New York, NY – NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua announced that on July 26, 2011, bench warrants were executed against three owners/managers of residential buildings at 241 Linden Boulevard and 247 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn. Both properties are in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). Lewis Alleyne, Dwight King and Gerald King had previously failed to appear in Court, failed to comply with Court orders directing the correction of violations, and failed to comply with AEP Orders to Correct issued by HPD. Kings County Housing Court Judge Hannah Cohen issued a Warrant of Arrest against the owners ordering that they be arrested and brought before the Court for sentencing or other appropriate orders.
“Mr. Alleyne, Gerald King and Dwight King have failed in their responsibility to provide the basic level of habitability to their tenants as required under the law. Their actions have been unconscionable—ignoring the health and safety of their tenants, and in doing so dodging the mandates of the City’s Alterative Enforcement Program and failing to comply with Court orders to correct the hazardous conditions that pervade their two Brooklyn properties,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “We will not allow their inaction to contribute to the further the decline of these properties. Landlords who flout the law and force people to live in deplorable conditions will be held responsible. I commend the hard work of HPD’s Housing Litigation Division, which year after year continues to stand with New Yorkers in the fight to ensure that the City’s housing stock is secure, safe and decent.”
241 Linden Boulevard, an eight-unit property that currently has 322 open housing code violations—or 40 per unit—was placed in the AEP in November 2007. 247 Linden Boulevard, a six-unit property that currently has 178 open housing code violations—nearly 30 per apartment—was placed in the program in November 2008. After the owners failed to make repairs to meet the criteria for discharge, HPD issued AEP Orders to Correct for both buildings, directing the owners to correct the violations and related underlying conditions which are the cause of many of the violations. The owners did not comply and then did not permit HPD full access to correct the conditions.
The buildings were referred to HPD’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) in early 2010, and cases were commenced in April of that year. For each building, HLD requested an Order requiring the owners to correct all violations and related underlying conditions, to provide HPD access to do necessary repairs if the owners failed to do them, and sought civil penalties for the failure to correct overdue violations. The owners did not appear in response to HPD’s petitions, and on June 1, 2010, the Court issued orders requiring the owners to repair all violations and underlying conditions by July 9, 2010, and to provide access to HPD employees and contractors for purposes of completing any remaining repairs should the owners not meet the deadline. The Court also awarded judgments of $193,800 and $157,130 respectively.
HPD subsequently sent inspectors and contractors to the building, but access was repeatedly denied. When re-inspections were possible it was determined that the majority of violations had not been corrected. Accordingly, in March 2011, HLD moved for contempt against all of the owners of the properties. As an owner and named respondent on the case related to 241 Linden Boulevard, Dwight King was the only party to appear. No one appeared for 247 Linden Boulevard, which is owned by Gerald King and Lewis Alleyne who is also a named respondent for 241 Linden Boulevard. Dwight King agreed to correct all remaining B-class violations in 30 days and all C-class violations14 days, and to correct all related underlying conditions by June 24, 2011. The proceedings were adjourned until June 14th.
HPD re-inspected the buildings and found that the majority of B and C violations remained open, and no related underlying conditions were corrected. The respondents failed to appear on June 14 and a later date of July 12, prompting the Court to issue an Order, Judgment, and Warrant of Arrest for Lewis Alleyne, and Dwight and Gerald King. The three were arrested and brought before Judge Cohen on July 26, 2011. Judge Cohen issued orders which provided that the owners could purge their civil contempt if they cured the violations at the buildings before September 16, 2011. The orders also provided that, by August 2nd, the owners had to advise HPD if they were going to comply with the additional requirements of the AEP Order to Correct; if they were not going to do the necessary work, they must provide access to HPD so the agency could complete the work. The owners were released from custody pending compliance with the Orders and the cases were adjourned to September 26, 2011.
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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 of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, HPD and the NYC Housing Development Corporation have financed the creation or preservation of a total of more than 124,400 affordable homes. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd