Mr. Livanos Peeping Through His Tenant’s Collapsed Ceiling

mr_livanos_Photo22_1.jpgVia Daily Slope Electronic Mail: “Mr. Livanos peeping down into tenants apartment after collapsing her ceiling in the dark giving no appologies. His mantra to Ms. Tortorella’s complaints were ‘this is not a pizza parlor, this is construction’ ”

See below for the full unexpurgated (and un-spellchecked) version of “CITY AGENCIES IGNORE ILLEGAL ACTIONS DESIGNED TO FORCE TENATS FROM THEIR RENT STABELIZED APARTMENT IN PRESTEGIOUS PARK SLOPE”.

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Information provided by Marian Tortorella, one of the tenants of 598 6th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITY AGENCIES IGNORE ILLEGAL ACTIONS DESIGNED TO FORCE TENATS FROM THEIR RENT STABELIZED APARTMENT IN PRESTEGIOUS PARK SLOPE

A building was purchased in March of 2005 by Rahi Associates LLC. Peter Livanos acting as Manager and Head of Fidelity Construction Company, 374 8th Street, Brooklyn, handed out papers to all of the tenants about the new ownership. He claims there were no deposits obtained when there were and was asking for a deposit from the tenants. The 5 tenants in occupied rent stabilized apartments of 598 6th Street between 8th Ave and Prospect Park West have lived there from 12 years on up to 36 years. The tenants were all given meager monetary offers, or other apartments to live in by Mr. Livanos in exchange to give up their apartments over and over again, and were all refused by the tenants except for one who could not handle the constant loud noise and harassment all summer. The 12 unit building was being demolished around the 5 occupied apartments and the tenants are unaware of who the true owners are as they hide behind a corporate name.

The tenants who currently occupy the building are an elderly retired psychologist and play writer Joseph Molnar, his companion Sandy Mazor, Jack Zorfass, a middle aged graphic artist, Rudy Nunez a hairdresser, artist and musician, and Marian Tortorella, a middle aged former bookkeeper, ASCAP published musician/ singer/songwriter and 2 time breast cancer survivor with a heart condition. Due to Ms. Tortorella’s delicate health, she has been unable to live in her apartment under the current conditions since early October and is currently on a rent strike. She fears now with no heat her plants will soon die and the soundboard of her Upright Grand Sohmer piano will crack along with all of the water pipes in the basement. This will give the management even more power to shut the water supply and force the tenants out.

Complaints were made to the Department of Buildings, Fire Department, The EPA, HPD, Department of Health and Police. Some stop work orders and Violations were issued by the Department of Buildings, although nothing has been done to correct the situation of constant dust, unbearable loud noise beginning at 7 AM, water cut offs without notice, sewer blockages and backups into the building, a ceiling collapse in one of the tenants apartments, walls and ceilings cracking in the occupied apartments, electricity cut off for days at a time, no hot water for days and the entire heating system has been destroyed. The building buzzer system has been broken and some of the phone lines of tenants, Jack Zorfass and Joe Molnar were cut from incoming calls for weeks. Tenants were not aware when an inspector was arriving because no calls were coming in nor could they hear a bell ring.

At 6:30 – 7:00 AM one morning, while tenants were enduring no hot water for several days and no heat in late October they were all given notarized letters written by Mr. Livanos of Rahi Associates, of an Emergency Vacate. He was asking for a vacate for hazardous conditions he himself has created that had not yet been approved by the Department of Buildings.

Assemblyman James Brennan had already taken an interest in the goings on at 598 6th Street, met the tenants and saw the destruction that had been done in the building by the management of Mr. Livanos. Following the phony vacate letter, Mr. Brennan contacted Ms. Hinkson, Commissioner of the Buildings Department to prevent a vacate order requested by Mr. Livanos. She stated she had no intention of issuing a vacate order for 598 6th Street.

Mr. Brennan has arranged for South Brooklyn Legal Services to represent the tenants of 598 6th Street, in Park Slope. Nicole Salk, on December 6th will be present to represent them in Housing Court regarding the conditions in the building.

Now in the heat season since October 1, there has been no heat for any of the occupants and nothing has done to correct the situation. Thanksgiving has come and gone and what is there for these tenants to give Thanks for. The chimney on the roof has been destroyed, the heat vent pipes have been removed and the fire stopping in the basement and in all of the empty apartments have been removed and not replaced causing a serious fire hazard danger.

A buildings department permit issued in July of 2005 only lists an alteration of the building, creating partitions and additional lofts, to make a 12 unit building into 16 units. Mr. Livanos has managed to get away with tearing down every adjoining wall in the empty apartments, removed all the windows, and not replaced them, (remember there is no heat in the building) they have removed the floors, and many support beams, which collapsed Ms. Tortorella’s downstairs ceiling creating an unhealthy dust cloud infesting the entire apartment, as well as damaged a collection of books and LP records.

The Buildings Department permit issued to Rahi Associates specified “No partial demolition” and “no Structural Construction.” Ms. Tortorella went to the Department of Buildings to speak with Chief Inspector Tom Massialino and requested to see the original permit filed, following the ceiling collapse in September. She wanted to know why this demolition is being allowed where people live and showed him the photos of the damage and work being done. He stated that they are doing more than they should and will have to file papers for the proper permits. Nicole Salk of Brooklyn Legal Services contacted Mr. Massialino about the situation and was not given answers to certain questions when asked.

In the meantime, although buildings department inspector Miguel Padua issued a stop work order for work being done on the roof without a permit and bricks falling from the roof, (A tenant has a video of falling bricks) no stop work orders have been followed up and totally ignored. The basement ceiling has been demolished, and the roof has another story being added to it. There is no permit whatsoever issued to alter anything in the basement or on the roof. Complaints have also been made by the adjoining building regarding the wall going up on the roof blocking their light and the constant debris falling from the roof damaging air conditioners’.

Inspectors for the court will be at 598 6th Street in Park Slope between 2PM and 6PM on Tuesday November 29th.

chimney demolished without permits to do so leaving tenants without heat

electric line cut followed by collapsed ceiling replacing structural beams above occupied apartment.

Mr. Livanos peeping down into tenants apartment after collapsing her ceiling in the dark giving no appologies. His mantra to Ms. Tortorella’s complaints were “this is not a pizza parlor, this is construction”

ceiling and wet cement fell on books and record collection in hall leaving dust throughout the entire apartment.

Worker during demolition of 2 apatments, Walls separating the apartments are knocked down

dust flying with doors to public hall open and window open

More photos are available at your request.

17 Replies to “Mr. Livanos Peeping Through His Tenant’s Collapsed Ceiling”

  1. Thanks so much for posting the photo and release. It is making a difference to become more public and allow people to know just how criminal people are to do whatever they want just to make a buck. In the recent Park Slope Courier, Dec. 5 on page 32, by Stephen Witt, attorney for Mr. Livanos says, “If the building collapses and somebody dies, we can say we did everything we could in assisting tenants in relocating and we are not liable,” said Thompson.

    Well Ms. Thompson nothing so far is put in writing, except for an emergency bogus vacate order, phony leases given without a rider attached, requests for a new deposit,
    when some of us have deposits for more than 30 years, and you’ve done everything you could to make this building unsafe.

    Most recently the roof has been removed and not replaced, so the building is being exposed to the outside elements. It was raining in the public hall last week during the storm. None of the agencies are doing anything about this either. They were notified.

    If the building collapses and I should die in it, and we are not liable, well it won’t matter to me to collect any money, I won’t be here, but surely Mr. Livanos will go to jail. I can assure you that.

    I don’t think that this city is that far gone to allow things like that to take place. At least I hope not.

    This place would be a great reality TV show. Right now really loud banging is going on on the roof. It is Sunday and the whole building is shaking. They are probably going to try to collapse the building to prove their point. That is my guess.

    Marian Tortorella

  2. Hi,

    Wanted to fill you in on what happened in court today with Livanos. It was almost strangely comical when Mr. Livanos insisted that he had permission from HPD to give us all electric heaters and installing some kind of wiring in our apartments. Our lawyer, Nicole Salk pointed out to the judge it was against code and produced a recent HPD violation sent to Livanos stipulating that we were to be provided with central heating or an approved gas heating system installed within 24 hours. His attorney, Thompson was stating that he could not install central heating as long as we “occupy our apartments”. That it would take 3 months to install a systerm. Basicly we are in his way, and preventing him from doing his construction so that he can make his big buck and we should have to temporarily vacate. Nicole Salk said flatly no, not an option, because there is no guarantee we will get our apartments back once we vacate. A corporation which “Rahi Associates” is, run by Livanos, who owns the building can disappear very easily and a new owner does not have to honor our agreement. Also we may not get it back as it was, or he can get it destabilized by modernizing it even if we don’t want him to.

    The judge asked to see the approval to install electric heaters by HPD from Thompson and she claims Livanos has left it at home. The judge requests that he have it faxed to her so Mr. Livanos calls his wife on his cell phone (don’t you just love modern technology) and requests she send the HPD letter over to the courthouse. About 10 minutes later the fax arrives. Duhhhh. It is an HPD notice of violation telling him to give us an approved central heating system or gas system.

    What is was boiled down to was we were adjourned until tomorrow in room 409, at 141 Livingston Street so that Mr. Livanos can produce an electrician that can explain to the judge how his electrical heating system will work. We are opposed to an electrical system. We want our pipes put back he claims were broken, that he actually sawed off and dropped on my ceiling all summer long. We also are requesting the chimney rebuilt that he had knocked down.

    Mr. Livanos flatly lied to the judge told and told her the chimney fell down by itself or something like that. 2 of us were there the day it went down and both video taped and photographed the chimney being knocked down. A DOB inspector came by because one of the bricks broke a tenants window, who recorded video of the falling bricks. The inspector once again said he was issuing a Stop Work Order. They never stopped working and the DOB the next day said that the inspector found “nothing going on.”

    What amazes me is how Mr. Livanos has the gall and gets away with letting the hot water stay on for months with that same system when the chimney was chock full of debris, fallen bricks and not functional. Is it surprising Keyspan had to shut the furnace for hot water because of Carbon monoxide?

    Mr. Livanos told the judge “he shut it down himself because it was broken.” He told that to Eyewitness News also and they never aired our interviews. No, it was shut down because I felt nauseous my first night sleeping home after being away from this construction zone for 6 weeks. I called Keyspan feeling sick, smelled fumes and they came an hour later on the 30th of November. My stove was OK, but after Keyspan came up from checking the gas line downstairs he said I was sick from a combination of the furnace fumes in the boiler room and there was 500 or 550 PPM’s of Carbon Monoxide so he shut the furnace and was writing a violation. We did get some of that info to the judge but nothing was said about it.

    Well, tomorrow is another day and I’m signing off. It’s wake up to an alarm of pounding, machines buzzing and humming, workers shouting, heavy objects falling on your ceiling and sawing beginning at 7:00 AM till 5 PM. I also should go to the courthouse to see what happens, although to be honest I’d rather just stay in bed with earplugs and try to sleep it off.

    Marian Tortorella

  3. Hi,

    I’ve been really upset being here in all of the chaos of inspectors, 2 to 3 a day, workers, noise, press, and legal stuff.

    Back to give you some updates on the building:

    We’ve all had electric lines and heaters installed at 598 6th St. , although it is against the building code. Mine came today. The day we all had lines put in last Wednesday mine supposedly was broke. A tenant offed his heater for me and he said no “she deserves this.” He also answered this tenants phone as I was calling to inquire after waitin 7 hours at home for the heater.
    First someone picked up and quickly hung the phone up. The second try, Livanos said, “Oh this is Peter, you must have the wrong #, do you want a pizza?” and hung up. On the 3rd try I asked for the tenant, he didn’t call for him, and when I asked where my heater was he told me “there is no heater and that we only get pizza there, Good-by.”
    Later I discovered this tenant never knew his phone rang and that he was with the electricians dealing with a problem in a different room.

    By law we are supposed to have central heating and we are still batteling it out in court. This heater I find is really not sufficient (it’s been on for a few hours and I am shivering at my computer.) I have to keep my oven on or I really freeze. Not very good if i want to venture away during the holidays. Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Livanos. I doubt Santa will drop by 598 6th Street this year since the chimney has been taken down.

    Yesterday was a nightmare. A huge Kerosene Heater was being used by the workers in the empty apartments while they were working. I began to feel kind of queezy, like standing in Port Authority with 20 buses idling in a tunnel. My kitty was acting really strange for 2 days and kept jumping on the fridge trying to hide. (not normal for her)

    I got a good glimpse of the flames shooting out of this thing about a foot from my bedroom wall, facing a pile of plastic tubing in the apt. next door to mine . The door was kept open so you can see it from the public hall.

    I asked Mr. Livanos to shut the machine, it was not legal, and that it was making me sick. I felt like I was going to pass out from the fumes at this point and really sick to my stomach. He refused, and said I should go to the hospital if I am sick.

    I called 911 to report the machine to the Fire Department. The police arrived first and then the Firemen. The police just politely asked him the shut the machine for the night. The Fire Department on the other hand was not so easy on him. Livanos was kind of flabergasted and said “can’t I use it?” He was told flatly by the fire cheif, “No! Not in a multiple dwelling.” Duhhh….Doesn’t he know how toxic they are without venting? I guess he really doesn’t care who’s health and life he puts in danger.

    This morning while the court inspector was here, he knocked on my door, forced his way in and refused to leave, expecting me to sign a piece of paper allowing him access to my apartment starting today between 9 and 5 for 3 consecutive days to install a heater that takes 1/2 hour and to clean mold on a wall that I could do with bleach for an hour. I had to call the police to get him to leave.

    He finally gave me the heater between 4 and 5 today. He refused to let me photograph the job in my own home then proceeded to photograph me in my home and my things with his cell phone. What do you do about a man like this?

    He has no boundries and will stop at nothing. I suppose at some point if he doesn’t learn to stop, eventually he will crash into a place he doesn’t expect. Perhaps jail.

    Marian Tortorella

  4. I can’t believe what those people are doing to you. It is illegal and abusive, and they should be ashamed. I’m rooting for you, and I wish you strength in dealing with this. I live in Park Slope, off 5th.

  5. Thanks for the input. No, the fight goes on, although I’m not allowed to post any more info on the case here or speak to press. Oh well. I’m hanging in there and surviving with electric heaters and oven. Thank God we’re not having a winter like last year so far. Maybe we will be lucky.

    Blessings and Happy New Year

    Marian Tortorella

  6. Well it has been awhile…..I must tell you that I have given up the fight, gave up and left my lovely apartment after a reoccurance of breast cancer last spring surfaced after 11 years. I could not bear to deal with that environment and noise while sick and recovering. Currently I am living in the country, met a wonderfully handsome music man, am surrounded by woods, birds, deer, mountains and many other wild life.
    Once again I have had to have surgery the same as last year just last week. I miss my apartment in Park Slope but I do not miss the greed that comes with the rising cost of real estate in the Slope and what one will to to occupy or seize an apartment for financial gain. There ought to be a law against that sort of harassment. Unfortunately, many tried to help, but still I lost my apartment. I imagine that this sort of thing is going to happen throughout the city where what once was affordable rents for artists like myself…there will be no more. I try to find peace and comfort where I am but I do miss the peaceful walks along some of the old slated sidewalks, with tree lined streets and lovely brownstones.

    Blessings and Peace to you all who were looking out for my interest.

    Marian Tortorella

  7. Great to hear you are doing well. Marian, I don’t know if you have heard about Jack’s passing. I miss him a lot, as he was a friend and co-worker of mine for over 3 years. I do believe that what Mr. Livanos did to him, as well as his tenants, did put my friend under more duress than he deserved. It makes me sick, but I am glad that you have moved on and looking at things with positivity.

    Take care.

  8. Hello,
    I’m trying to contact my cousin Rudy Nunez who lived at 598 6th Street Bklyn. If anyone has a way to contact him please forward my email address to him it will be greatly appreciated.

    jogrneyes66@aol.com

    Thank you.

  9. Mr. Livanos is a completely shady unscrupulous landlord. Had I known all of this beforehand I would have never rented from this creep.

  10. This is for Tanvir: Did Jack Zorfass have a brother called Robert? I knew a Jack Zorfass once. I wonder if this is the same one.

  11. Well, it appears what goes around comes around as Mr. Livanos has been given the runaround by the city pertaining to his new restaurant on 7th ave. Since this creep didn’t file the proper paper work and obtain a permit to alter the building that houses the restaurant, Livanos has been unable to obtain a liquor license, which as well all know, is incredibly damaging to any restaurant in NYC. This comes on the heals of another controversy and a suspicious fire in the same building that forced tenants out. What a creep.

  12. The creep was also led out in handcuffs from his new restaurant, accused of sexual harassment. That not usually a charge that leads to an arrest so I’m guessing whatever he did was pretty inappropriate. Of course he claims it was a big misunderstanding but took the time to write a fake “review” of his restaurant on yelp calling his accuser a variety of names. The review has since been taken down by yelp.

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