From the Times Ledger:
The city Department of Buildings is compiling documents and records to hand over to the Queens district attorney’s office in hopes of building a criminal case against two city construction companies that are suspected of reporting more than 1,000 Queens homeowners in recent months for building code violations to generate more business, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) said.
As early as September, the companies have used the 311 call system to lodge hundreds of anonymous, unfounded complaints alleging that entire blocks of homes across the borough have been renting out their basements or performing work without a permit, according to Halloran.
After making the complaints, the companies blanket the neighborhoods with letters advertising their services, which include improving homes in order to avoid DOB fines, the councilman said.
Logs of 311 phone calls obtained by the DOB indicate that at least two-thirds of such complaints made in the past several months originated with either Ticket Busters Inc. of Flushing or Airitan Management Inc. of Brooklyn, said Halloran.
Representatives of both companies denied making the 311 complaints.
“We don’t report people, that’s not our job,” said Ronnie Tan, an auditor at Airitan, citing “company privacy” when asked how it determines where to send letters.
The DOB did not respond to numerous e-mails and phone calls requesting comment, although in December a spokesman said the agency was investigating the complaints.