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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


New York, NY – NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero announced that a decision was issued today by Bronx Housing Court Judge Jerald Klein ordering the landlord Sam Suzuki to be imprisoned for civil contempt for failing to comply with the July 20, 2009 order to repair Housing Maintenance Code violations issued by HPD at 1585 East 172nd Street in the Bronx. Judge Klein signed the order lifting a temporary stay of the contempt, stating that he would sign an order “committing respondent [Suzuki] to jail for the civil contempt of the Court's Order. Said incarceration shall continue until respondents comply with the July 20, 2009 Order or upon further order of the Court.”

“Mr. Suzuki was directed to comply with Court issued orders to correct violations at 1585 East 172nd Street and to date has not done so. As Housing Court Judge Jerald Klein found, Mr. Suzuki's conduct displayed a flagrant disregard for and defiance of the Court's authority and his failure to correct the immediately hazardous and hazardous conditions prejudiced the tenants' rights and HPD's right to enforce housing standards in order to preserve decent and safe housing accommodations,” said Commissioner Cestero. “It is regrettable that this has come to this pass, but the fact remains, no tenant should ever have to endure these conditions. I am proud of the role that HPD's Housing Litigation Division has played in supporting this tenant action and advocating for their rights to live in a decent, secure and healthy home. Building owners who flaunt the law and put the health and safety of their tenants in jeopardy should expect to pay the price for their neglect and omissions.”

In 2009 a group of tenants at 1585 East 172nd Street, Bronx, took Sam Suzuki and the corporate owner and manager of the building to court seeking orders to correct a total of 97 violations (11 Class A, 80 Class B, and 6 Class C) throughout their individual apartments, including hazardous and immediately hazardous violations. HPD’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) supported the tenants request to the Court for the order to correct. The Court issued orders to correct the conditions on July 20, 2009. However, the orders were not complied with and the tenants, supported by HPD’s HLD, moved for contempt against the corporate owner and the individual principal, Sam Suzuki. After a hearing the Court found that the owners had not complied, granted a request for civil penalties and found the owners in civil contempt.

In May 2009 Sam Suzuki’s company, Hunter Property, purchased six distressed residential buildings totaling 260 units that were owned by the Ocelot Capital Group (OCG), including 1585 East 172nd Street, Bronx. These buildings were part of a larger portfolio of 25 distressed properties in the South Bronx owned by OCG, who had defaulted on their mortgage last year, prompting foreclosure proceedings. 1585 East 172nd Street is a five story building with 49 units and 691 open violations issued by HPD.

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About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation or 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 100,000 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit


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