Monday, May 9, 2016
Health Department to inspect Raphael Toledano's East Village properties for toxic levels of lead dust
[EVG file photo of 233-235 E. 5th St.]
Last month, we shared a letter that the Toledano Tenants Coalition wrote to elected officials about their ongoing concerns with the demolition taking place in properties run by Brookhill Properties and its founder and principal, Raphael Toledano.
To date, three of the buildings, 235 E. Fifth St., 233 E. Fifth St. and 514 E. 12th St., were said to have elevated lead levels in common areas, according to the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
On Friday, the elected officials — led by State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer — blasted Toledano for unsafe living conditions, including prolonged exposure to lead dust.
"I’ve heard from scores of constituents about the harassment they’ve endured in Toledano buildings. And now we’ve learned their health is at risk, too, because of dangerously high levels of lead dust," Hoylman said in a statement. "The situation is outrageous and unacceptable. Mr. Toledano needs to remedy this immediately."
In response, the DOHMH has promised to inspect all of Toledano-owned buildings for possible lead dust contamination. (He closed on a 16-building portfolio in the neighborhood last fall.)
Construction-related issues aside, tenants continue to report feeling harassed by Brookhill.
"Many long-term residents of rent-regulated apartments have been served with frivolous legal actions that require them to hire lawyers even though it has been clear that the actions would not make it to court," said Nina d'Alessandro, a resident of 231 E. Fifth St. "Then they have been approached with low buyout offers. We have tried to meet with Mr. Toledano to express our concerns and request that our rights to health and homes be safeguarded, only to be evaded and met with more intimidation."
The letters from the elected officials to Toledano and the Health Department are below. The letters were signed by Hoylman and Brewer; Assembly Members Deborah Glick, Richard N. Gottfried and Brian Kavanagh; and Council Members Corey Johnson and Rosie Mendez. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney signed the letter to DOHMH.
A spokesperson for Brookhill told the Daily News that any health and safety issues brought to its attention will be immediately remedied.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: Landlord of 444 E. 13th St. threatened 'to drop dynamite on the building'
Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano
Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal
Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio
More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties
In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'
Report: East Village landlord Raphael Toledano allegedly misrepresented himself as a lawyer
The Villager looks at landlord Raphael Toledano's criminal past
An open letter to landlord Raphael Toledano from the Toledano Tenants Coalition
Report: Management company sues Raphael Toledano for backing out of $130 million loan
Ongoing concerns about demolition work and elevated lead levels in Toledano-owned buildings