OCF Realty have taken time to write detailed reviews of their experience, and they’re par and parcel with the Tenants’ experience we just documented and our on-going experience with this developer in our neighborhood.

Consider this one from Rich D. on Yelp.

“My personal experience with OCF was not at all pleasant. We had various problems the entirety of our stay (not all problems were caused by OCF initially), but this real estate management company did not make things better.

“One example would be when our apartment was robbed. Initially, OCF refused to give us an additional lock on our back door (which was the entrance used to rob the unit) and said that our security was our issue.”

Read more here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ocf-realty-philadelphia?hrid=h3R_jRBDIlSWV9HXO0Pjjw

Or this one from Rebecca N. on Yelp.

“OCF is out to make money and that’s it.  Bottom line.  They will work hard to protect the property manger so long as it means making money.  Keep in mind that if you rent from OCF and they are serving as property manager, their real client is the property owner, NOT you as a tenant.

“I wanted to like them and trust them because they have a big clean store front, fancy website, and the employees seemed nice, but it’s a facade.”

http://www.yelp.com/not_recommended_reviews/ocf-realty-philadelphia

Here’s one from Brian M.

“We have rented a house for the past two years in South Philadelphia.  Our landlord selected OCF realty to manage his 1 year old home (we were the first renters).  OCF did an absolutely horrendous job as property managers, and I finally convinced the owner to drop them last November.

“Bottom line:  OCF is not good for renters or landlords. They do not have the motivation, expertise or personnel to properly manage residential rental properties, and they hire cut-rate repairmen.”

http://www.yelp.com/not_recommended_reviews/ocf-realty-philadelphia

And one from Amelia C.

“I do NOT recommend renting or buying a home through OCF. I find that Ori, the owner, is a dishonest business person who has poorly trained staff. The negative reviews about this company have been spot on.”

http://www.yelp.com/not_recommended_reviews/ocf-realty-philadelphia?not_recommended_start=10

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A Princess, according to the story, upon hearing the peasants had no bread to eat, responded with disregard, “Let them eat Cake.” Mr. Feibush used the phrase to launch his coffee shop. It’s hard to see the humor given the actual disregard he’s shown for long-time residents.

We could go on and on, but we encourage you to read the reviews for yourself by following the links. There are plenty just like these.

On top of what we found on Yelp, we searched a site called whoseyourlandlord.com and found more of the same.

One reviewer’s comments were indicative of the general consensus, “Never follow through on anything they say. They would avoid calls and emails. I’m sure there are many other things I am forgetting, to sum it up the experience was terrible.”

Even one person who gave OCF Realty its best rating on the page warned, “they tried to cheat us out of most of our deposit and bill us for many issues that the previous tenant had done.”

What our neighborhood is clear on, and what will become increasingly clear to the whole 2nd District through this election is we are the ones putting Mr. Feibush’s business practices into their proper context; the pattern is un-mistakable.

We are the ones saying: this isn’t about some media savvy millionaire and his harmless escapades. It is real people who’ve been mistreated, had their time wasted, or worse threatened with lawsuits for speaking up at zoning meetings.

Government is not business. Government is accountable to people not profits. However, if Mr. Feibush wants to govern, he wants to represent us in City Hall, and he submits he is capable because of his business record, then we would be wise to look at this business record.

If Mr. Feibush defines “success” as making the most possible out of money, then perhaps he has been successful. We on the other hand define success differently – it involves making a contribution and doing right by your fellow human being, and in that regard it’s hard to imagine a less successful businessperson.

We will let others decide if he’s fit for business. But we will decide if he’s fit to govern us. And he’s not.

 

 

Ori Feibush v. his tenants

Is this the type of businessman we want representing us in City Hall?

Ori Feibush, owner of OCF Realty and the OCF Coffeehouse establishments, is running for city council from the Second District largely on his record as a businessman in the district; it’s a bit ironic for those of us who lived where he does business.

His campaign literature promises “real results” and the promise to “fix Philly.”

His biography says his background inspired him to “pursue work that would lift up others, not just himself.” And it claims that he has the “right experience to bring common sense solutions to City Hall.”

OriFeibushFoxWe agree with Mr. Feibush, that his business practice and conduct will indicate precisely the type of councilperson he will be. We welcome the opportunity to talk about what business practices could look like if they were accountable to the community.

We invite the rest of the 2nd District to join us in looking past the image and publicity that money can buy, and scrutinize Mr. Feibush’s actual business practice.

The fact is Ori Feibush has often been nothing more than a typical, greedy landlord. He has repeatedly and illegally withheld thousands of dollars worth of security deposits from his rental tenants, forcing them to go to court and get a judge to order him to repay their deposits.

Take a look for yourself:

Court Rules Ori Feibush Illegally Withheld Security Deposit

Liza Tanihara paid Mr. Feibush’s OCF Realty a security deposit of $3,100 and a pet deposit of $300 when she first signed a lease with him. According to her lawsuit against OCF Realty, when she vacated the property on June 28, 2013 she left it in good shape, but Ori refused to return the money she was owed. On top of that, Tanihara claimed that Ori was overcharging her for her monthly water bills, which added up to $275 worth of overpayments. He agreed to refund the money, but never did. Two months after she left the property, Ori still had not returned any of what she was owed. She was forced to file a lawsuit to collect. The court ruled that Ori was, indeed, illegally withholding her money and ordered him to pay her $2,625.

[Liza Tanihara vs. OCF Realty, Philadelphia Municipal Court, 8/23/13]
[Statement of Claim, Notice of Judgement]

Court Rules Ori Feibush Illegally Withheld Funds . . . Again

Sometimes, even when people don’t decide to rent with Ori, he still keeps their money. Consider Kevin Minor. He was interested in renting property from Ori so on July 16, 2010, he put down $900 for the first month’s rent. When he asked to have a refrigerator and washer/dryer hook up included in the property, he was told that doing so would increase the monthly rent by $75 each month. Kevin decided he couldn’t afford that, so he asked for his first month’s rent back since he would not be renting from Ori. By October 2010, he still had not received his $900, so he was forced to file a lawsuit against Ori and OCF Realty for the money. Once again, the court ruled that Ori had illegally withheld money from a client and ordered him to return the $900, plus court costs, for a total of $1,016.

[Kevin Minor vs. OCF Realty, Philadelphia Municipal Court, 10/29/10]
[Statement of Claim, Notice of Judgement]

The Case of C. Francisco Buitrago

Mr. Buitrago entered into a lease with Ori’s OCF Realty on August 20, 2008 and put down a security deposit in the amount of $1,050. He vacated the property the next year on August 31, 2009. He requested his security deposit be returned, but he never got it back. He wrote another letter on October 29, 2009, but was still rejected. So in February of 2010, he filed a claim in Philadelphia Municipal Court. Finally, in April 2010, Ori’s firm gave in and settled the case with Mr. Buitrago.

[C. Francisco Buitrago vs OCF Realty, Philadelphia Municipal Court, 2/16/10]
[Statement of Claim, Settlement]

Ori Feibush’s Company Promises, but Never Delivers

In August 2008, three plaintiffs, Andrea Roble, Glenn Roble, and Kathleen Barnes, entered into a rental agreement and paid OCF Realty with two certified checks totaling $3,600. The three tenants moved out in August 2009, returning the keys and leaving the property in good condition. In September 2009 the plaintiffs received a letter from OCF Realty promising to return their $3,600 security deposit. By November 2009, the deposit was still unreturned, so the plaintiffs filed suit in Philadelphia Municipal Court. Not until February 2010 did Ori and his firm finally throw in the towel and settle the case.

[Andrea Roble, et al. vs. OCF Realty, Philadelphia Municipal Court, 11/5/09]
[Statement of Claim, Settlement]

If, as Mr. Feibush has asserted, he believes his business experience is what best prepares him to serve on council, it appears that he’s raising more questions than he’s answering.

Our neighborhood and Philadelphia itself is at a crossroads, as issues have emerged and at every decision point, the Point Breeze Organizing Committee has raised the questions, “Who benefits? Who decides?”

The above pattern is a disturbing reminder of who benefits when Mr. Feibush is in charge and more importantly, who doesn’t. However, it is the voters of the 2nd District who will get to decide who represents us in City Hall.

The 2nd District is not for sale! Vote May 19th!