Note – The management company in this news story used some of the same tactics Riverstone Residential uses. They are being held accountable for at least something but not all so far. Riverstone Residential seems to get away with much, much more. katy
NY1 For You Follow Up: Help On The Way For Mold-Displaced Family
By: Susan Jhun
A family in Manhattan is seeing some positive results after NY1 For You investigated claims of toxic mold in their rented apartment. NY1’s Susan Jhun filed the following report.
Seth Nagel claims he was forced to uproot his family members from their Chelsea apartment when mold in the walls made them all sick.
“I don’t sleep at night from frustration,” he said.
Nagel and his wife Andrea says his four-year-old son, Abraham was particularly affected.
“He was vomiting. He wasn’t gaining weight. We took him to the doctor about a dozen times within four months,” said the boy’s mother.
NY1 first reported on the Nagel’s situation last month, when the family left its rented apartment after it tested positive for toxic levels of mold. The highest concentration was in Abraham’s room.
“I detected a particular kind of mold called Stachybotrys that is specific for children,” explained Laurence Molloy, an expert on indoor contamination.
Attorneys for Urban Associates, the management company which runs buildings for 433 West Associates, LLC, claimed the building hired its own experts whose mold findings for Abraham’s room were within an “acceptable level.”
NY1 asked for documentation supporting those claims but did not receive any. Management did admit the building had a mold and leak problem it was trying to address with a clean-up plan, but said it could not since the Nagels would not allow access to their apartment.
In response, the Nagels say a series of professionals determined the proposed clean-up plan would do more harm than good.
The building’s owner is now in court fighting to gain access to the Nagel’s and other tenant’s apartments.
In the meantime, the Nagels are living out of a hotel, and at the time of NY1’s first report, they had not been reimbursed for their expenses. Fortunately, that changed after our story aired.
“Your story got relayed to our insurance company and, within a matter of days, phone calls were exchanged,” Nagel said. “And we got our first check.”
Nagel estimates the check for $20,000 only about 40 percent of what he’s spent so far, but he says at least it’s something, and so is the reaction from the Department of Buildings.
“Thank goodness the Department of Buildings responded to your story,” he said.
DOB confirms its inspectors found the façade of the building was bulging and cracking, which was allowing water to infiltrate the apartments and create mold. DOB issued a violation to the owner a week after the original story aired and then re-inspected the building a few weeks later and found repairs had not been made.
DOB issued an Environmental Control Board violation for failing to make repairs, and 433 West Associates will have to appear in court at the end of this month.
The Nagels consider it a small victory in a war that the family says is being fought all over the city.
“It’s not just my family. I mean we’re the face of this now,” he said. “We came to you and you’re helping us. But the truth is, it’s tens of thousands of people.”
NY1 will continue to follow this story.