[Photo via @mesh_mellow]
The New York Times speaks with several of the former residents who lived in buildings destroyed in the deadly gas explosion last March 26.
On Thursday, the DA charged landlord Maria Hrynenko and her son, Michael Hrynenko Jr., with involuntary manslaughter ... as well as contractor Dilber Kukic and an unlicensed plumber, Athanasios Ioannidis. (A fifth person, Andrew Trombettas, faces charges for supplying his license to Ioannidis.)
According to the article, Maria Hrynenko was not popular among her tenants.
Some of those tenants, now scattered across the city and country, were encouraged by the thought of their former landlord in handcuffs.
But many also rued the years spent while, they say, Ms. Hrynenko harassed them in her greedy pursuit of higher rents. Prosecutors cited her greed as the driving force behind the explosion.
“I was actually shocked charges were brought at all, and that it happened so quickly,” said Kim-Nora Moses, a tenant who said she had studied building codes and needled inspectors for years about the exhaust system. “But I always felt like she won, because she blew the place up. She said a lot of mean and hurtful things to people; it was clear she wanted to get rid of anyone with a rent-regulated apartment.”
According to the Post, before Thursday's press conference, Hrynenko said "I’m a good person" to reporters as authorities brought her into the DA's office.
All five people that the NYPD arrested pleaded not guilty.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: 2nd Ave. explosion — landlord, 3 others charged with 2nd degree manslaughter; showed 'a blatant and callous disregard for human life'
"Good", Maria? At what? Greed, cruelty, shortsightedness, cupidity, idiocy, thoughtlessness, criminality, avaricious, cunning, selfishness - the list goes on, and in that respect I am forced to agree, yes, you are "good". I hope you wind up a "jailed for life" person, although if it were up to me you'd be a "strapped into the electric chair" person, and placed right next to the one with your son in it.
An excellent NYT article -- I was most struck by the comment from one former resident that if the City had cracked down on the landlord's earlier and lesser transgressions, she might not have gone on to do the gas manipulation. I hope the Mayor reads the story!
What is most amazing is the lack of remorse in this woman two young people have lost their lives many their homes and possessions. Businesses closed and employees working paycheck to paycheck let go. Why? not because she was financially desperate no because enough for some is never enough and a false sense of entitlement with no moral compass fuels it.
Yes, she eventually was caught. But how about the other landlords who continue the harassment of tenants and employ dishonest schemes to save money? What is the city doing to ferret them out? Or do we have to wait for another tragedy?
A good NYT article, nevertheless, just a snapshot of the few people out of the hundreds that were effected.
Q: What's the difference between a psychopath and a landlord?
A:: The psychopath doesn't charge you top dollar while inflicting unbearable pain.
Well, she certainly proved she's "good" at destroying rent-regulated housing, didn't she?
And all those charged will try to blame everyone else but themselves; I see the lawyer is already saying it's all Con Ed's fault. People who own buildings with tenants should be required to deposit a large sum of $$$ with NYC as a bond against ANY future issues that could affect the quality of tenants' lives/safety. This owner and others are motivated only by money, so you have to make them put cold hard cash into escrow or a bond to make them pay attention. Imagine if Raphael Toledano had to put up a bond for every apartment in his "portfolio" - he'd back off very fast or proceed with great caution.
12:46 PM, they do, its called liability insurance.
@nycgrump: Ask the tenants who lost their homes what the owner's liability insurance is doing for them.
I had a landlord on St. Mark's place in the 80s who would often ask his older rent-controlled tenants for a "voluntary" increase.
He was a true slumlord who "renovated" my apartment by putting plywood on the floors—according to other tenants, when the previous tenant was living there, you could see up into his apartment from the store below. He also put a crappy vinyl cabinet in a kitchen that had had none at all.
The water main that connected the building with the street rotted out once, and the dirt collapsed, so we didn't have any water in the dead of winter. The good old days.
I wish I had known to go to DHCR to find out the rent history, but it's probably a good thing I didn't, or I'd still be living in that shit-ass place! (The current tenants there must be paying well over $3000 a month for a railroad flat; and people told me my $750 a month was too much. Which it was.)
No doubt this bunch of criminals will have plenty of time to think about where their greed and inhumanity has landed them for quite a large number of years. I advise them to get some tattoos and start lifting weights because convicts hate landlords.
Pick me!!! pick me!!! I know the answer to this one!!!
I lost my home of 23 years in this tragedy. Maria took over from her husband when he died, and things got bad very quickly. She was always incredibly hostile to me and my roommate, just nasty for no reason other than that I was rent regulated. I might have left willingly if she had ever spoken to me as a human being, but it was always aggression and spite with her. Never did any repairs properly, always cheaped out with her goons who never knew what they were doing. It got to the point where I stopped asking for any repairs, because they'd just come and mess up the job. She was personally involved in everything that happened in those buildings, not the hapless victim she plays now.
I lived there for two years and moved out 6 months prior to the blast. She terrorized her tenants and was a very evil person.
There were weeks without heat and she had a cold meanness I don't think I've encountered before.
I'm so sorry for the victims, and sorry she was not brought to justice earlier. I am glad that this amount of wretchedness does eventually catch up with a person.
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