Saturday, March 16, 2013

Building owner fined $5,000 over illegal Nanuet apartments 

A New Square-based property manager will pay $5,000 to cover town violations of subdividing a Nanuet house into apartments, officials said Wednesday.

Joseph Klein, a major housing manager-owner with a history of violations, was cited 15 months ago after firefighters found subdivided apartments when battling a fire on Dec. 14, 2011, at 149 Pipetown Hill Road.

Inspectors issued Klein violations for failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy and noncompliance with an order to restore the house off Route 59 and across from condominiums and the Hyenga Lake senior complex.

After months of court delays, Klein agreed to pay $5,000, Deputy Town Attorney Paul Scholfield said Wednesday outside Justice Craig Johns’ courtroom. The town had been seeking $10,000.

Scholfield said the settlement reached with Ramapo attorney Robert Conklin calls for Klein to pay by April 10, a tentatively scheduled court date.

“If he pays the fine, he doesn’t have to appear in court,” Scholfield said. “If he doesn’t, he has to appear.”

Conklin said the agreement doesn’t include any admissions by Klein to any violations.

“This is a civil compromise that makes the town happy and satisfies everyone’s concerns about safety and health issues,” Conklin said.

Klein has managed numerous properties under his or his wife’s name and corporate names.

Klein has a history for more than a decade of being cited on municipal and Rockland County Health Department charges of subdividing houses into apartments, creating boarding houses, and allowing violations of fire and safety codes to mount.

Klein was paying off $20,000 in fines in Spring Valley last year on guilty pleas to violations at 14 of his rental properties in the village. He restored six illegally converted buildings to single-family homes and agreed to pay $1,000 a month.


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