Tag Archives: Eviction

Astoria tenants deal with patchwork repairs, possible eviction for complaints


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Some residents of one rent-stabilized Astoria apartment building say they are tired of having to fight for what should be their basic rights as tenants.

Sally Aponte has been living at 28-28 35th St. since 1995 and said she started having issues with the building’s landlord, Peter Hiotis of P & T Management CO LLC, when it came to getting repairs completed within her apartment.

At first, Aponte decided to verbally ask her landlord for help with regard to these repairs, such as fixing a kitchen stove or repairing broken bathroom tiles, but after receiving what she calls “patchwork repairs,” she decided to finally file a formal complaint to 311 in 2007.

“He tends to always blame the tenants whenever you ask for repairs and I think he uses that to discourage you to ask for repairs,” Aponte said.

During this time, an attorney for the landlord also sent Aponte a letter advising her that if she made any further complaints, Hiotis would have to pursue eviction because she was allegedly violating the “rent stabilization code.”

Aponte added that the stove was fixed because Hiotis was fined by the FDNY but the rest of the problems in her home remained ignored until an inspector from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) went to the home.

The inspector found nine violations within the home, such as exposed and sparking electrical wiring, defective and broken plastered surfaces on walls and ceilings, and a defective smoke detector.

And although some of the repairs have since been completed, albeit improperly, Aponte is facing eviction.

According to court documents, Aponte is facing eviction because she is being accused of withholding rent, harassing other tenants, and defacing vehicles of her landlord and other tenants. However, Aponte says she has evidence proving all those accusations as false and believes the eviction comes as a form of retaliation for reporting past and present neglected repairs.

“I didn’t do anything except stand up for my rights but here we have a landlord who is clearly abusing his tenant landlord rights and unfortunately I have to go through this process before I can claim my innocence and that’s unfair,” Aponte said.

Christie Agioutanti, who has been living at 28-28 35th St. for over 25 years, said her issues began in 2013 when she reached out to get her stove repaired. She says she had to go four months without a stove until she got a new one.

The following year she dealt with a broken refrigerator and after going through weeks of problems, Agioutanti became fed up and decided to take Hiotis to court with 28 outstanding repairs.

After an HPD inspector went to the home, they found 20 of those needed repairs to be violations, including a massive hole in her bathroom ceiling that had been covered by a drop ceiling.

Photo by Christie Agioutanti

Fixing this hole, pictured in 2014, was one of the repairs the court ruled Peter Hiotis had to complete in Christie Agioutanti’s home. (Photo by Christie Agioutanti)

Photos of the hole show deteriorating wooden beams and exposed water pipes. Agioutanti added that when the hole was fixed by an unlicensed contractor, it was patched up by layers of sheetrock and plaster and painted over.

A licensed carpenter, who asked to remain unnamed, was approached by The Courier with photos of the hole and the repair process. He said that although the sheetrock covers the issue, it does not solve it. He added that if the repairs are not completed from within the structure of the building, for example by repairing pipes or beams, then it would be just a matter of time before the damage would occur again.

Some of the violations that the HPD identified in Agioutanti’s apartment have yet to be repaired or have not been completed in a satisfactory manner, and she said that if she doesn’t not hear back from Hiotis’ lawyer, she will be forced to return to court.

Other issues throughout the building include a broken intercom system, and a super who asks to not be bothered past his work hours, according to the tenants.

Both Aponte and Agioutanti also add that other tenants are facing the same issues within the building but are afraid of speaking out because they fear facing eviction. They hope telling their stories will help other tenants come out of the shadows.

“He wants us tenants to live in the darkness,” Agioutanti said. “If you don’t know your rights, you can’t claim them.”

Hiotis declined to comment pending litigation.

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Rego Park man facing eviction jumps to death: reports


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A Rego Park man jumped four stories to his death Monday after a marshal came to serve him an eviction notice, according to published reports.

The 61-year-old man leapt from his Wetherole Street apartment window at about 12:45 p.m., the New York Post said, and fell into the building’s courtyard when he heard the knocking at his door.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

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Women on the street after eviction from church


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Two former squatters ejected from a local Christian church spent their first night homeless on the street, but said they felt relieved the year-and-a-half debacle was finally over.

“I feel like I have the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders right now,” said Mary M., who did not want her last name published. “This will work out. Good things will come out of this. We’ll be stronger in the end.”

The Queensboro Hill Community Church of Flushing bemoaned an act of kindness after spending $2,000 in legal fees and close to two years to try to evict Mary, her friend Judy B. and their dog after church leaders originally let the down-on-their-luck duo in, said Joe Illigasch, who has close ties with the church.

Illigasch, 70, said the house of worship realized five months into their stay that the non-rent paying tenants had no plans to leave. Church leaders hit the courts after being told they could not simply boot the ladies after having housed them for more than 30 days, he said.

The twosome had until August 3 to move out, according to an order by a Queens County Housing Court judge. But the church said the couple waited until Tuesday, August 7 — hours before a court marshal arrived on the church’s door steps — to finally leave.

“My feeling went from sympathy to hatred of their lies and deceit and what they were doing to these wonderful people of the church, financially and emotionally,” Illigasch said. “I thought I was going to be so happy when they left, that I’d go home and have a glass of wine, but I went home and felt so bad for them.”

Judy, 64, and Mary, 54, said they had no concrete plans Tuesday other than sleeping through the night on the church’s sidewalk, which they had permission to do. But their suitcases, they said, were starting to draw stares from nearby locals who stopped to ask if they are the “squatters of Queensboro Hill.”

“It’s to that point — they see our faces now and no one will mentor us around here,” Judy said through tears. “We’re not bad people.”

Church leaders — while finally being able to breathe after being consumed with the legal process — said they sympathized with the pair’s plight.

“No human being should have to live like that,” Illigasch said. “I knew they had nowhere to go. But they brought it upon themselves.”

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife

A Queens man was charged with a Monday shooting in Astoria that left his stepdaughter dead and his estranged wife injured. Police say Guerino Annarumma, 52, is facing charges of murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon after shooting the mother and daughter in their home on 38th Street near 23rd Avenue just before 9 a.m. Read More: NY1

Postal Service Cuts To Lengthen Delivery Time

As financial problems continue to mount, the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday a series of unprecedented cuts. The estimated $3 billion in reductions will affect first-class mail and likely eliminate the possibility of next-day delivery for the first time in 40 years. Read More: NY1

Councilmember Eric Ulrich tapped for Romney campaign

Councilmember Eric Ulrich has been named chair of Republican and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New York City. Born and raised in Ozone Park, Ulrich, 26, was first elected to the council when he was 24 and now represents Ozone Park and Howard Beach — serving as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Read More: Queens Courier

Blog-of-blood family murder

A seething husband who accused his immigrant wife and her daughter of a green-card scam shot them in Queens yesterday — killing the young woman and critically wounding her mom — hours before the couple’s divorce hearing, law-enforcement sources said.“You are going to pay for whatever you did. I dont [sic] play no games. Good Luck, Bye Bye Bye,” suspect Guerino Annarumma, an Italian émigré, ranted in an Aug. 12 post on his blog about his  tranged. wife Olga Annarumma, 57, and stepdaughter Valeria Kuzima Lowery, 25. Read More: New York Post

Apology from kin of bus ‘killer’

The family of the crazed ex-con accused of a deadly shooting spree aboard a Queens bus apologized yesterday to the loved ones of the victims. “We are truly and deeply sorry to the families,” said a relative of alleged gunman Damel Burton who asked not to be named outside Queens Criminal Court. Burton, 34, is accused of killing his girlfriend’s 18-year-old son, Keith Murrell, then boarding the Q111, where he shot passenger Marvin Gilkes dead and critically wounded another rider, Jojuan Lispey. Read More: New York Post
Queens family of seven evicted in dispute with landlord over ‘dozens’ of violations 

A Queens family of seven is scrambling to find a place to live after their landlord served them with an eviction notice the day before Thanksgiving. Laura and Thomas Cavanagh said began withholding rent on the Broad Channel home after their landlord refused to fix dozens of problems — ranging from black mold under the sink to a rodent infestation in the attic. Read More: Daily News

NYPD launches early morning raid and eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters


| hchin@homereporternews.com

An unconfirmed number of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested during a surprise early morning raid and eviction of Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped for two months.

It was shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15, when word began to spread that the New York Police Department had surrounded the park and used a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) to disperse the crowd. The announcement came in emails and text messages as press access was blocked, but live video feeds of the proceedings – which reportedly include tear gas and police in riot gear making individual arrests – were being broadcast online at http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc and www.livestream.com/occupy_liberty.

According to one Brooklynite, the “police have a multiple block radius sealed off around Liberty [Street]. There are supporters & witnesses at least on the north & south of the square but they’ve disallowed press in the square. [The] crowd [is] in good spirits. [There are] hundreds of police in full riot gear.”

According to the Associated Press, around 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together – reportedly by linking arms and also using chains on their neck to prevent abuse.

These arrests included reporters and photographers from the Associated Press and The New York Daily Newswho were detained hours after the raid in the general vicinity of Zuccotti Park.

The action came following the announcement on OWS’s website that they were planning to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration. The show of police force sparked immediate mobilization of supporters from across the city, including Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Sunset Park and Bedford-Stuyvesant, into Manhattan to see it for themselves, with thousands of others from around the world gathering online to express support.

Some time after 3 a.m., filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message via Twitter calling for Occupiers and their supporters to rally in Foley Square, north of City Hall and across from the U.S. Supreme Court building.

By 4:30 a.m., the gathered masses began to split between a spot near Broadway and Pine Street, and Foley Square.

At 6:30 a.m., a temporary restraining order was issued prohibiting the NYPD from making any more evictions from Liberty Park “unless lawful arrests for criminal offenses,” and allowing protesters back in with tents or other property previously utilized, and prohibiting the enforcement of “rules published after the occupation began.”

The restraining order was obtained with help from attorneys working with the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) who are working as the Liberty Park Working Group.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated that the city will fight the restraining order in the interest of “protect[ing] public safety.”

Bloomberg also defended the surprise nighttime raid as being designed “to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.”

[UPDATE] Occupy Wall Street News


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Poster Courtesy of OccupyWallSt.org

[Update] NYC, Occupy Wall Street wait for judge’s ruling  after Zuccotti Park evictions

A judge hand-picked by protest lawyers signed an early-morning emergency order saying the demonstrators can come back with their stuff. But the city refused to reopen the park before a Tuesday afternoon hearing in front of a different judge. A decision was expected by 3 p.m. Some Occupy Wall Street protesters had already moved to another public space, owned by Trinity Church, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., where they used bolt cutters to open a fenced-in area. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Clear Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday defended his decision to clear the park in Lower Manhattan that was the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” in the park where the protesters had camped out for nearly two months. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez Arrested, Injured at Occupy Wall Street Raid

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been arrested at the NYPD raid on Occupy Wall Street. David Segal, a spokesperson for Councilman Rodriguez, told the Observer he confirmed the Councilman’s arrest through a staffer at City Hall. Read More:  PolitickerNY

 

How to Protest Safely and Legally

Whether or not you agree with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you’re headed out in support or dissent, you should know what you’re getting into before you go. Even if you think the event is purely peaceful, someone else, another protest group, or the police may all have different ideas. Here are some tips to prepare before you go out to have your voice heard. Read More: Lifehacker

Occupy Wall Street Live Feed – This is one of the live video feeds that has managed to stay up amidst the chaos of the eviction of Zuccotti Park : http://www.ustream.tv/theother99

Zuccotti Park Eviction: Court Order Against City Says Protesters Can Return With Tents In Tow

The National Lawyers Guild says it has obtained a court order that allows Occupy Wall St. protesters to return with tents to a New York City park. The guild says the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Read More: Huffington Post

Occupy Wall Street outlines NYC plans for 2-month anniversary

Occupy Wall Street protesters and their supporters have outlined plans for the movement’s two-month anniversary on Thursday. They distributed a flier with the plans in Foley Square Tuesday morning. The protesters were evacuated overnight by the city from their Zuccotti Park encampment. On Thursday, protesters planned to confront Wall Street at 7 a.m. “with the stories of people on the front lines of economic injustice.” Read More: Wall Street Journal

Occupy Wall Street Press Release: A Call to OccupyRead Here

Video of last night’s police raid on Zucotti Park: Twitvid