Rich Schermerhorn flies around in his own jet. A few years ago, he flew down to the Westchester airport to pick up Rudy Giuliani and his wife and ferry them to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
“I was flying high,” Mr. Schermerhorn told local reporter Gordon Woodworth, who wrote about the jaunt for The Chronicle of Glens Falls.
Schermerhorn told Woodworth about all the Fox News celebrities he and his wife had hobnobbed with, and The Chronicle published photos of them with Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity.
“I think we’re going to have dinner this winter with him down in Florida,” Schermerhorn told Woodworth, referring to Hannity. If you want to know how Rich Schermerhorn became such a high-flyer, the answer can be found in another story, which was reported by Mark Mulholland and aired Monday on WNYT-TV NewsChannel 13.
That story concerns Charles Stoddard, who also was a flyer, although instead of sinking into a leather seat while chatting with Rudy Giuliani, Stoddard jumped out of planes as a paratrooper during the Korean War.
Stoddard, 84 this summer, signed a lease in mid-August to move into The Willows, a senior housing complex in Queensbury, in September. He wanted to be closer to his daughter, June Stoddard-Finemore, but he died Aug. 16 before that could happen.
He had never moved in. He died so soon after signing the lease, he’d never even gotten a key. But June was notified that Schermerhorn Real Estate Holdings would be billing Stoddard’s estate for rent and utilities on the apartment until someone else was found to fill it. The story could be an anecdote from the life of Ebenezer Scrooge, although our world is not as hopeful as the one created by Charles Dickens. I doubt any apparitions will be paying midnight visits to Rich Schermerhorn or that he will be motivated by a guilty conscience to stop squeezing every dollar from the estate of an old man.
Mr. Schermerhorn has chosen not to respond to questions about the story, but he did have an operations manager, Maureen Dennis, call me.
“We’re following New York state property law 236. We are actively trying to rent this apartment,” she said, several times.
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“There are no concessions for early termination,” she said, referring to the lease.
I asked her whether exceptions could be made.
“That would be discrimination,” she said.
I’ve never heard doing someone a kindness described as “discrimination” before.
“We’re doing the exact same thing of every other landlord in the state of New York,” Dennis said.
I doubt that. June says that not only is Schermerhorn requiring September’s rent, the company is taking Mr. Stoddard’s security deposit of $965, too. On top of that, somehow, the company is demanding yet another month’s rent.
“We’re in business to rent apartments,” Dennis said.
So, question answered. Now we know how Rich Schermerhorn got rich and where the jet comes from and the vacation homes and all the rest. It comes from collecting rent on Mr. Schermerhorn’s many hundreds of apartments from tenants who may move in but might not, whether they are living or dead.