From the Daily News:
In the days leading up to the Mets' exhibition opener last week at Citi Field, city agencies made a sweep of businesses at Willets Point, a gritty industrial zone across from the $850 million stadium.
The multi-agency raids on Thursday and Friday ended with 11 businesses shut down, according to state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens).
One of the business owners who was targeted, Ahmed Aryana of Aryana Auto Body, said he pays $4,000 a month in rent and can't afford to close for even a few days.
"Every year they come and they check [for code violations]," he said of city inspectors. "It was no problem. But [Thursday] when they came, they say something is no good in the roof."
The Buildings Department issued vacate orders to three Willets Point properties for violations, including rusted support beams, "questionable" welding and "structurally compromised" roofs, said agency spokeswoman Kate Lindquist.
"The buildings are not safe for occupancy," Lindquist said, noting the sweep was conducted along with the NYPD after cops notified the Buildings Department of "unsafe" conditions.
11 businesses were located on the three shuttered properties.
The crackdown comes as the city attempts to negotiate deals with landowners to redevelop the property. It controls more than half of the privately owned land in the tract.
Newly elected Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Jackson Heights), who is holding a press conference with Monserrate today, said she believes the crackdown is an effort to deprive holdout landlords of rent and motivate them to ink a deal with the city.
Interesting that Monserrate threw these folks under the bus and now apparently is pulling them back out and dusting them off to rehab his image. But this is less about him than about turning this city into a police state.
More interesting is that the 110th Precinct is now apparently in charge of driving around and looking for problems with buildings. In my neighborhood, they claim they don't have enough manpower to handle their actual police work, never mind pulling double duty as buildings inspectors.
Have to agree with Julissa on this one. The EDC, Bloomberg, Marshall, Shulman and Parkside will do anything to get the land for cheap. They are doing the dirty work of the developers.