From the Daily News:
Forcing tenants to live in squalor can sock a landlord with hefty fines, but in this case it could send the owner to jail.
Tenants of 1585 E. 172nd St. in Soundview went to court more than a year ago over collapsing floors and leaking, crumbling ceilings, black mold and rat infestations.
"They kept saying they would send someone to make repairs but they never did," said tenant association President Martha Castro, whose kitchen floor is slowly collapsing from numerous leaks caused by damaged water pipes.
Castro's building is part of the infamous Ocelot portfolio, 25 structures purchased by Ocelot Capital with inflated mortgages at the height of the real estate boom, and then abandoned to disrepair when the company went under.
Castro's building and five other Ocelot properties were transferred to Hunter Property Management, owned by Sam Suzuki, who made the Village Voice's list of the city's 10 worst landlords. Two of the buildings are on the city's list of 100 worst-maintained buildings.
The tenants' lawsuit dragged on until last month, when Hunter's lawyer quit the case and was never replaced. With Hunter a no-show at a hearing at the end of March, the judge held both Hunter and Suzuki in contempt of court.
Unless the landlord makes the necessary repairs, the judge could go further at a hearing at the end of this month and issue a civil imprisonment order against Suzuki.