A battle is brewing between artsy East Williamsburg tenants and a tattooed motorcycle club, The Forbidden Ones.
The club congregates on Thames near in Brooklyn. Tenants at 13 and 15 Thames, a loft-style building, say the bikers have taken over and claim their landlord is paying them to force renters out.
"Our landlord has hired bikers. A bike gang is trying to intimidate people inside our building," said Jason Blackman.
Blackman claims the landlord wants to raise rent to attract tenants with bigger coffers and kick out the artists that currently live there.
"They're trying to bully us out, but we're not budging," said Blackman.
In January, the city ordered the first floor tenants to vacate. Since then, tenants say the tension has escalated. They claim the landlord recruited members from the bike club, that have always met on that block, and started paying them.
But if you ask the members, they'll tell you differently.
"We're here to make sure people don't sneak in and squat," said Tito Martinez, a Forbidden One member.
He said the landlord hired him to be the building's super. In turn, the club is allowed to park their bikes in the building's garage.
"The landlord is not paying us to force them out," said Martinez.
According to police records, they have received more than 30 9-1-1 calls from the building since January. The majority of calls are to report harassment.
PIX 11 was unable to reach the landlord for comment.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun