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Staten Island: landlord Paul Burke arrested

Posted by JBS on May 22, 2000 at 09:07:25:


Officials from the Department of Buildings (DOB) and the NYPD today arrested
Paul Burke, a Staten Island resident who, until now, was one of DOB’s most
blatant and persistent scofflaws. Mr. Burke is responsible for building alterations
that are illegal, substandard and unsafe. DOB staff was waiting for him this
morning as he returned to 170 Baden Place, Staten Island.

Mr. Burke has been charged with three misdemeanors and one violation:

1.Criminal Contempt, Penal Law 215.50 (3)

2.Violation of Peremptory Order, AC 26-249

3.Reckless Endangerment PL 120.20

4.Possession of marijuana (violation)

His car was impounded in connection with the charge of reckless endangerment
when, last night, he attempted to run down Peter Amato, the head of DOB’s
Investigations, Audits and Disciplinary Unit.

Burke was arrested at 170 Baden Place, a building he owns. In August of 1997,
DOB vacated the second and third floors of this building because they were built
illegally without a valid permit. In July 1999, the entire premises was ordered
closed by a Supreme Court Order and subsequently sealed by the Department of
Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Burke broke into and re-occupied
the structure, a violation of both the DOB vacate order AND a judicial injunction.

Earlier this week, HPD once again sealed the building. DOB received information
that last night (March 2), Mr. Burke returned to 170 Baden Place and used a
sledgehammer to dislodge the concrete and plywood seal constructed by HPD.

"Paul Burke has been a thorn in the side of this community. After an extraordinary
effort by our staff, justice has been served. I trust that the Staten Island District
Attorney’s office will see that justice is soon administered," said Acting Buildings
Commissioner Richard C. Viscount. "This arrest sends a clear message that there
are serious consequences if the construction and zoning rules of this City and this
Department are not followed."

Burke has a history of outstanding violations with DOB. To date, he owes
$39,500 in unpaid Environmental Control Board judgments for violations at 170
Baden Place, 1030 Olympia Blvd, and 19 Hempstead Avenue, all in Staten Island.
The City’s Department of Finance has collected over $4,700 of this amount by
levying upon both a bank account and an escrow account. Mr. Burke’s other
nonexempt real and personal property may also be subject to seizure by the
Department of Finance to pay the remaining judgment balance of $34,800.

At 1030 Olympia Blvd, six ECB violations were issued for illegally converting a
one-family dwelling into a two-family dwelling, work without a permit, and failure to
file a certificate of correction. Most recently, DOB executed an Administrative
Search Warrant and issued a violation for illegal occupancy.

At 19 Hempstead Avenue, there has been a history of illegal occupancy and work
without a permit dating back to 1995. Burke illegally built a second story extension
on the one-story building. DOB sealed the building in April of 1999 for having no
secondary means of egress and being structurally unstable.

The DOB Office of Investigations, Audits & Discipline (Peter Amato, Mark
Sanabria, Michael Buitrago), Special Enforcement Unit (Julie Lubin, Tom Ward,
Richard Spolzino) and Staten Island Borough Office (Terrance Lin, Paresh Oza)
participated in the investigation of this case. Members of the NYPD - 122nd
Precinct in Staten Island and HPD (Vito Mustaciuolo) provided invaluable support
and assistance.

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