Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DA probing criminal charges in fatal fire

From the NY Post:

The city Buildings Department first received a complaint in 1990 alleging the crammed Queens home where a fire killed three residents and critically injured four others early Saturday had been illegally subdivided.

A second complaint was made in 2004 -- but both times, inspectors declared the charge unfounded.

"[The calls] came in, we inspected, and at the time, there was no evidence of an illegal conversion at that home," said Buildings spokesman Tony Sclafani. But he said the department "will conduct a thorough review of the inspection history at this site."

From ABC 7:

The Queens District Attorney has launched a full criminal investigation into a house fire in Queens that killed three people over the weekend.

As police monitored the now vacant two-story home on 65th street in Woodside, residents reacted to the news. "Many people live in the house," neighbor Veronica Castillo said. "This is a problem."

City leaders acknowledged the home had been illegally subdivided, a renovation that perhaps cost the victims their lives.

Records from the Department of Buildings show inspectors responded to complaints and visited the home in 1990 and then again in 2004. And while inspectors saw nothing wrong, the department is now reviewing those findings.

From the Daily News:

Local politicians and the dead men's relatives were outraged yesterday by the lethal conditions inside the home.

"How many more firefighters do we have to put at risk before we crack down on these illegal subdivisions?" asked City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria).

"I thought the city had learned its lesson but apparently not," said Vallone. "It's outrageous that we allow these conditions to exist in New York."

You tell us, Mr. Public Safety. Why haven't you drafted any legislation about this? Maybe you'll do so during your unnecessary third term.


Anonymous said...

Records from the Department of Buildings show inspectors responded to complaints and visited the home in 1990 and then again in 2004. And while inspectors saw nothing wrong, the department is now reviewing those findings


Anonymous said...

will the property owners be arrested?

I sure as heck hope so, send a message to other slumlords.

welcome to America, so you can rip off then kill your own kind?

Taxpayer said...

Let's just see if DA Brown has any balls.

DOB's boss is the Commissar.

The Commissar is entirely responsible for all failures in DOB.

It's no coincidence that all DOB's failures are beneficial to the Commissar and his extremely wealthy cronies.

We taxpayers have a right to totally honest services from all elected and appointed officials.

As a matter of fact, there is a federal law that says just that. As a matter of even more fact, it's called the federal honest services act.

Former NY State Senate leader Joe Bruno is being prosecuted under that act.

Let's push for the Commissar to now be prosecuted for failure to deliver honest services. Then, add to that conviction, the criminal negligence in the deaths of all who died as a result of his action or failure to act honestly.

If we cannot dump him, let's jail him.

We can all laugh at him for spending 200 or 300 million dollars for a jail cell.

Anonymous said...

The DOB will do nothing! I've called regarding many homes on my street. They come, can't gain access and the complaint gets filed away. EVERYONE needs to complain to our elected officials, FDNY, IRS and DOB. Don't wait for someone else to do it!

Anonymous said...

"How many more firefighters do we have to put at risk before we crack down on these illegal subdivisions?" asked City Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria).

That's the rub - it's not only a tenent or neighboring household that is in danger, it is the fireman and police who respond to these illegal buildings in a rescue situation.

The city need to review and terminate all self-certification from the past 10 years. These will be rift of fraudulent CO certifications that will have a significant affect regarding lawsuits against the city.

Anonymous said...

Enforcement should mean 1. inspect 2. issue violation 3. insure correction of condition

What we have is a system of 1. receive complaint 2. take a cursory look from outside 3. file as resolved

Anonymous said...

I like how the politicans read this and then tell the clueless not to go here because its a bad place (like Temenant is a fun place)

But in any case, lets publish this again and again.

Needless to say, illegal conversions in Mr Public Safety's district was the cause of the power grid failure a few years back (while Mr Public Safety, and neighbor party boss Gloria DAmico sat in air conditioned comfort because they oversaw new cables put in by the waterfront to supprot the soon to be developed 50 story barracks)

so...lets do this again:


Vallone said, “The rezoning is an effort to prevent people from tearing down existing buildings to construct new buildings that are out of character, while allowing homeowners to improve and expand their property in context with the area.”

Look, when a politican sends out coded statements like this, everyone knows what they are saying.

You need to write to him, publish a copy in the Gazette, and send a copy to Crappy, on sponsoring legistlation to stop illegal conversions.

And do it over and over and over again.

he he he he

Anonymous said...

If Inspectors cannot gain entrance to a building that has been reported as illegal or unsafe they should issue a fine to the owner or the person answering the door, in the owners name, $500 a day until they can gain ebtrance. At some Community meetings members are told that you donot have to let inspectors in. That should be
changed immediately.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor, the DOB, the Census Bureau, fuck it EVERYONE is fully aware this is going on and you know what? NOBODY GIVES A DAMN.

Auntie Invasion said...

What happened is that the landlord gave the DOB inspector $50 to go away, write down, no access.

It was on record twice, so those people who called in 1990 and 2004 did right. It does pay to call 311, get the service request number and keep a log of all calls to the city about what ever it is you want done.

If it doesn't come out in the rinse it comes out in the wash. Eventually it came out in a tragic manner. Would they have stayed here taking jobs from Americans if they lived? Probably. They deserved to live happily in their countries of origin.

My concern now is that the illegal immigrants who were living in these buildings NOT be handed housing benefits by the City. Give it to an American instead who has been on the list over 10 years first.

Please deport any illegal immigrants found in the building and any of the evacuated buildings.

Any concern I might have had is gone given my experiences in the neighborhood w/ illegal and legal immigrants. They are here to invade and take over. Illegal immigrants waste no time on concern for me or any other American. We are in their way with our pesty Building Codes, City and zoning laws. They disregard these local laws the same way they disregard our immigration laws.

Observe how the local politicians will race to help illegal immigrants before Americans. Eric Gioia will run to hand them subsidized housing. This is how illegal immigrants become professional line jumpers.

Have you ever gone to your local politician for help with a persistent problem? Many Americans are not that pushy, wanting to ride out the problem or solve it themselves. If you go to a local elected politician's office in this district, Woodside. you see aggressive illegal immigrants demanding services. The politicians office has less resources to help you because they are assisting non-citizen, non-voters.

Insanity? yes. It is insane for a house to burn down and people to die because of the greed of the slumlord.

The landlords were aided and abetted by anyone who helped them buy the house, the mortgage company, the bank, the community group that is rah rah illegal immigrant, the illegal immigrant lobby comprised of Religious groups and let's not forget the Emerald Isle Immigration Center.

The DA's office should be investigating all of the above. But Brown is the original Queens Crap so watch as so much hot air comes down we could use him as a convection oven.

Anonymous said...

When i lived in NYC up until this summer there was an illegal conversion in our basement. Probably 6-8 people living there. It was reported in 2007 but as always not actually checked since it is impossible to miss. Maybe time to re-report this.

Anonymous said...

It was reported in 2007 but as always not actually checked since it is impossible to miss. Maybe time to re-report this.

Ya think?

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to flood their local representatives with complaints before this story gets old and before we lose more lives.

Anonymous said...

The sad part of this and many other similar situations is always the same. Illegaly converted house = Fire = Death and the DA once again will investigate in order to bring charges against the landlord. It's to little to late. Everyone knows how many illegal conversions are in their neighborhood but the DA & DOB & the politicians do nothing about it. Why?

Anonymous said...

Most illegal conversions are done without the telltale signs of multiple gas meters or doorbells that is required for the Department of Buildings to obtain an entrance warrant from the courts. The courts, noting constitutional protections do not issue them without " a preponderance of evidence". Any suggestions out there?

Anonymous said...

The DA should charge the buildings inspectors who saw nothing. 1st job requirement for being a building inspector is obviously being blind!

Anonymous said...

In Nassau County if buildings dept wants to be inside your house, you have no choice but to let them in!

Anonymous said...

How do you get the home owners insurance company info? That's one way to stick it to all the illegal conversions. Send them and the mortgage company the complaint info, send them the link to DOB website, and let them be on notice. Then when something bad happens - they take a big hit. Like all the 911 callers told the police about the drunk lady on the Thruway and Taconic. That helps in civil trial. Then those home owners get blackballed in the insurance industry, which will tag their hidden credit records. The community boards should give this a try.