The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has released its July 2018 enforcement bulletin, which provides highlights of the agency’s actions to sanction and deter bad actors in the construction industry through the enforcement of safety laws and codes of conduct for construction professionals. The Aug. 28 bulletin includes summaries of DOB-imposed disciplinary actions, including penalties and license suspensions and revocations.
The actions below represent a portion of DOB’s overall work to enforce the city’s building codes and safety laws, in addition to the thousands of inspections conducted and violations issued by the agency each month for illegal building and construction conditions, the DOB says in a statement.
In the release, the DOB said it received the voluntary surrender of professional certification and Directive 14 privileges from the following design professionals, as a result of submitting professional certified applications with multiple code non-compliances: Vladimir Constant, P.E., Robert Strong, R.A., and John Springer, R.A.
DOB took a number of major enforcement actions in July, including:
- A total of 38 violations and $407,050 in penalties, including daily penalties, issued for illegal building alterations on 13 separate occasions.
- A total of 43 violations and $285,375 in penalties, including daily penalties, issued for illegal transient use of buildings at 11 different locations.
- 37 violations and $445,000 in penalties issued for failure to safeguard construction sites on 35 separate occasions.
- 11 violations and $125,000 in penalties issued to 11 different individuals for failure to carry out duties as construction superintendents.
Below are individual enforcement highlights for July 2018:
- $43,000 in penalties issued to safety registrant, MNR Group, Inc. for work without a permit, work contrary to approved plans, and a failure to safeguard a construction site, after wood construction debris fell from the building’s fourth floor fire escape and injured a child on the sidewalk below at 83-01 35th Ave., Queens.
- $25,000 in penalties issued to general contractor Vector Building Corp. where a worker was injured after falling one story through a hole in the floor at a construction site at 415 East 53rd St., Manhattan.
- $16,000 in penalties issued to professional engineer Daniel Odigie for submitting deficient designs for sidewalk sheds at different locations around Brooklyn. DOB had previously obtained a surrender of Mr. Odigie’s self-certification privileges after his deficient design of a sidewalk shed led to a collapse on Nov. 19, 2017 at 568 Broadway, Manhattan.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to construction superintendent Marie Grasso for not being present at a construction site, as required, while concrete form work was taking place at 89-25 190th St., Queens. DOB inspectors also noted multiple other safety violations at the site during their inspection.
- $10,000 in penalties issued to safety registrant JRM Construction Management LLC, for providing inadequate safety measures when operating a tower crane at 422 Fulton St., Brooklyn. While performing a critical pick, the tower crane’s counterweight made contact with a column on the 9th floor of the building, damaging both the crane and the building’s structure.
$10,000 in penalties and 12 months of probation were issued to licensed master plumber Misael Morales for performing gas work without a permit, using prohibited materials for piping, using workers who were not on his payroll to perform plumbing work, and for failing to be properly established.
$10,000 in penalties issued to general contractor Superb Property Management for the unsafe operation of a crane at 476 Lafayette Ave,, after the crane was used to hoist material over a parked car on the street.
- $5,000 in penalties and two years of probation were issued to general contractor and special rigger Balwinder Singh for failing to implement safeguards during the erection of a scaffold during which one worker suffered non-fatal injuries.
- $55,000 in penalties issued to Branic International Realty Co. for illegal transient use, work without a permit, and illegal occupancy at the Marrakech Hotel at 2690 Broadway, Manhattan. The legal Class A multiple dwelling building had been illegally converted into a 48-room transient hotel.
- $50,000 in penalties issued to Lamar Advertising of Penn LLC, for displaying illegal outdoor signs without proper permits at 1595 Forest Ave.
- $49,000 in penalties issued to property owner Tito Roberto Opico for converting a legal two-family home at 146-39 106 Ave., Queens, into an illegal six-family home by creating illegal Single Room Occupancies (SROs) in the attic and basement.
- $48,200 in penalties issued to property owner John Brake for converting the single family townhouse at 263 Hancock St., Brooklyn, into a three-unit short term rental, advertised on the home sharing website www.homeaway.com.
- $47,400 in penalties issued to Rahmatolla Mizrahi for the illegal conversion of a legal 2 family home into an illegal four family home, with illegally occupied apartments on the first floor and in the basement at 65-08 Austin St., Queens.
- $25,000 in penalties issued to building owner Dah Lee Trading Corp., after an unsafe makeshift platform was erected that resulted in a fatal fall by the building’s superintendent at 8705 Bay Pkwy., Brooklyn.
- $20,000 in penalties issued to LF East 21 Property Co LLC for displaying an illegal advertising sign without a permit at 187 Spring St., Manhattan.
- $16,600 in penalties issued to property owner Erika Singletary for illegal alterations and work without a permit at 1288 Sutter Ave., Brooklyn, after inspectors found the legal two-family home had been converted into nine illegal single room occupancies (SROs), all with individual key locking devices.
- $15,000 in penalties issued to the Chinese Merchants Association for displaying an illegal advertising sign without a permit at 184 Canal St., Manhattan.
$12,500 in penalties issued to 851 Prospect Av LLC for a metal roll down gate at the front of the building that detached from the building and collapsed onto the sidewalk at 851 Prospect Ave., Bronx.
$11,250 in penalties issued to property owner Siozios Kostantinos for the illegal occupancy of a warehouse building at 61 Ellis St., Staten Island. The building was being illegally used as a massage parlor named “Qmei Spa” and had illegally constructed apartments and bedrooms, contrary to the building’s Certificate of Occupancy.
- $4,800 in penalties issued to BH 110 West 130 LLC for false statements regarding occupied housing made on a PW-1 form for a construction permit application for construction at 110 West 130 St., Manhattan.
- $4,800 in penalties issued to West 116th St. Associates LP for false statements regarding occupied housing made on a PW-1 form for a permit application for construction at 1428 5th Ave., Manhattan.
- $4,000 in penalties issued to 17 State Owner LLC after inspectors observed that required chairs, tables, and trees were missing from a Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) plaza at 17 State St., Manhattan (aka 9-19 State St.), in violation of a 1986 agreement the property owners made with the city.
Other violations and enforcement actions included:
- A criminal court summons was issued to 517-525 West 45 LLC and Naim Offir for failure to maintain the elevator at 521 West 45th St., Manhattan in a code compliant manner, as legally required. The elevator in the five-story building was non-operational since 2017, and the landlord was on the DOB’s Top Elevator Offender list. As a result of the actions taken by the DOB, a new elevator was installed and is now operational.
- Following the issuance of warning letters and violations from the department for an illegal business office inside of a residential property at 4308 Richmond Ave., Staten Island, the illegal use was discontinued and the property was reverted back to its prior legal use as a residence.
- Following the issuance of warning letters from the department for illegal dead-vehicle storage on a residential property at 58 Cedar Cliff Rd., Staten Island, the illegal use was discontinued and the dead vehicles were removed from the property.
- Following the issuance of a violations from the department for an illegal auto repair and junk storage at a residential property at 107-41 Pinegrove St., Queens, the illegal use was discontinued and the property was reverted back to it prior legal use as a residence.