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NYC repairs corruption old problem, owners say.

NYC repairs corruption old problem, owners say

With sidewalk repairs temporarily suspended while the city attempts to straighten out its corrupt system, owner groups last week charged they have made complaints for many years about that program, as well as others, without results.

Dan Margulies, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, said "The city finally discovered the scandal we've been complaining about for years and we hope they get it cleaned up when it gets going again."

"This is the tip of the iceberg for city repairs," Margulies said. He said the heat repair program is also the subject of owner complaints. "The biggest scam is the window guards," Margulies said. "They nickle and dime you to death. They will bill an owner for $200 for a couple of window guards. Quite often they don't do any work at all, because the tenant wasn't home." Margulies said this is a common problem because the repair workers do not tell anyone when they are coming to make repairs.

He said the repair crews also do "deleading", and will respond to correct any hazardous violation if HPD is unable to reach the owner or the owner has failed to contact them that they have corrected the situation. "They send repair crews anyway," he charged. "They can't deal with the internal mechanism of calling them off.

Roz Post, a spokesperson for HPD, which makes the emergency building repairs, said this is the first she has heard of this and added that owners can protest the charges.

Margulies said the way the Department of Transportation sidewalk program, is run it is good business for contractors. "But cumulatively the HPD-run program raise the number one questions. They are incompetent."

Margulies said CHIP has heard numerous complaints that the city ignored individual owners who protested their sidewalk bills to the Department of Transportation. When an entire neighborhood was subject to the sidewalk repairs, he said, it became a contentious issue and focused attention the way individual complaints could not.

Rent Stabilization Association President John J. Gilbert III, also said they had been complaining about this to the mayor and City Council for a long time. "We believe the emergency repair program is rift with more fraud and the owners are getting the bill," he said.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 16, 1991
Words:381
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