BY Daniel Beekman
DAILY NEWS WRITER
An accused Bronx slumlord was released from jail last week, but a judge could order him back to the slammer Monday.
Real estate mogul Sam Suzuki’s fate could be moot for his tenants, because a new landlord is primed to take charge.
Suzuki won temporary release by arguing he’s no longer responsible for repairs at the rundown Bronx River apartment building where he and his management company were sued by tenants last year.
On Monday, the tenants and Housing Court Judge Jerald Klein will demand proof.
“We need to see he’s truly not in control,” said Legal Aid Society lawyer Jessica Bellinder, who represents the tenants.
Klein ordered Suzuki to jail for contempt on June 24 after his company failed to complete repairs at 1585 E. 172nd St., one of six deteriorated buildings a company called BXP1 bought from Ocelot Capital last year.
Suzuki argued jail time would slow repairs at the building and vowed to “crack the whip” on contractors there. The building has 695 housing violations, city records show.
Suzuki also claimed he only manages 1585 E. 172nd St. building for its shadowy owner, BXP 1.
That argument and the pending transfer of the building to the Bluestone Group investment firm this month, prompted Klein to free Suzuki after 23 days behind bars, said Bellinder.
Crain’s New York Business newspaper reported on Tuesday that Suzuki said he served time rather than disclose the names of the investors who make up BXP 1.
According to Bellinder, Suzuki’s lawyer told the judge on Friday that BXP 1’s structure must be kept secret because of Japanese business norms, and said Suzuki fears for his life. His lawyer, Alice Belmonte, did not return phone calls. But tenant advocates called Suzuki’s tale “ridiculous.”
Suzuki signed “every mortgage and legal document” for BXP 1 last year, said Dina Levy of the nonprofit Urban Homesteading Advisory Board, which helped organize the Bronx River tenants.
Klein could send Suzuki back to jail Monday, said Bellinder. But UHAB has already shifted focus to Bluestone, which it regards as yet another speculator.
Levy charged that Bluestone has no plan to restore the building and five others, whose mortgage debt it bought this month.
Bluestone overpaid for the debt and has no clue what the buildings need, she charged.
A Bluestone spokesman urged the tenants to “give us a chance.”
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
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