New York officials announced today that charges have been brought against landlord Daniel Melamed, who is accused of endangering the healthy and safety of his rent-regulated tenants in 1578 Union Street in Crown Heights in an effort to drive them from the building. Pirooz Soltanizadeh, an engineer that Melamed hired to do his dirty work, was also indicted. The arrests are the first to result from an investigation of the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, announced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo back in February. Melamed allegedly shut off the building's heat, exposed tenants to as much as 88 times the permissible threshold of lead dust, and unlawfully destroyed interior walls and common spaces in the building. He also stated in DOB filings that the building was vacant, when it wasn't. He and Soltanizadeh both face up to 1.3 to 4 years in prison.
A.G. Schneiderman had this to say, via a press release:
Today's charges send a strong message to landlords across New York City: if you harass, intimidate, or jeopardize the health and safety of your tenants, we will come after you with the full force of the law. Our task force is working hard to identify, investigate, and prosecute the worst landlords in this city. I look forward to continue working with Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and my many other colleagues in government to continue the task force's work on behalf of all New York City residents. · Brooklyn landlord is charged with pushing tenants out of rent-regulated apartments [Crain's]