We received the following letter on Friday (other recipients include Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Sen. Brad Hoylman and City Council member Rosie Mendez)....
To: Raphael Toledano and Brookhill Properties
From: Toledano Tenants Coalition
The Toledano Tenants Coalition is gravely concerned about demolition taking place at buildings owned by you, or entities controlled by you.
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has placed violations for elevated levels of lead dust in several of your buildings, causing the Coalition concern for tenant safety during ongoing demolition. Specifically, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) found that samples taken at three buildings you own contain elevated lead levels ranging from 1.5 to 16 times acceptable levels.
The three buildings, 235 East 5th Street, 233 East 5th Street, and 514 East 12th Street, were found to have elevated lead levels in common areas. Two of these buildings are home to children under six years old. Elevated lead levels can be hazardous to anyone, and can cause physical and developmental disabilities in children under six years old.
When you, or entities controlled by you, do demolition work that poses a potential risk of lead exposure to tenants, we demand that:
• A proper lead mitigation plan that utilizes an EPA-certified abatement contractor is put in place;
• Local Law 1, the New York City Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2004, is followed.
In addition, we demand you take the following precautions to protect tenants:
• Notify building residents two days in advance of demolition work.
• Post warning signs outside work areas while work’s in progress.
• Clean, clear, and seal off work areas.
• HEPA-vacuum before doing work.
• Cover/seal ALL windows, floors, vents and doorways with plastic and waterproof tape.
• HEPA-vacuum and wet-mop work areas after each day's work.
• Store work materials in sealed containers, or remove them from premises after each day’s work.
• Carefully discard debris, and ensure that no dust or debris is tracked out of work areas.
• Spray plastic barriers with water mist, and safely remove them; fold and seal plastic in plastic bags.
Tenants have been advised that if they don’t believe you’re complying with the law, including the legally mandated demands outlined above, they should call 311, and report your activities to the relevant city agencies, including DOB, HPD, DEP, and DOHMH.
In closing, please don’t use demolition/renovation as a ploy to begin buyout discussions with tenants.
The Toledano Tenants Coalition
On April 12, several members of the Toledano Tenants Coalition and other activists gathered in front of the Brookhill offices at 298 Fifth Ave. "to fight against eviction efforts and other problems at their buildings," as The Villager reports in its current issue.
A Brookhill spokesperson told The Villager that they dispatched "a professional remediation crew [that] quickly rectified the situation and brought the property into full compliance" upon receiving a notice from the Department of Health.
"We continue with constant monitoring of the property to ensure the health and safety of all of our tenants, which is our primary concern," the spokesperson told The Villager.
However, Coalition members said that the work continues unabated.
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