The clock is ticking for Goldfarb Properties.
A Bronx housing court judge’s ruling is giving the company about two weeks – with a July 31 deadline – left to reinstall all the illegally removed fire escapes at 2400 Webb Avenue – or face thousands in fines.
Judge Jerry Klein noted Goldfarb and his son could also be held in contempt if he skirts the deadline.
Residents, some still out of their University Heights apartment, were happy to see the deadline chopped down from August 6, the date requested by the defense.
“Holding them to July 31st is the best thing,” said John Maynard Harris, a tenant representing his neighbors in court.
Michael Staton, another tenant rep, said repairs are moving along as the city’s Buildings and Housing, Preservation and Development departments monitor the work.
“They seem to be making consistent and steady progress,” said Staton.
But residents say the building is still operating with limited services despite repairs to the building.
Among the cutoff perks are the laundry room and indoor garage that’s being used as the work site’s “staging area”, according to HPD attorney Miguel Estrada. “They’re using the building as a Lego toy!” groused longtime resident Virginia Vicenty.
But Judge Klein declined to hear about those issues, sticking instead with getting residents back into their homes. He did recommend they continue separate suits against Goldfarb.
Outspoken Goldfarb critic Yvonne Tyson said she wants to pursue a criminal case against the management company for removing the fire escapes. She charges Goldfarb intentionally removed the fire escapes as a ploy to get rid of any long-term tenants that pay below-market rent.
She plans to bring up the issue at an informational get-together set for Saturday, July 14.
“We will be taking some kind of action,” said Tyson, who is still living temporarily out in Nassau County.
Goldfarb’s attorney, Robert Dashow, did not speak to either tenants or to The Bronx Times at the court hearing.
He asked Judge Klein to have his clients, Philip Goldfarb and his son Marc, removed as the litigants of the case, drawing snickers from the crowd.
As of Wednesday press time, about half of the tenants had returned to the building, mostly on the first and second floors. More residents are expected to move back in by July 20, the day Judge Klein gets an update.
The tenant’s troubles date back to April, when a Goldfarb contractor removed fire escapes without a Department of Buildings work permit, deeming the seven-floor, 75-unit building unsafe.
Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email@example.com.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383