He is a former New York Mets slugger turned real estate philanthropist. Gayle talks to Mo Vaughn, along with his business partner Eugene Schneur, about his post-baseball career in rehabilitating and revitalizing economically distressed communities in the New York City area.
A Major League Baseball player for 12 years, Mo was named MVP in 1995 while playing for the Boston Red Sox. Having enjoyed a successful career, Mo says that rehabbing homes is his way of giving back to the community. "For me, I've never felt that I was better than anybody because of what I did and if there was an opportunity to reach down and pick somebody up, I always felt that was an obligation that I had."
Collaborating with city, federal and private entities, Mo and Eugene are working to rehabilitate some of the most run-down, unlivable structures in the New York Metro tri-state area. Since June 2004, Mo says they have acquired over 1,300 residential units in a number of buildings, with 800 units presently under contract. "It's a win-win," Eugene says. "We're going to turn around probably the most troubled property in New York City, and while doing it and giving back, we'll also be able to make a few dollars."
To ensure the buildings' upkeep, Mo says special measure have been taken in all the units. State-of-the-art security systems are in place and tenants are held accountable for damage to the property.
Giving someone a clean, safe place to live can change a person's whole outlook on life, Mo says. After meeting with tenants in their new residences and surveying the completed properties, Mo says he's witnessed this positive affect firsthand. "When we walk around the block and we see tenants say, 'This is a good thing,' then we know we're really doing what we have to do here," he says.