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East Village explosion site sale could thwart payout to victims

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The owners could make as much as $12 million from the sale of the properties

NYDN via Getty Images

The owners of the building that caused the 2015 gas explosion in the East Village could make as much as $12 million from the sale of their leveled properties, The New York Post has learned.

Maria Hrynenko and her son, Michael Hrynenko, owners of 119 and 121 Second Avenue, are facing manslaughter charges (along with two others) in connection with the explosion that killed two people, injured several others, and destroyed three buildings. Lawyers for the victims are concerned that the Hrynenkos could cash out on their properties even before their case goes to trial, and potentially hide the funds from the sale.

The site that was home to Pommes Frites, 123 Second Avenue, and not owned by the Hrynenkos, sold to Ezra Obowo in September last year for $6 million. A broker reached out to him recently asking if he’d be willing to sell the site as part of a larger three property sale (including the sites owned by the Hrynenkos), according to the Post. Obowo declined the offer.

Dozens of lawsuits have been brought against the Hrynenkos after the city’s investigation found that an illegally installed gas line at 121 Second Avenue caused the deadly explosion. Actress Drea de Matteo is among the people suing the Hrynenkos, but de Matteo and her neighbors have also blamed the city for not properly inspecting the site. The city on its part has refuted any involvement.

In the aftermath of the explosion, city lawmakers called for stricter gas laws that would prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.