apartment, landlord, real estate

Landlord Negligence

Photo

A 2010 fire on 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, left five people dead inside a warren of illegally divided apartments. CreditJohn Marshall Mantel for The New York Times

Late one January night in 2010, someone doused a roll of toilet paper in paint thinner in a building in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and lit it, and five immigrants from Guatemala were killed.

The horror was compounded when investigators found that several of the victims were trapped inside illegally partitioned apartments. Prosecutors filed charges against not just the man accused of setting the fire but also the landlord, a rare step.

Rarer still was the outcome: The landlord, Vasilios Gerazounis, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, prosecutors said on Monday. In February, he is scheduled to be sentenced to one to three years in prison.

Seasoned advocates for tenants and landlords said they could not recall the last time a landlord went to prison over a fire death.

“I can’t remember it happening,” said Edward Josephson, litigation director for Legal Services NYC, who has fought for tenants for 26 years.

“I’ve never heard of it happening and I’ve been doing this 28 years,” said Frank Ricci, director of government affairs for the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlords’ group.

Mr. Gerazounis’s real estate company will pay $1 million restitution to the family of a girl who was dropped from a third-floor window and landed on her head, fracturing her skull; she had severe developmental injuries.

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/nyregion/brooklyn-landlord-pleads-guilty-to-negligent-homicide-in-2010-fire.html?_r=0

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