The Elmhurst Horror

December 2020

Elmhurst, Queens, New York

Here’s a true story of domestic terror and chilling impunity. No names have been changed because there mostly aren’t really any.

It happened on a cold early morning just an hour before sunrise, 6 days before Christmas, a 5-alarm fire engulfed a three family house. The inferno spread so rapaciously that it instantly killed three men as they desperately tried to flee while trapped in their rooms, their only exit was sliding doors by the balcony on the second floor, which were locked. It also torched the three floor house attached to it, making both structures inhabitable.

Before the deadly blaze the house was proficiently and exceedingly habitable. Since the fire was extinguished, a lot of mystery still surrounds this tragedy. Not much is known about the tenants; especially their names which have not been identified, notably the three who perished in the inferno except for their ethnicity. The one tenant who survived the destruction and the deaths, also refused to be identified.

This house had an incredible lengthy record of housing violations going back 4 years with over $200,000 in fines. Mostly in the last two years, the former landlord had repurposed what was once a nice two family house and transformed it into a makeshift boarding house with single room occupations constructing seven rooms on each floor from the basement to the attic. Even the garage wasn’t spared as the original landlord Mumarrawa Mahmood managed to convert it into a rental where the superintendent of the house lived and added more dwellings to it even after repeated visits and fines by the Department Of Buildings.

December 2020

Whatever fines the original landlord accrued by subdividing the house probably got evened out with the monthly or weekly rents that were provided by dozens of tenants occupying all those SROs; the superintendent of the illegally converted home paid 700 a month (usually supers live rent free in apt. buildings). Now multiply that by about 10 or 20 as was claimed in a complaint by a prospect “tenant” in January this year. One of the last complaints filed to the DOB was by a person who was looking to rent a room and described 60 people occupying the house at once. 

Although even with all that non-taxed cash flowing in from this ratchet set up it was still not enough to avoid foreclosure.

When the original landlord decided to finally unload it after gradually gutting it for 4 years, it got purchased by an LLC  consisting of the new landlord and a bank from Texas last February. The LLC wasted no time making their presence felt as they attempted to force out the tenants from their SRO’s by shutting off the heat or buying them out after the DOB put a full vacate order at the start of the year.

The final DOB building violation report and full vacate order on the house took place on the morning after it burned down.

December 2020

The internal dilapidation cited in years of violations from the illegal construction  manifested itself as the house burned. The roof that was cited in the DOB’s records easily collapsed during the blaze as the second floor ceiling also dropped on the firefighters while they were extinguishing the inferno.

December 2020

 

December 2020

The day after the fire, the FDNY put up a table down the block from the destroyed house on the pedestrian triangle on Corona Ave and 90th Street, displayed with safety brochures and flyers, even though the investigation of the blaze was not concluded. This gave off a predetermination by the department and also by the city that the fire was the fault of the tenants.

December 2020

The following day after the table got packed up, FDNY marshals determined that the early morning blaze was deliberately set off by an accelerant substance and security camera footage showed a man walking inside and then coming out of the house in a short amount of time. Now the premature result from what was initially thought as carelessness by tenants has turned into a possible cases of arson and homicide in less than 24 hours.

After concluding criminal intent was involved in the fire, the FDNY drew a warrant for the landlord and owner of the house and with the NYPD, found his residence in Flushing. During a search of his SUV, dogs sniffed out gloves with traces of the accelerant that set off the inferno inside the vehicle. The NYPD confiscated tech devices from the suspect, notably digital recording devices and a portable hard drive. Despite the procurement of this evidence and the apparent motive to evict the residents, the landlord and only suspect, Eric Chen, was not arrested.

Four months have passed since the house burned down and there has been apparently no follow up on this story from local news despite the fact that arson was the cause of the inferno that destroyed this house and incinerated three men alive. Also evident is the utter lack of a follow up and seeming abandonment of the case by city department enforcement despite the debris from the blaze still present on the ground in front of the garage door.

April 2021

 

April 2021

 

April 2021

 

April 2021

What also remains from this destruction is the still smouldering odor of acrid smoke and flesh. But what also lingers in the ether here is the fact that an act of cold blooded murder was committed with impunity.

And never mind the evidence of arson that was easily found and sourced, what’s clearly evident is the motive. The new owners of the foreclosed house immediately was trying to sell it and it’s clear that they were champing at the bit to unload it because of COVID-19 and before the eviction moratorium was ratified by state and federal law (per Centers of Disease Control). Those that remained, initially suspected and maligned as squatters even by the superintendent who was occupying a room on the first floor, probably refused to leave because of their rights to shelter in place, reasonable considering that Elmhurst was the epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic exactly a year ago and they were in their rights to remain in the house. Despite the shutdown and new regulations to protect the public from spreading contagion, the landlord still resorted to cut off the power in the house, but was forced to restore it after the residents made a 311 complaint. As the remaining residents continued to avoid paying rent for months because of the rent moratorium, that must have been the tipping point for the LLC owners of the house.

Another mystery is how none of the footage has been publicly released, which reportedly shows a man rushing in and out of the house and a sudden burst of flames by the front door and garage. Being that we live in an age of viral video mayhem and how the NYPD usually displays security cam footage on their own twitter, it’s amazing how this one didn’t warrant the attention it would have surely got, especially from the 24/7 streaming news sites and local news stations. Something as extreme as arson and murder should have warranted national attention as well.

de Blasio’s Department Of Buildings insouciance is all over this too, for there hasn’t been a single update of violations since the murderous inferno despite the mess laying outside for passerby to see and for neighbors to tolerate.

What’s not a mystery is the way this house was run and assembled in the 2 years under the previous owner; as a boarding house for hundreds of the housing insecure because of the criminally insufficient lack of affordable housing in NYC, which was undermined by the Housing for Preservation and Development Department’s prioritizing building public housing for the upper middle class. (Although it’s also quite possible that this charred house was repurposed as a hotel also for Airbnb). 

This house must have been a sanctuary for the victims of this city’s perpetual housing crisis (especially in two terms under Mayor de Blasio), especially those working check to check and undocumented immigrants, essential workers mostly doing gig jobs delivering food or driving for apps and working construction building towers they will never afford to live in.

 Meanwhile, the suspect (or suspects considering that two other tenants that were still living there weren’t home at the time when the blaze was set off) is still at large and nothing has been updated concerning the LLC that bought the house or the landlord who was found with the incriminating evidence in his car. But the record of the homicidal zeal to get rid of the holdout residents of the Elmhurst Horror is documented in the few stories that remain about this act of literal domestic terror, which resembles in essence the gangster hit jobs in iconic scenes from movies like the Untouchables and Goodfellas.

Queens Chronicle

Moments before his home caught fire on Dec. 19, the man, who asked not to be identified, was jolted awake by a strange noise — and then thrown into darkness.The first floor tenant, who had been paying about $700 a month rent, said he and about half a dozen others living in the Elmhurst home had struggled with new landlords in recent months, claiming they wanted them out of the building — even at one point turning off the utilities.

 It was like the sound of a gas burner before it ignites, he recalled.

Because of months of collective indifference from the accounted and unaccounted authorities, the latter being our elected officials who have not even bothered to acknowledge this monstrous tragedy, and also from the absentee LLC owners of this destroyed home, the inevitability of another craven and wanton act will assuredly manifest. And they don’t even have to ditch the evidence or clean up after themselves.

If anything that confirms the allegory that evictions are violence, look no further than this homicidal pyre of the housing insecure and the ruin that still remains in plain sight and living color. And the city’s complicity in allowing this site and this black market “affordable housing” system to fester is the biggest horror of them all.

 

St. John’s Hospital Outbreak Open House Sale

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Elmhurst, Queens, New York

Recent available testing for COVID-19 has revealed that over 10,000 people were infected with the disease in just the past week. It also brought upon a general moment of clarity and surely an everlasting fury regarding New York City’s stunning low amount of hospitals to house and care for everyone that will test positive for the disease and certainly for the amount of people that are going through the worst of it.

As the NY Post reported last week when Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio were apoplectic about the low amount of beds that will take for the dramatic rise of cases that have just unfolded over the weekend.

Now everyone pretty much knows that the reason why New York City is was grossly, criminally unprepared for this outbreak; because a lot of them went broke and the state and the city not only didn’t adequately fund them but actually enabled their closings with budget cuts and chummy pay to play land deals which led to crucial health care services getting terminated and replaced with high-end condo towers and housing. Even the rats that burrow in the lots during the nascent stages of development even know this.

A grand example of this devastation and deprivation resulting in this harried urgency to save thousands of lives is the notorious closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, Manhattan which was the biggest MASH unit on 9/11/2001- the previous greatest attack on the U.S.A. this century. What remains of St. Vincent’s now is ultra-luxury condominiums, even though it still looks like a hospital.

But what this post is going to focus on is the former St. Johns Hospital on Queens Boulevard, the boulevard of zombie development.

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St. Johns was unceremoniously shut down back in 2009 and left hundreds of people out of work and a vast community without to go for urgent health services in case of sudden illness or injury. In 2011, Fun Size Mayor Bloomberg’s Department Of Buildings zoned the property for a mixed-used building to include a mall and a parking lot (even though there the Queens Center Mall is across the street and another mall is two blocks away west).

And like St. Vincents, it still looks like a fucking hospital. For some reason the new owners decided to let the building remain as is.

 

It took 11 years and as our city does not have the beds to put the sick and chronically ill on and nurses and doctors are frighteningly lacking medical supplies like face masks and respirators, it should be absolutely not heartening to know that dwellings are now available. 014015

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Yes, they are NOW LEASING apartments at the fucking hospital, even while scaffolding is still surrounding the building. Oh, but don’t dare call them apartments, the appropriate nomenclature for the building known as “QB” are “lofts”. I find it curious why they are advertising them as such, even with the kitschy faux bespoke label up their on the banner on that filthy garage.

Now these “lofts” could have been on the market already even as the mayor’s big dumb mouth was talking about instituting a “shelter-in-place” rule and as Cuomo already declared shutting down the schools and was mulling shutting down New York State with the exception of essential services, but these photos were taken on Thursday 3/21. And the owners decided to put a cute little Open House stand by the curb cut going into ramp where the ambulances used to go. 019020

What’s darkly humorous is that this is that this isn’t a heavy pedestrian area, made worse with the barren streets right now. And those rusty scaffolds don’t make the building look hospitable at all (pun intended)

 

Now with the whole damn state of New York officially shut down at sun down and with military vehicles roaming the streets and more aggressive orders to commit to social distancing, it’s fucking pointless to be even looking for a new place right now with views of the boulevard viaduct, shopping malls, the Grand Central Parkway and barely used bike lanes and even including the eviction moratorium bestowed upon the citizenry by our benevolent friends at REBNY.

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Although there would be a moment when this would warrant derisive laughter, that is dead and gone. Just like this building which would have been an immense help for the victims of COVID-19 and government officials careless stupidity and their obeisance to their developer overlords and their never ending unsatiated greed for to monetize every crack on the sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

Wrath Of The Scumlords: Jared Kushner’s Real Estate Firm Falsifies Building Permits To Force Gentrification

Image result for kushner westminster
Jared Kushner. Gentrification mongering punk.

Astoria, Queens, New York

Looks like the demoted advisor to the imbecilic Figurehead Trump and husband of his reminded like a pornstar daughter, Jared Kushner is gonna get it. With the same approach and dubiously absent-minded attempt Jar-Jar took to file his applications for security clearances to access top secret documents so he can oversee foreign policies that would benefit him and his trust fund baby peers financially and influentially, was also exploited by his real estate company who outsourced agents to falsify documents for 3 apartment buildings in Astoria they owned and ran regarding the presence of rent-stabilized tenants so they can do disruptive internal construction to force them out. 2 years later and a bulk of affordable renting systematically driven out, the buildings sold for a $40 million dollar profit.

This was perpetrated with the simple checking of a box on Department of Buildings applications that the Kushner Cos. signatory filled hired by Kushner Cos. claiming that there were no rent regulated apartments, giving them permission to do internal construction in these buildings along with 80 other apartment buildings in the agency’s portfolio that they rented out during the years 2013 to 2016, causing hazardous environments and rodent infestations inducing tenants to move out of their apartments, dwindling the amount of rent-stabilized units by 75% with just a few hold-outs remaining in buildings in other trendy neighborhoods with low income tenant presence in the East Village, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Heights.

Let this be abundantly clear. Jared Kushner and his company, before he divested from it taking his current gig in the White House and with a majority of presumed progressive democrat lawmakers in city hall and city council, engaged and perpetrated in forced gentrification by blatant and brazen predatory means for personal ill-gained profit. Resulting in the current overvalued market rates affecting citizens in this city who can barely make the rent and buy groceries, and having a deleterious effect on the current crop of affordable housing units on new structures being built under Mayor de Faustio’s affordable housing plan and transformation of neighborhoods into investment opportunities and high end brands.

For some reason though, Kushner Cos. mischievous signatory check the box for rent-reg tenant on their Department Of Finance applications, which can only be so they can get the required tax abatements. So not only is Kushner Co’s perpetuating forced gentrification, they are technically embezzling the city of tax dollars during the process of inducing rent-regulated tenants to leave.

Reaction was swift of this half-decade criminal gentrification spree. Councilman Ritchie Torres aptly labeled Kushner Cos. tactics as weaponized construction and has called for belated punitive action.  And the Mayor for predatory developers Bill de Blasio muttered that Jared “might have problems on his hands” and chided him for his lying to the government in another display of blissfully ignorant hypocrisy pertaining to his obstinate advocacy for NYCHA commissioner Shoya Olatoye and her similar insouciant lying to the government.

So this sudden awareness and acknowledgement and the recent filing of a probe of Kushner Cos. predatory business model and perjuring by D.A. Schneiderman is quite late. And the recent rezoning proposals by the Mayor and current approvals by City Council has already had an effect on towns borough wide, as opportunistic bush league landlords have already and are currently employing the same tactics despite the few recent busts of some who have got by with ineffective fines and the conviction of scumlord pioneer Steve Croman.

Like in Baychester in the Bronx, where a middle age couple with a son suffering from asthma had their heat and electricity cut off because their landlord wants to begin renovating the apartments. And in a Foxhurst apartment building where an LLC is using the same disruptive gut renovation, service refusals and intimidation to drive out tenants to raise rents in total imitation of Kushner Co’s brand of tenant terrorism.

And like in trendy Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where tenants had to vacate their lofts because the landlord told them he had to make repairs to keep the building in code, instead kept delaying their return until they were able to access their apartments after 3 years to retrieve their belongings to find their doors jimmied and windows broken, all their property damaged and covered in bird shit.

 

 

Even though it’s now being taken seriously with the acknowledgement of the fine reporting of the Housing Rights Initiative, Kushner and Kushner Cos. tactics have been an established business model for quite a while now. Especially with the omnipresence of Airbnb. And the city and the D.O.B. did nothing but let that model and unaffordability metastasize.

And not helping at all is the recent comment vomited by city planner Winston Von Engel  at a community meeting in Bushwick on the subject of rezoning and gentrification of the city’s intention “is to preserve the character and the buildings, not the people in them”.

Supposedly all that new money the City Council added to their office budget will go straight to hiring people to investigate the diabolical deeds of predatory landlords and developers instead of hiring glorified interns, marketers and sycophants which probably made up the majority of de Blasio’s 300 staffers in his first term. It’s a wonder how the mayor could have missed the chicanery by the son-in-law of his alleged politically ideological rival. Not to worry…

“We have to do a better job of cross-checking our information too, and that’s something that we want to do,” the mayor said.

De Blasio said he realized that agencies don’t often share information when he first took office four years ago.

“We tried to break down some of that, some of those silos, some of that separation, but we’ve got a lot more to do. So I think it’s a valid concern and I want to see how we can get those two agencies to be coordinating. Because if someone violated the rules, we want to get them. It’s as clear as that,” he said.

NY Post

Got it. Well it’s a good thing the co-mayor, the city council and the A.G. are focused now after the quasi-complicit honest graft sanctioning in not acknowledging Kushner Cos dishonest certification, weaponized construction and terrorizing tenants for over 5 years (and counting). It shouldn’t be that hard to draw up subpoenas or even a warrant to get that scrawny weasel Kushner to face the music in light of just recent allegations of his loan hookups totaling 500 mil with Citibank and Apollo Equity this month, the latter promising to get the CEO a job in the White House.

We, specifically all those under the daily passively menacing threat of displacement and disenfranchisement by Kushner Co’s and their yearly overlooked predatory peers and bush league amateurs engaging in the same nefarious acts, shall see.

And I didn’t even get to NYCHA’s current derelict bullshit yet.

 

 

 

 

Jona Sings! Mayor de Blasio’s Free Ride Re-Election Campaign Gets Cock-Blocked

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/10/27/2017.10.27%20-%20DeBlasio_0.JPGThe mayor standing particularly close to the once upstart player now convict Jona Rechnitz

Manhattan Federal Courthouse, New York, New York

Impeccable, uncanny and unfortunate timing for the reigning mayor of the boroughs 5. Testifying during the bribery, racketeering and pension money laundering trial against former jails union head Norman Seabrook, Rechnitz was approached by the prosecutor about his relationship in the first year of hizzoner’s term, seeing that it was this transgression that got him embroiled in the current case he’s providing witness testimony for. Suffice to say, it looks like Jona stopped giving a fuck and responded like a player who himself got played like a sucker by the ambitious and ultimately ungrateful mayor and getting the brunt of it by getting incarcerated.

Rechnitz dropped the proverbial bomb about de Faustio’s willingness to dole city government service favors by all means necessary. Jona, with his donations and from various straw donors totaling around $193,000, was a de facto chief of staff for the morally loose mayor. He demanded to basically appoint the commissioners for the police and the Department of Buildings. He arranged luxury trips for NYPD higher brass with his pick Phillip Banks and Norman Seabrook for which he played a literal bag man by giving him his bribe in a Sal Ferragamo bag.

De Faustio, despite his persistent and constant denials and of course his mealy self-serving blog posts on Medium, seemed for a few years to enjoy and relish the company he kept. And also the new found power 75% of the 21% of the registered voters gave him. Being that he graciously gave his favorite donor his personal phone number and e-mail, messaging and reassuring his bubby that he was “all ears“.  That he actually held out playing for Jona’s pay by being slow (natch) to reduce utility bills, lift fines and violations on a properties he managed. Ordering his minion and campaign manager and CONY bundler Ross Offinger to hassle Jona for more cash. And needling Jona to coax Norman to stifle his opinions on the qualifications and character of Joe Ponte, the incompetent, disgraced boob de Faustio picked for jails commissioner.

There really should be no more argument of the character of our current mayor. Although the collective shenanigans of these and the machinations executed by these two like-minded fellows and the circumstances that ensued make a very interesting plot device. Jona’s is obvious, but the Mayor’s suspicious actions that followed his former bubby’s arrest and conviction is very interesting.

Consider when he ended his CONY fundraising and his agents of the city meetings in city hall. What followed immediately was his morning commute habit of going to the Y in Park Slope for workouts then trekking to Park Row to start the day in his official office at 11 a.m.. It has to be considered, especially when he got confronted by an activist who questioned him about the Rikers closing during his yoga workout wearing the inappropriate attire of cargo shorts, a belt and sneakers. And also of his redacted email releases titled “FLEX TIME“. Was “FLEX TIME” actually correspondence and more pay to play arrangements with other donors/the usual suspects? And what about him using his personal email and phone number for these conversations?

Another thing about those redacted emails mainly what actually was redacted in the ones involving Jona? Did de Faustio actually did confirm his picks for D.O.B. and NYPD? Especially the latter because Phil Banks was a favorite to get the job before he abruptly dropped out. Were any of the emails related to the illicit gun licensing?

And one more thing concerning “flex time”, was the Park Slope Y the new venue for de Faustio’s continuing courting of big time developer donor cash and advice from those agents of the city?

Jona’s recollections in court are equal parts super revealing, actually sincere and has a touch of braggadocio about it being the temporary mack daddy he was. It also takes a big shit on the mayor’s crowd surfing his way back into elected office and the pathetic attempt at transparency and credibility he is trying to build.

This is going to make the next debate more raucous than the last one. The difference though is that candidate Nicole Malliotakis has the advantage. And she did not wait to pounce either.

Karma is quite the motherfucker. The supposedly unopposed free ride is over for de Faustio. And even if he does win, with this way overdue damning revelation, he will eventually regret doing so much cheating for the power and privilege of the seat he holds and the damage to the city and his constituency that his selective policy making caused. Which will be enough to kick his big slow ass out that even the Democrat Machine D.A.’s will have to dredge legitimate charges this time.

Now the Campaign Finance Board wants to take another look at the shady donations Offinger goaded Jona for and de Faustio slovenly accepted. You know, to see if there were any improprieties involved. This after they gave the mayor millions of matching funds to his campaign despite having a massive lead over his Democrat challenger Sal Albanese.

For months the mayor was running free and now he’s running away from the truth and accountability. Again.

But he can’t run from the fact that he, as Mayor, ultimately played himself.

Update!

After 2 days of evading the press, Mayor Big Slow de Blasio addressed journalists about his former donor Jona Rechnitz by calling him (projecting him as) a criminal, a horrible person and a liar, and how he can’t (won’t) remember contacting him about telling          Norman Seabrook to lay off road trippin’ Joe Ponte. And how he can’t remember being even in the same room with him, despite photographic proof like the photo above.

So that’s that, voters. The mayor of NYC is lying to you. To your faces. This is beyond plausible deniability, it’s recklessly brazen deniability. This recent nauseating public gesture by de Faustio is the worst case and amateurish usage of Goebbels’ method of telling a lie often enough so it becomes true.

What’s really pathetic about Da Mayor is that he is tripping over himself despite getting off without being charged last spring. He could just easily admit dealing with his felonious friend and just say money and politics are a way of life and legally accepted because of the McDonnell v United States SCOTUS decision and running city government honestly and ethically is virtually impossible. It would convey a sense of pragmatism, which was the basis in 2 books prematurely released about his short time in elected office, which he misspent a bulk of it networking, fundraising, commuting 4 hours to work every morning, on trial, and napping.

I guess despite the heinous legitimacy of it, you just cannot consciously come off not looking like a two-faced unethical scumbag for engaging in such behavior.

What a stupid fucking idiot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrath And Weak Persecution Of The Scumlords: Fire Engulfs REAL Affordable Housing Building In The Bronx And Two City Big Shot Realtors Get A Wristslap Fine And A Feeble Prison Term After Yom Kippur.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DKvK95ZUIAAYVWE.jpgAffordable housing inferno

Bronx, N.Y.

Residents of 1920 Walton Ave. affordable housing building of the now misnomered town called Mount Hope, mostly working poor, disabled and elderly, woke up early one morning to find their building on fire and their lives upended and out on the street with the clothes on their back. And also with practically no idea of where they will be in the future. Although with the way this city treats the functioning members of society and senior citizens, probably in hotels and motels in the area or in the outer boroughs, despite the city’s claims of keeping them close to their original addresses.

The fire was determined to be accidental by the NYFD because of faulty electrical wiring in the ceiling of the building which is where it ignited and spread on it’s way down to the apartments. Nearly 200 firemen where dispatch to put out the destructive 5-alarm blaze.

It’s easy and understandable to suspect arson, knowing the city’s and the Bronx’s history during it’s worst economic and drug epidemic crisis, but there is no doubt that willful neglect by the current and prior owners led to this tragedy. The building according to DNA, has a notorious history of elevator disrepair going back to 1995 and had prior instances of fire hazard faulty wiring issues. The building, which is currently owned by get this, 1920 Walston Ave. LLC, continued to deny service requests of the tenants, who were clearly too poor and powerless to pay any mind to. And also vulnerable because of the fact that they were lucky enough to be able to live in an apartment at the amount they were paying in a city with maniacal rising rates.

It is not known who or whom consists of 1920 Walton Ave LLC, because it’s base is in Lakewood, N.J. and you need a password to find out. The free newspaper Metro could not even get a hold of these mysterious owners.

The burn about this, no pun intended, is how did this building miss out and did not seem to qualify for Mayor de Faustio’s affordable housing plan for the preservation of such affordable housing. How did this one miss out in the mayor’s promise to end the tale of two cities? This building would have been a shining example if it got the proper attention from the mayor and especially from the perpetually inefficient D.O.B. that for years let this building rot without proper and diligent intervention. This is truly a disgrace and a harbinger of the city’s priorities in their lame version of service or blatant lack of it in helping the lower class and indigent.

It’s too late for the former residents of 1920 Walton, but after years of languishing in hotels before some of the 90 shelters as promised by Mayor Big Slow get built wherever in the Bronx or if they are lucky to win the miniscule affordable apt. lottery in one of his donor’s towers, there is a slight bright side to others trying to maintain and remain in their own affordable apts and that is the recent decisions regarding two mega-developers and their own transgressions; Steve Croman and Icon Realty.

This is Steve.

Steve Croman recently got convicted and sentenced for trying to scam banks with a partner of his for false claims of market rate apts and for 8 years for terrorizing rent-stabilized tenants in the East Village to force them out to execute the scam. This notorious scumbag relied on a sadistic ex-cop to intimidate his fiscally responsible tenants who were not paying enough for living there and in his buildings in East Harlem, by stalking, breaking and entering and reading their mail. He was basically Steve’s economic hit man.

For the amount of time and energy this demon was harassing his tenants with his hired goon, he also used the pioneering abusive tactic of using gut renovation of vacant apts., causing environmental noise and air quality hazards to goad rent-stabilized tenants into leaving and even recent market rate tenants to intimidate them if the speculation gets a little higher for even what they can afford. 8 years is not enough for this kind of evil, and even though it has passed, he certainly did not deserve to observe the Jewish holy days despite paying 3 million to do it. He did get to lose his broker license, but he still gets to reap the rewards of his insidious and heinous labors from his owner status which is less than the 45 million dollars that he was going for but he will still be able to throw a big hedonistic homecoming party in the Hamptons once he gets out and if he survives a shivving.

Steve’s pioneering and monstrous tactics have inspired a comparably young predatory developers in his neck of the metropolis to do the same, only to lead to fiscal punishment for their equally heinous efforts, and it’s not the advisor to the current POTUS (which may be why he was pushing hard through the weekly paper he once owned for Figurehead Trump to win). Icon Realty has been using the same diabolical, contemptible scheme to induce their lower-paying tenants to leave. Although amateurish in comparison, they still mismanaged their buildings enough with roughshod and reckless construction with making the renovations to apts by making them smaller to attract dumb transients to pay the preposterous market rate, in effect causing pervasive dusty conditions and the ceilings below them to crack. Icon also repeatedly shut off the gas on tenants for lengthy periods of time. Instead of hiring a goon to scare residents although they did engage in persistent attempts at buying out their tenants, Icon hired a publicity firm to ward off the hundreds of accusations of shitty treatment they were giving their tenants. Icon also exploited the tragedy of the 119-121 apartment building explosion to force a long time beloved small restaurant Stage to go out of business.

For all the chaos they caused and after years of enabling by the slow process of the justice system, the D.A. in conjunction with the REBNY jesters Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, fined Icon a measly $500,000 to be paid back to the city. Which seems just a pittance after all the misery and inconvenience their intentional and kind of clumsy nefarious acts have caused, which could have been prevented and avoided if the D.O.B. had even a percentage of competence and efficiency. But it seems the speculators for real estate have too much sway and influence that it takes precedence over regulation and enforcement

The lessons and decisions being meted to Steve and Icon are only a temporary fix, and seemingly in tune for the coming elections. The problem with these recent judgements is that these guys should have been investigated a long time ago. Especially the case of those unnamed elusive villains who run and burned 1920 Walton Ave. in Mount Hope. Mostly, these properties should have been priority one in this supposed preserving of affordable housing as well as the NYCHA buildings.

Steve Corman might no longer have control or say anymore over his properties but Icon still does as well as many, many other baby predators. And they all are big contributors to City Hall on Park Row and the State House in Albany. In spite of these recent charges, their records show transgressive recidivism and cannot be trusted. Even though Icon got pinched a little bit from the city, they are still entrusted to preserve the affordable housing they lord over. The only progress is for harsher penalties and longer sentences in prison. Particularly in a cell next to one going under gut renovation for the entirity of his or her term.

 

 

 

 

Colluding Developer/Real Estate And Contracting Firms Ordered To Pay $76,000,000 To Workers In Money Laundering Conspiracy To Deny Their Complete Wages And Benefits.

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NY Daily News: Union workers win $76M from Midtown construction firm that used alter-ego company to skirt collective bargaining

A Midtown construction company accused of creating a bogus business to avoid union wages and union benefit payments has to cough up $76 million to the workers it cheated.

In a decision with potentially far-reaching consequences for city developers, Manhattan Federal Court Judge Colleen McMahon found that Navillus Tile fraudulently invented an alter-ego company to try and get around collectively bargained agreements it had with several major city construction unions.

The company also had one of its legitimate offshoot businesses act as a Navillus stand-in on a job it wanted to do non-union, the ruling found.

The collusion also involved real estate giant Related, one of the city’s most prolific developers.

It knowingly engaged with one of the alter-ego companies on its Upper East Side luxury development on 92nd St., Judge McMahon’s ruling said.

In her scathing, 95-page ruling delivered late Thursday after a three-year court battle, McMahon said that Navillus’ founder, Donal O’Sullivan had “perjured himself” more than once and noted that another company principal was “obviously lying” in some testimony.

Her feelings were clear in the $76 million award — a massive hit for Navillus Tile.

The financial pain has to be carried by Navillus, which was the main generator of the alter-ego scam, but developer Related – which is currently doing the city’s Hudson Yards project — also played a role, the attorney noted.

The lengths certain people will go through to save a boatload of money in the name of progress or hyper-development, depending who you ask.

This lawsuit was filed 3 years ago when it was discovered that $35 million dollars never made it to the checks of their hard working employees. Navillus, a masonry company that usually gets 4 to 5 star ratings, shit on their workers and fucked them over despite the efficiency that gave them accolades. Related Properties, who run some of the biggest commercial and residential buildings in Manhattan and tonier parts of the outer boroughs, saw nothing at all wrong with partaking with Navillus in laundering the workers hard earned pay through 2 bogus firms with bland and downright stupid names so they can employ and underpay desperate immigrant workers and thought they were shrewd enough to fool them and their union lawyers. Really, Time Square Construction?

And for what cause. Instead of paying them the 35 million they earn and nefariously stealing it, now they are out an extra 41 million and who knows how much more to their counselors trying to defend their stupid grand theft scheme. It’s amazing that these fiends have this much money and reputation to burn.

But they and the city, especially the DOB, doesn’t care because the city has to keep improving. Every little crack on the sidewalk is prime real estate ready for taking and laying mortar, steel and glass up to the skies. Tower building is arguably the only manufacturing the city has done in the past decade and a half. Governor Andy didn’t give them those skyscraper welfare tax abatements just for his developer donor overlords to do nothing.

The sick thing about this criminal conspiracy is the fact that apparently no one from Navillus or Related will go to damn jail and serve 5 to 10 years, which I presume would be the same amount of time that some poor schmuck or recidivist would get if they tried to hold up a bodega or deny people their collective bargaining rights and steal their wages and funnel it through bogus shell companies. I guess because they have contributed so much and continue to add to the hyper-development of the city that these two corporations are too big to fail also. For they are involved in the construction of the massive Hudson Yards mini-metropolis and other city affordable housing mixed-use tower projects and government buildings.

It’s a terrible predicament with the over-saturation of development suffocating the city, but at least the people building it will get paid in full. It be a lot better if these executives would see a bit of divine justice and get indicted, imprisoned and clad in orange jumpsuits along the way. And maybe the old ball and chain for these greedhead executive assholes to approximate the toll the body takes building their behemoths.

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Department Of Buildings Office Has An RV!

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One day working in the city for stagnant wages, I came across this sight. What looks like a SWAT style truck under the jurisdiction of an agency that, to my knowledge doesn’t have weapons or handcuffs. At first impression, I thought, well here is more profligate waste at the expense of the citizenry’s tax dollars, and from a toothless and perpetually corrupt and compromising agency to boot.

But then I thought, why just one intimidating and authoritative looking vehicle. Why not find some cash in the city’s coffers that the Blaz hasn’t spent filling his cabinet with six figure salary glorified interns and his 2017 campaign boosters and solicitors, when we can make a battalion of these trucks, fill them with some cops usually deployed to monitor protests, and track terrorism and basically act as chaperones for tourists and frivolous spending hipshits going bar and artisanal eatery hopping, to go after those 100 slumlords that they list every year and after those creep lobby firms of the likes of James Capalino and Berlin Rosen. Shit, they can probably bust into the opulent residency of one Jared Kushner for his Croman inspired style of owner-tenant relations and discourse.

Of course that’s if there will be anything left in the coffers with Don Worthless still in his twitter lair on 5th avenue and with his trophy wife and kid still residing there while  Barron finishes the school year.