Rent-controlled tenants say landlord tries to oust them with pesticides

Discussion in 'Brews 'n Jews' started by The Bobster, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    Rent-controlled tenants say landlord tries to oust them with pesticides
    By Bill Sanderson
    March 12, 2017 | 6:45am | Updated March 12, 2017 | 7:26am

    345 West 86th St.
    J.C. Rice

    Residents of an Upper West Side building say their landlords treat them like roaches and rats by trying to chase them from their apartments with pesticide.

    Jay Wartski.

    Late at night, employees at Dexter House — a single-room-occupancy building at 345 W. 86th St. just off Riverside Drive — allegedly walk the building’s winding hallways spreading a poisonous mix of pesticide and deodorizer near the apartments of longtime rent-controlled tenants.

    “I believe they want to kill me. I have a bad breathing problem,” nonagenarian Helen Ball complained last year to the state division of Homes and Community Renewal.

    “I strangle if I lie on my back,” said Ball’s handwritten complaint. “It’s difficult to eat or drink . . . I always liked the management . . . I don’t know why they now want to kill me.”

    Ball eventually moved.

    Another tenant, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Post she caught a man spraying under her door at 2 a.m. and suffered rashes and breathing problems presumably from the mystery chemicals.

    “I started to get weird odors,” she said. “I started to get severe headaches. I started to get nauseous.”

    After seeing several doctors, she found an ear, nose and throat specialist.

    “He said it was something I was inhaling,” the woman said.

    The tenants’ claims gained credence when a state Department of Environmental Conservation inspector found pesticides stored in the building during visits in September and November.

    The inspector says Dexter House employees are not certified to use the chemicals and did not keep daily records of their use — in violation of state law.

    Legal Aid Society lawyers, who have seen landlords use all kinds of underhanded strategies to rid their buildings of tenants they dislike, are astonished by the allegations. Adan Soltren, who is trying to organize Dexter House tenants for a lawsuit, said if building residents’ claims are true, they are among “the more sinister kinds of tactics I’ve heard of.”

    Julie Hanlon
    J.C. Rice

    For years Dexter House residents have accused lead landlord Jay Wartski of seeking to get rid of them so their rooms can be put to more lucrative use.

    They live cheaply in one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods, on the Upper West Side near Riverside Park. A five-story single-family town house next door to Dexter House was put on the market in 2013 with an asking price of $50 million.

    Julie Hanlon, a Dexter House tenant for 25 years who brought the pesticide allegations to officials, pays $308 per month in rent.

    Wartski has a long history as a landlord feared by the city’s poor. In the mid-1980s he reportedly spent 30 days at Rikers Island for refusing to repair hazardous conditions at an SRO he owned on Chambers Street in Tribeca.

    Wartski, his brother, Allen, and his father, Jerry, were labeled by the Village Voice in 1984 as the city’s “most heartless” SRO landlords. Tenant organizers accused Wartski of moving drug dealers and “goons” into one of the family’s buildings, which included 25 rooms used by prostitutes.

    Dexter House’s manager, Robert Goicochea, said the pesticides found by the state inspector were used to provide good service to tenants.

    “Whenever a tenant would ask to have his room sprayed, my super would go upstairs and spray in the room with any product he got in the hardware store,” Goicochea said.

    The state inspector found a spray can of Gentrol, a pesticide used to combat bedbugs and cockroaches, which under state law building workers may not use or possess.

    Gentrol’s active ingredient is a chemical called hydroprene. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, little is known about its effect on humans.

    The inspector also found three other containers of pesticides advertised as capable of killing bedbugs. They were legal for the building to possess, but not legal for employees to use, a state official said.

    Goicochea acknowledged the issues raised by the state inspector: “He notified us we shouldn’t be spraying. He said, ‘OK, you guys have to go and get certified.’ ”

    Wartski’s lawyer, Jeffrey Seiden, said there is “no validity” to claims that building workers are trying to chase people from the building with pesticides.

    “There has been no attempt to evict anybody through the use of illegal chemicals,” Seiden said.

    But Hanlon says some tenants of the 16-story, 270-unit building stuff paper under their doors nightly to keep fumes from seeping in.

    “What they did to us is a horror show,” she said.
  2. Dirty Sanchez No Limit Nigga

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    If I were a NY landlord, I think I'd use Zyklon B instead.
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  3. Apocales 4:35a.m. just one more episode..

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    I don't know how you new yorkers do this... fuck having a neighbor below, above, and side to side. Doesn't NYC have a huge rat and bedbug issue?
  4. The Bobster Forum Veteran

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    Bedbug epidemic attacks New York City
    Sunday, December 30th 2007, 6:45 PM

    A bedbug epidemic has exploded in every corner of New York City - striking even upper East Side luxury apartments owned by Gov. Spitzer's father, the Daily News has learned.

    The blood-sucking nocturnal creatures have infested a Park Ave. penthouse, an artist's colony in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a $25 million Central Park West duplex and a theater on Broadway, according to victims, exterminators and elected officials.

    Once linked to flophouses and fleabags, bedbug outbreaks victimize the rich and poor alike and are spreading panic in some of the city's hottest neighborhoods.

    "In the last six months, I've treated maternity wards, five-star hotels, movie theaters, taxi garages, investment banks, private schools, white-shoe law firms, Brooklyn apartments in Greenpoint, DUMBO and Cobble Hill, even the chambers of a federal judge," said Jeff Eisenberg, owner of Pest Away Exterminating on the upper West Side.

    The numbers are off the charts: In 2004, New Yorkers placed 537 calls to 311 about bedbugs in their homes; the city slapped 82 landlords with bedbug violations, data show.

    In the fiscal year that ended in June, 6,889 infestation complaints were logged and 2,008 building owners were hit with summonses.

    They must get rid of the pests within 30 days or face possible action in Housing Court, the city Department of Housing, Preservation & Development says.

    The scourge has left no section of the city untouched: Complaints and enforcement actions soared in 57 of the 59 community boards.

    In the most bedbug-riddled district, Bushwick in Brooklyn, HPD issued 172 violations this year, up from four in 2004; it responded to 476 complaints, up from 47.

    Central Harlem chalked up 269 complaints, up from nine. Williamsburg and Greenpoint, home to the city's hippest galleries (bullcrap, these two neighborhoods are home to negroes, dominicans and hasidic jews), racked up 148, up from 11 in 2004. Astoria and Long Island City saw the tally climb to 345 from 41.

    Bedbugs come out of the woodwork at night to feed on human blood, biting people in their sleep and leaving large, itchy skin welts that can be painful. They are not believed to carry or transmit diseases.

    A surge in global travel and mobility in all socioeconomic classes, (let's not forget about the 3rd world savages streaming into our country carrying all kinds of bugs and diseases) combined with less toxic urban pesticides and the banning of DDT created a perfect storm for reviving the critters, which had been virtually dormant since World War II, experts say.

    Prolific reproducers and hardy survivors, they can thrive in penthouses, flophouses or any environment where they can locate warm-blooded hosts, said Louis Sorkin, an entomologist at the Museum of Natural History who keeps a colony of 1,000 bedbugs in his office and lets them feed on his arm.

    "The female hatches as many as 500 eggs a year, and they can survive for a year and a half without a blood meal," he said. "They're at home in every neighborhood in the city, including Park Ave. and Fifth Ave."

    The small, wingless, rust-colored insects hitch rides on clothing, luggage, furniture, bedding, bookbags, even shoelaces. They've been spotted in cabs and limos, as well as on buses and subways.

    Those travel patterns account for the 1,708 verified bedbug cases in 277 public housing projects this year, the city Housing Authority says. The Department of Education has documented another 74 cases, spread across 50 schools.

    They even contaminated five or six apartments in the swanky rental tower at 220 E. 72nd St. owned by Bernard Spitzer, the governor's 83-year-old father.
  5. Roy Fokker Forum Veteran

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