A Skvere hasid who owns rental properties in Rockland County, New York has avoided fines that could have topped $100,000 and dodged potential jail time by fixing many of his illegally occupied properties.
Skvere Slumlord Dodges Jail – This Time
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A Skvere hasid who owns rental properties in Rockland County, New York has avoided fines that could have topped $100,000 and dodged potential jail time by fixing many of his illegally occupied properties, the Journal News reports.
But Joseph Klein is still paying off $20,000 in extant fines for violations on 14 of his rental properties in Spring Valley. He paid $8,500 immediately and agreed to pay $1,000 per month until the fines are completely paid.
County officials told a judge last week that Klein had already restored six of his properties from illegally converted multi-family dwellings to single-family houses.
"Judge Simon advised Mr. Klein that if he was found guilty he would entertain the maximum in fines and, more importantly, would consider a jail sentence. I believe this provided more of an incentive to do the right thing. If the judge treats these cases like a traffic violation, we don't make progress,” Spring Valley Village Attorney Kevin Conway told the Journal News.
Simon also warned Klein not to "not fall back on" his "evil ways."
Klein illegally converted single-family homes into many apartments. He charged individual tenants monthly rents for sharing rooms in them with other renters. His building were overcrowded and often dangerous.
Boarding houses are illegal in Spring Valley.
Local firefighters have repeatedly complained about the dangers they face entering illegally converted buildings like the ones Klein owned, and have lobbied for stricter enforcement of building, fire and safety codes and the of the zoning laws that prohibit these firetraps.
Klein also allegedly stole a family's duplex, illegally converted it into an apartment building, and illegally rented the rooms.
Frantz and Maryse Justaforte are suing Klein in an attempt to regain their property.
[Hat Tip: Devorah.]