Via 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. Tortorellaâ€™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 â€“ 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. Tortorellaâ€™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 â€œNo partial demolitionâ€ and â€œno Structural Construction.â€ 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 conditionersâ€™.
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.