In the Hell's Kitchen section of New York City, DNAinfo (NYC)
- A landlord renovating a Ninth Avenue building exposed tenants to asbestos, lead and other “poisonous" substances in order to force them out of their homes — while telling city officials the property was vacant, a new lawsuit charges.
The owner of the building at 859 Ninth Ave., at the corner of West 56th Street, started renovating the property around December 2014, says the suit filed by a rent-stabilized tenant in Manhattan Supreme Court on March 2.
Since then, tenant Shalom Mor and other residents have been living in “a constant cloud of toxic smoke and dust contaminated with asbestos, lead, crystalline, silicates, gypsum and other poisonous and carcinogenic substances,” his suit says.
The conditions in the building are “designed to constructively and actually evict [Mor] and other tenants from their home, in violation of basic statutory and common law rights,” it adds.
In his suit, Mor claims permit applications the owner filed with the city’s Department of Buildings falsely stated the property wasn’t occupied and that the project wouldn’t involve asbestos. Renovations also moved forward without a tenant-safety plan in place, it says.
According to the lawsuit, Mor and a group of residents hired an environmental consulting company In October 2015 that found the dust kicked up by renovations contained “illegal and harmful levels” of lead, asbestos debris and crystalline silica — all of which have been linked to cancer and other medical ailments.
Dust permeating Mor’s apartment ruined his books, plants, artwork and other belongings, the claim says.
The building's residents have also dealt with flooding, mold and mildew, garbage accumulating in the hallways, exposed wires that create a "constant fire hazard" and rodent infestations, as well as interruptions in heat, electricity and water, the suit says.