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Homeless tenants suing landlord for illegal removal of fire escapes

Ja'PhethToulson Special to the AmNews | 6/14/2012, 5:30 p.m.
Homeless tenants suing landlord for illegal removal of fire escapes

After the evacuation of a Bronx building that left more than 200 residents displaced, new discoveries has been made about the engineer and real estate developers involved in the removal of fire escapes.

The licensed engineer, Roland Draper, who filed improper permits for the renovations at 2400 Web Ave., in the Bronx, removed the fire escapes illegally as a result in April.

The FDNY had responded to an unrelated incident before noticing the missing fire escapes.

"Fire escapes are required for that building," said Frank Dwyer, FDNY spokesperson. "If there was a fire in that building without the fire escapes, it's very likely there will be a deadly fire. They (residents) would be trapped in their apartments and we would have a very difficult time getting them out and they would have a difficult time getting out on their own."

According to NY1, the homeless tenants were promised $120 a day for hotels, but instead, they said the owner of Goldfarb Properties is deducting payments from the June rent. Representatives from Legal Services from NYC-Bronx encouraged the tenants to file a class action lawsuit in housing court, while city officials said they would attempt to fine Goldfarb Properties.

Draper is no stranger to these mistakes.

According to CBS, Draper had plead guilty to bid rigging for construction work done on Forest Park in Queens. As a result, his engineering licensing was suspended for two years and he was fined $5,000.

The owners of the Webb Avenue building, Samuel and Phillip Goldfarb, were, according to published reports, involved in paying $7,000 in bribes to Sara Bost, the one-time mayor of Irvington, N.J.

Spokeswoman of the Department of Buildings Ryan FitzGibbons said they are investigating previous work of the owner, engineer, and the contractor.