Permitting Too Much With Buildings? Illegal construction work created water leaks, mold & other problems

National Apartment Association Tells Its Members MOLD CAUSES DEATH; Tells Courts It Doesn’t With The Help of US Chamber and UCLA

Thank You National Apartment Association. I will do my best to get this very important information out ASAP to numerous owners, investors, huge property management companies (e.g., Riverstone Residential), attorneys, and judges, AND, of course, to the MANY people who are currently living in MOLD-INFESTED APARTMENT COMPLEXES right now! katy

Regulators Make Limited Checks on Data From Property Owners; City Says System of Inspections and Audits Is Working.

Jacob Avid, the building’s owner, said the architect made a mistake on the application in saying the building was vacant. Mr. Leder-Luis says the building’s owner was at fault. “He was supposed to vacate before commencing work and he didn’t vacate the building,” Mr. Leder-Luis said.

JUNE 9, 2010

Construction of two new floors started last year on an officially vacated West Side townhouse. But there was a big problem: The building was nearly fully occupied.

That made the construction illegal. The work created water leaks, mold and other problems that persist even though construction has now halted, residents at the building say. One tenant at an adjoining building said the mold got so bad she has temporarily moved out.

“They were drilling in bedrock in the backyard and cranes were dropping stuff on the roof,” says Nadine Herman, who currently lives in the townhouse. “We complained to the block association. We called 311. But they said there was nothing they could do because the proper permits were all there.”

The Department of Buildings initially approved the work permit after the building owner’s application indicated the townhouse was vacant. Upon learning that seven of the eight units were being rented, the department ordered the work to stop a few months later.

To the department’s critics, the continuing saga at 315 W. 103rd St. highlights problems with building-permit procedures. The department has limited means to verify information in permit applications, and if it finds false representations, it can be slow to enforce violations.

Currently, there are 177,518 violations issued by the buildings department that are unresolved and 45,270 violations pending before the Environmental Control Board, a court where the department brings safety violations for a hearing, according to a report from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

While many of these violations are minor, the report said that about 15,000 of the ECB violations were classified as hazardous. The average period these violations remains open is nearly five years.

“There is no consistent enforcement,” says Mr. Stringer. He recommends establishing a separate division for inspecting buildings and enforcement, leaving the issuing of permits with the buildings department. “The DOB is simply responsible for more than it has proven able to handle,” Mr. Stinger wrote.

Buildings department spokesman Tony Sclafani said Mr. Stringer’s report was “misguided” and that the current system is working. He said the department undertook 6,000 audits last year. For repeat offenders, the department can bar an architect from working in the city and it can issue fines up to $25,000. “We take serious action when warranted,” Mr. Sclafani said.

In March, the department barred an architect from submitting construction plans, which effectively prevents him from working as an architect in the city, after charging that he submitted false documents to get certain plans approved. He was the fourth architect to be barred since a 2007 law was enacted.

Tenants at West 103rd Street say that their case illustrates the system still has vulnerabilities if an applicant provides false information. The initial work application in 2008 requested permission to convert the three-story townhouse to five stories and other extensions, public records show.

After asking some follow-up questions about the work, the department approved the application. On multiple work forms, the architect Julio Leder-Luis who filed the paperwork on behalf of the owner either stated the building was vacant or left that question unanswered.

Jacob Avid, the building’s owner, said the architect made a mistake on the application in saying the building was vacant. Mr. Leder-Luis says the building’s owner was at fault. “He was supposed to vacate before commencing work and he didn’t vacate the building,” Mr. Leder-Luis said.

With the application approved, work began in early 2009, and tenant complaints about noise, dust and vermin soon followed. A tenant at an adjoining co-op building noticed water damage a few months later after construction workers tore up a material that was meant to prevent water from seeping in. Upon finding mold, she paid to have the walls and floor torn up.

After tenants appealed directly to the buildings department that the townhouse was still inhabited, the department issued a stop-work order.

Mr. Avid says he’s complied with the department’s requests. “We’ve corrected almost all the items the buildings department wanted and we should have a permit soon,” he said.

Mr. Sclafani said the “owner still needs to address numerous objections, meeting all construction and fire-safety requirements.” He said the department wouldn’t have approved the permit if it knew the building was occupied, adding that a department investigation has started.

TRUTH OUT Sharon Kramer Letter To Andrew Saxon MOLD ISSUE

Action Group Asks U of CA To Take Name Off US Chamber Medico-Legal Publication

Regents of the University of California acknowledge imprimatur on 2003 US Chamber of Commerce medico-legal publication

New Action Committee – ACHEMMIC- Urges Transparency in EPA Policy Over Mold & Microbial Contaminants

Truth About Mold – the most up to date, accurate, and reliable information on Toxic Mold

FEMA Using US Chamber Fraud in Katrina Trailer Litigation; EPA, GAO & Both Isle$ of Congre$$ Turn Blind Eye$

Sociological Issues Relating to Mold: The Mold Wars

Certain Corporate and Government Interests Have Spent Huge Sums of Money and Resources DENYING THE TRUTH about the HEALTH EFFECTS of TOXIC MOLD

Political Action Committee – National Apartment Association (NAA) files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry

“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer

Information about Riverstone Residential, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, and the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana allowing tenants to be exposed to extreme amounts of toxins from molds by intentionally concealing evidence

Irrefutable evidence indicates that Riverstone Residential, Guarantee Service Team of Professionals, & plaintiffs’ attorney, J Arthur Smith III, must have agreed to exclude evidence that would have shown the owners of Jefferson Lakes Apartments & Riverstone Residential had knowledge of the severe MOLD INFESTATION at the complex before we moved in

Riverstone Residential Litigation

Mold Inspection Reports

Photos of Mold in Apartment

Attorney Malpractice

About Sharon Kramer

Hi, I'm an advocate for integrity in health marketing and in the courts.
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