In a press conference this morning, State Elected Officials, the NYC Comptroller, and Shareholders called out the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for lack of oversight in ensuring annual apartment inspections within NYC Mitchell-Lama Co-op building in Rockaway Beach, Queens and are requesting that HPD conduct a full review of the mismanagement of the board of directors and the Management Company.
Rockaway Beach, Queens- In response to a deadly fire this past Friday, January 12th, 2018, within 8800 Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway Beach, NYS Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Beach), NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Shareholders today called out the Housing Preservation Department (HPD) in a press conference for lack of oversight in providing annual apartment inspections within the Dayton Beach Park #1 Corp. (DBP), a Mitchell-Lama Housing Development Co-op responsible for overseeing 8100, 8200, 8400, 8600, 8800 Shore Front Parkway Rockaway Beach, Queens.
“As a shareholder I am terrified, as an Elected Official, I am disgusted. Something is not right.” said Pheffer Amato. “Since being elected in 2016, I have expressed concerns regarding the absence of annual apartment inspections within DBP, as well as management and board of director issues. Apartment inspections are not only necessary, but required in order to ensure the safety and quality of life for all shareholders. This fire was an incident waiting to happen.”
“There is nothing worse than a loss of human life that could have been avoided.” Addabbo said. “With the recent fire in Rockaway, if the collective voices of the buildings’ tenants were heard, a person would be alive today. The city needs to do a better job with inspections and working with management companies.”
NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said, “Months ago, the Housing and Preservation Department said that inspections of this building would happen. They haven’t — and now, tragedy has struck. Had it not been for the bravery of the FDNY and NYPD, this situation could have been far worse. That inspections didn’t take place is deeply, deeply alarming. The agency must step up and ensure that all regulations are enforced, both in the Rockaways and across the city. This is about the safety of New Yorkers, and it’s about right and wrong.”
This past August, Pheffer Amato sent a letter, at the request of hundreds of constituents and shareholders, to both HPD and First Service Residential (who formerly managed the buildings until 12/31/17) expressing concerns of the absence of annual apartment inspections. In the letter Pheffer Amato stated: “According to the contract between First Service Residential and the NYC HPD, management is required to conduct and prepare the annual apartment inspections and reports. Additionally, this is a requirement by HPD as stated in the Mitchell-Lama rules.” HPD responded in a letter on August 30th, 2017 by Assistant Commissioner Julie Walpert who stated: “Please be advised that inspections will be conducted by management the third week of September”. According to residents, inspections have not commenced to date.
“I was in the lobby going back upstairs when I saw the fire trucks, firefighters were on their way up to 11P, my next door neighbor’s apartment.” said Helen Lee (Fanning) a 24 year resident of 8800 Shore Front Parkway. “My apartment is destroyed from the fire. For years, I filed complaints to management about my neighbors’ hoarding. A few years back- when called for a gas leak-FDNY couldn’t even open his door because of all the debris. I can barely remember the last time my apartment was inspected, I think it was a few years after Hurricane Sandy. This all could have been prevented if the proper precautions were taken earlier.”
As of 1/13/2018, FDNY Fire Marshals have confirmed: The cause of the fire was accidental, there was a halogen lamp in close proximity to combustibles. A 91-year-old female is deceased as a result of her injuries and smoke alarms were not present.