Tuesday, December 13, 2011
They could have prevented a tragedy
From the Daily News:
The rundown Brooklyn house where a police officer was shot to death Monday has long been on the city’s radar screen as a trouble spot.
The city has spent $6,500 in taxpayer money on emergency repairs at 25 Pine St. in Cypress Hills and has repeatedly cited the owner for running an illegal single-room occupancy hotel in what is supposed to be a two-family home.
Neighbors believed it was a drug den.
Problems with the building began almost from the day Amanda Sanclemente paid $570,000 for it with no money down in fall 2006. Six months later, in March 2007, the city Buildings Department got the first call alleging the home had been illegally converted into apartments.
Since then building inspectors have visited the house 16 times, the last time in February, records show.
Again and again, callers provided specific allegations, such as "rooms in this house were converted into SRO including the basement,” and “Ventilation system was cut off in the bathroom due to illegal conversion."
Usually the inspectors would visit twice, and if they couldn’t get in, they’d close the case. That happened seven times.
When inspectors managed to get enough evidence of illegal apartments, they cited the owner for violating building codes. Still the illegal apartments and poor conditions did not materially change.