The beds are back.
A used mattress company being investigated by the state and shut down by the city is back up and running —for now — out of a warehouse at the edge of a quiet residential dead-end street in Van Nest.
The city Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) issued a license in January to Shesare Monclus to sell used mattresses —just two months after the city agency shut down SM Bedding, a company which Monclus according to city records owns, for ignoring a court order to stop production.
Two dueling probes
Neighbors have long claimed that the company picks up rancid mattresses from around the borough and sells the beds without properly cleaning them.
“They’re washing them right in a dirty lot. It’s filthy there,” a neighbor on the street who asked not to be named told the Times-Reporter in June 2013, adding that the beds are exposed to the air without any plastic covers.
DCA investigators shut down SM Bedding at 1609 Van Buren Avenue in November 2013 after a raid found that the company was still selling used mattresses after facing thousands of dollars of fines for operating without a secondhand dealer license.
When asked whether Monclus had paid off those fines in order to be given a license two months later, a Department spokesperson said the agency was looking into it.
The bedding company is also being investigated in a separate probe by the State Department of State, which issued SM Bedding a license in 2002. State records say SM Bedding’s bedding license expired in 2006, but the company had been flying under the radar for six years, until a report in the Times-Reporter prompted the Dept. of State to take another look.
That agency issued another company with Monclus listed as its owner and 1609 Van Buren Avenue listed as its address, RPM Bedding Shesare Monclu, a bedding license a month after starting its probe, on July 26, 2013, according to state records.
There is a market for used mattresses, but companies must wash their products with a state-approved chemical before selling them, said Laz Benitez, a spokesman for the Dept. of State.
Benitez could not comment on the status of the current investigation.
Neighbors long bugged out about the company’s legality are demanding answers for why the company has been allowed to reopen.
“This kind of thing can make or break a neighborhood,” said Bernadette Ferrera, vice president of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance. “We need to know what’s going on.”
For now, the folks behind the company won’t be providing the Times-Reporter with any insight.
There was no number listed for either Shesare Monclus Inc., SM Bedding Inc. or RPM Shesare Monclu Inc.
Reporter chased away
A reporter from the Bronx Times who dropped by the Van Buren Avenue warehouse to ask for comment was chased out of the garage before he could ask any questions.
Inside the warehouse, hundreds of mattresses were stacked floor to ceiling. Outside the warehouse, in the fenced garage, a white truck idled, filled with even more mattresses.
The name “Chesare Monclus” —with a C, not an S —was etched onto the mailbox outside the garage.