[Image via Streeteasy]
The following report was released last week via the Cooper Square Committee and the Lead Dust Free New York City coalition.
Tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. recently received notice that work crews hired by Jared Kushner’s Westminster City Living contaminated their building with lead-laden construction dust. The contamination was the result of unchecked dust from demolition work being performed in the building.
A report issued by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from November shows elevated levels of lead in four of the five samples collected in the building. The sample with the highest level was nearly 10X (383 µg/ft2) the acceptable standards prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for floors/treads of 39 µg/ft2.
In the fall of 2015, tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. endured bouts of no heat, mounting trash, and a longstanding cooking gas outage. The tenants then filed an HP Action in January 2016 for repairs and services to be restored. A motion was also filed in court to hold Westminster in contempt of court due to the lack of restoration of services.
Tenants of 118 E. Fourth St. and the Lead Dust Free NYC coalition are now calling the unsafe conditions to be remedied immediately and for safe work practices to be put in place for all work being performed. Tenants, advocates and elected officials are calling on the City to improve enforcement around lead and to increase penalties for landlords who contaminate buildings.
Many provisions with NYC’s lead laws, Local Law 1 of 2004, are not being utilized by the City. A City Council hearing in September of this year called to attention major deficits within the enforcement and regulations surrounding Local Law 1.
"I was in my apartment on a day when they began demolition. A dust cloud invaded my entire apartment from the demolition happening in the apartment below me. I felt a burning in back of my throat along with feeling of grit. I decided to leave for my own safety," said David Dupuis, a tenant of No. 118 for 35 years. "When I returned in the evening, the halls and everything in my apartment was completely covered in dust. The burning sensation at the back of my throat lasted for days."
You can find the full release, including comments from elected local officials, as well as the health department's report from November, at this link.
In an article on the report for The Villager, a spokesperson for the Kushner Companies said: "As soon as we were alerted to the condition, we instructed the contractor responsible to immediately clean the public areas and to implement stricter measures to prevent construction dust or debris from escaping the work area. Kushner always uses a lead-certified contractor who fully complies with the law."
Kushner bought the buildings during his East Village land grab in February 2013.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Local politicos join residents of 2 Jared Kushner-owned buildings to speak out about poor living conditions, alleged harassment
Jared Kushner's residents at 118 E. 4th St. would like gas for cooking and some heat
Get the lead out: Tenants call for protections from lead dust during renovations
Tenant activists praise lead reform, urge for more protections from city against predatory landlords