The Cost of Doing Business
On August 10, 2011, a group of about 20 concerned Town of Huntington residents went to the 3rd District Court, on New York Ave. in Huntington Station, to see first hand how code violations are being dealt with. Some of the people who attended are part of a group called the Citizens for Huntington Code Enforcement. This group was organized by individuals who are dissatisfied with the way Town government has been addressing the abuses by absentee landlords and the blatant disregard for our current town codes. These members are banding together to bring attention to the issue, analyze and present the facts and put pressure on Frank Petrone and the Town Council to address this safety and quality of life issue. This group currently has over 175 members.
Huntingtonian reporters spoke with some of the people in attendance and asked them what compelled them to show up in court today? One Member said, “We are here to deliver a letter to Judge Hackeling to let him know that we are fed up and we want him to be as tough as possible on landlords who abuse the system, especially of non-owner occupied properties”. Several members expressed disappointment that the arraignment for the home on Columbia Street, which was one of their chief concerns, was postponed. The property owner did not show up. This is not the first time this hearing has been delayed. This particular address houses about 5 or 6 families living in deplorable conditions. There are 4 school aged children living there. The garage appears to be ready to cave in.
Another member of the group expressed, “It breaks my heart that children have to live in such conditions”. Others expressed outrage that the amount of property taxes being collected for the school district is about $5000, and the home is listed as a 6 family home.
From what the Huntingtonian reporters learned through research and observation is it is commonplace that these landlords are working the system. They manage to postpone the cases while still collecting rent. When they do finally show up, the nominal fines are probably considered the cost of doing business in the Town of Huntington. Some of these landlords are collecting as much as $10,000 per month on a single family home and receiving fines of a few hundred dollars. The Huntingtonian is currently investigating which of the landlords who have pending cases are collecting section 8 subsidies. Guess who pays for these subsidies?
On this same day, David Ney who owns some deplorable homes throughout the Huntington Township, was ordered to pay $750 bail. This case has been pending for one year and there has been several delay’s. Judge Hackeling ordered Mr. Ney to pay bail in the amount $750 and again delayed his case. He has violations on three properties. He was told that he would lose his bail if he did not show up at the next hearing. Mr. Ney was smirking as he left the courtroom.
This is the letter that the group presented to Judge Hackeling.