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5.23.2010

judge issues arrest warrant for crappy landlord

Asians behaving badly... crappy landlord edition! Last week in New York, a judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Sam Suzuku, whose 49-unit apartment building in Bronx River boasts an impressive 663 open violations: Judge Loses Patience With a Bronx Landlord.

An arrest warrant is apparently pretty rare in housing court, but the building was just that bad -- shedding lead paint, collapsing ceilings, cockroaches, rats -- and the judge was just sick and tired of Suzuki's failure to fix the violations and show up in court:
"Mr. Suzuki has treated the court with such disdain," said Beatrice Hamza Bassey, a lawyer with Hughes Hubbard & Reed, which, with the Legal Aid Society of New York, is representing tenants in the case. "There's abject squalor in the building. Inhumane conditions. No one should be living under those kinds of conditions."

Mr. Suzuki said late Wednesday afternoon that he had not been served with an arrest warrant and that he would not comment on the case. He also said he was merely the manager of the building, although in the most recent document in the city register pertaining to the property, from May 2009, he said he was the "sole member" of the corporation that owned it.

The arrest warrant is the latest twist in a harrowing journey for the tenants. Their building had previously been owned by the Ocelot Capital Group, a real estate investment group that bought and then abandoned 25 Bronx buildings, which fell into disrepair. Ten of the buildings ended up on the city's list of worst residential buildings in 2007 and 2008. In December, Omni New York, the real estate company led by the former Mets player Mo Vaughn, won a bid to take over 14 of the buildings.
Sounds like this arrest warrant is the last resort in a long, terrible journey for the tenants of this property, especially since Suzuki supposedly promised he would clear the violations and turn things around when he purchased the buildings. Perhaps he'll think things through a little more from a prison cell. Better yet, make him live in one of his own crappy buildings!