From the NY Times:
A Queens landlord who authorities said had packed nearly 50 people in illegally converted apartments, some in garages and cellars, was charged with reckless endangerment and other crimes on Wednesday, reflecting a growing concern about the kind of overcrowded housing that has been cited in several fatal fires in recent years.
The landlord, Segundo Chimbay, 48, was accused of turning four houses in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst into fire hazards, with subdivided apartments, illegally installed utilities and rooms without required exits, according to Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney.
In the absence of any fire or other disaster in the buildings, Mr. Chimbay’s arrest indicated an increased enforcement of laws banning illegal conversions by the district attorney’s office and other city agencies.
“This property owner sacrificed public safety for his own profit,” said Robert LiMandri, the commissioner of the Buildings Department, in an e-mailed statement. “And his arrest demonstrates that there are serious consequences for creating such dangerous living conditions in New York City.”
Mr. Chimbay, who charged rents from $850 to $1,400 for the illegal dwellings, had been under scrutiny by the Buildings Department since about 2007, when he refused orders to vacate his buildings or bring them up to code, according to the district attorney’s office. There are dozens of violations attached to his name on the Buildings Department’s Web site, including a citation for turning one two-bedroom home into apartments for 13 families.
So it takes 6 years to arrest someone for this? What a joke.