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For Immediate Release
March 4, 2010

BUILDINGS COMMISSIONER LIMANDRI AND INVESTIGATION COMMISSIONER GILL HEARN ANNOUNCE FILING BAN AGAINST ARCHITECT ROBERT SCARANO

Judge Finds that Architect Filed False Documents with Buildings Department Related to Three Properties in Brooklyn

Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn today announced that Registered Architect Robert Scarano has been barred from filing all building documents, including permit applications and construction plans, with the Department of Buildings following a hearing at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings. On March 1, Administrative Law Judge Joan R. Salzman found that Mr. Scarano knowingly made false and misleading statements to the Department of Buildings on documents relating to buildings at 145 Snediker Avenue, 158 Freeman Street and 1037 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn.  Based on Judge Salzman's recommendation, Commissioner LiMandri issued an order yesterday prohibiting Mr. Scarano from submitting any document with the Department of Buildings. Under Chapter 542 of the Laws of 2007 for New York State, the Buildings Commissioner has the authority to prohibit any person from filing applications if they are found to have knowingly or negligently submitted false documents.

"Licensed professionals must understand they have an obligation to follow the law so the safety and quality of life of our neighborhoods are not compromised," said Buildings Commissioner LiMandri.   "Mr. Scarano repeatedly submitted false documents in an attempt to circumvent the law and have illegal buildings approved. As a result, and based on the administrative law judge's recommendation, we have banned him from filing any construction documents in New York City."

"In matters affecting public safety there is no tolerance for shady practices," said DOI Commissioner Gill Hearn. "Professionals who intentionally file misleading documents to deceive the City betray the public trust. DOI and DOB will continue to root out unscrupulous professionals who flout the City's rules intended to protect the public."

The Department of Buildings and Department of Investigation filed administrative charges against Mr. Scarano in 2008, alleging that he made false or misleading statements on documents submitted to the Department of Buildings in two separate cases.

  • 145 Snediker Avenue, Brooklyn.  Buildings inspectors determined that a utility pole was located in an unsafe manner within the path of the driveway at 145 Snediker Avenue. As a result, the Department of Buildings refused to issue a final approval for the construction of the driveway until the pole was moved to a safe location and was no longer an obstruction. In October 2008, Mr. Scarano submitted photographs and documents to the Department of Buildings indicating that the utility pole had been moved. However, Judge Salzman found that misleading documents were submitted by Mr. Scarano regarding the location of the utility pole in order to obtain a final construction approval.

  • 158 Freeman Street & 1037 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn. In 2002, Mr. Scarano submitted a professionally-certified application to construct a new five-story, four-unit apartment building at 158 Freeman Street, which was located on a L-shaped zoning lot fronting Manhattan Avenue and Freeman Street. On the building plans, Mr. Scarano did not accurately represent a four-story, 10-unit building already existing on the zoning lot. In 2000, Mr. Scarano had submitted an application for this four-story building, located at 1037 Manhattan Avenue. The two buildings, as designed by Mr. Scarano, were too large to occupy the same zoning lot or two independent zoning lots. Between 2007 and 2008, Mr. Scarano submitted two sets of amended plans for 158 Freeman Street, each time misrepresenting compliance with zoning regulations in order to gain approval of an oversized building. Judge Salzman found that Mr. Scarano made false and misleading statements to the Department of Buildings regarding the details of the buildings at 158 Freeman Street and 1037 Manhattan Avenue for the purposes of building larger structures than permitted under the Zoning Resolution.

Following the order to bar Mr. Scarano from filing documents with the Department of Buildings, the Department has notified the New York State Education Department of the ban, and Commissioner LiMandri is recommending that the agency take steps to revoke Mr. Scarano's New York State license. The charges brought against Mr. Scarano are the result of a joint investigation between the Department of Building's Special Enforcement Team and the Department of Investigation's Buildings Special Investigation Unit. These teams were formed to identify and build cases against individuals and companies who repeatedly violate building and zoning regulations. Under the state law, which was signed in August 2007, the Department of Buildings has brought false filing cases against eight architects and engineers, including Mr. Scarano. Of these cases, the Department of Buildings has barred Professional Engineer Tore Hansen, Registered Architect Carl Giangrande and Registered Architect Harry Steven Wild from filing any documents with the Department. The other cases are currently pending at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Contact:     Tony Sclafani/Carly Sullivan (Buildings) (212) 566-3473
                    Diane Struzzi (DOI) (212) 825-5931

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