Saturday, November 28, 2015

Dead landlord haunting his tenants from the grave 

He’s dead and buried, but landlord Menachem Stark — whose list of enemies was so long that cops were scratching their heads to find a prime suspect in his 2014 murder — is still making life hell for tenants, The Post has learned.

Occupants of all 20 units in a pricey Williamsburg apartment building have been left homeless for the holidays because Stark had hired contractors who did a shoddy job, causing the Buildings Department to issue an immediate vacate order Tuesday, records show.

the front door of 120 S. Fourth St. warned residents that the five-story building “has questionable structural integrity [because of] the installation of substandard structural steel columns, trusses, beams, welds.”

One of around 50 displaced renters, Cristal Ledesma, 25, lamented the awful timing on Thursday.

Units range from studios to three-bedrooms and go for $4,200 to $5,300 a month, listings show.

“We all have stuff trapped in there, textbooks and computers and everything else,” said another tenant, Melissa Yamamoto.

“I’m staying with my boyfriend. One of my roommates wasn’t so lucky. He left before we knew, so he’s going to come back and has no work clothes.”

There was no word on when the tenants could return.

Stark, whose suffocated and burned body was found in a dumpster in Long Island in January 2014, had many foes, a law enforcement source said.

“Any number of people wanted to kill this guy,” the source said.

Among them, according to those who knew Stark, were people to whom he owed money, business associates, tenants and stiffed contractors.

Police arrested construction worker Kendall Felix, 26, who claimed Stark owed him money.

The millionaire landlord and a partner bought the vacant lot at South Fourth Street and Bedford Avenue in 2006, records show.

They were forced to sell the nearly completed building — which had more than 50 violations — in 2013 to Stark’s brother-in-law Abraham Bernat during a bankruptcy proceeding, records show.

Bernat, 28, hung up on a reporter, and his management firm did not return calls.

One resident said he wasn’t surprised that a building tied to Stark would be given a vacate order.

“Every project he was involved with seemed to end up in the hole one way or another,” he said, declining to give his name. “Now it’s our turn to pay the price for his shady business practices.”

The Red Cross has offered temporary assistance to the residents.

Former resident Lindsay Freeman said management was disorganized, noting she got an evacuation notice even though she moved out a year ago.

“It’s disgusting. New York is a hard enough place to get by, especially when you’re young and just starting out,” she said. “The building looks beautiful, but it’s all held together with paper clips and gum.

“To exploit people like this you must literally have no soul.”


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