Landlords charged with manslaughter for illegal subdivisions

TRD New York /
Jun.June 14, 2012 02:00 PM

Two Bensonhurst, Brooklyn landlords were indicted today in the deaths of five tenants at an apartment building the pair had allegedly illegally subdivided, said a statement from Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes today.

Vasilios Gerazounis, 68, and his son, Argyrios Gerazounis, 37, joint owners of 2033 86th Street, were indicted on numerous charges of manslaughter, reckless endangerment and one count of assault stemming from a December 2010 fire that killed five tenants. The fire was caused by arson.

The DA’s statement said that the tenants’ means of egress was blocked due to the illegal conversions at the building, which city records said had one unit each on the second and third floors. The defendants allegedly converted the second floor to two apartments, and the third floor to four. More than 10 people lived on each floor, and the landlord charged by the occupant, rather than for the unit, the indictment says.

“Although the arsonist is responsible for setting the fire, he does not shoulder the blame alone,” Hynes said in the statement. “The landlords share in the responsibility for each of the five deaths and the injuries. They owned, maintained, and made money from a building with illegal subdivisions that blocked tenants’ ability to escape in a deadly fire.”

Similar illegal subdivisions were found at a neighboring property also owned by the defendants, the DA’s office said in the statement.

“The five innocent lives lost in this tragic fire may have been saved if this building had not been illegally converted,” said Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri.

The indictment says that landlords are responsible for providing two means of direct outlet on the second and third floors of a dwelling which they own, and must maintain the exits regardless of who built any obstructions or when they were erected.

“[Illegally subdivided properties] are potential deathtraps, created purely for profit, which put the lives of tenants and firefighters needlessly at risk,” New York City Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore Cassano added. — Guelda Voien


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Robert Durst appears in court for during opening statements in his murder trial on March 4, 2020 in Los Angeles (Photo by Etienne Laurent -Pool/Getty Images)

Robert Durst murder trial could be suspended as LA courts shutter over coronavirus

Robert Durst murder trial could be suspended as LA courts shutter over coronavirus
Larkin Plaza (Credit: Rendering courtesy of SLCE Architects)

RXR project among developments caught up in alleged Gambino mob scheme

RXR project among developments caught up in alleged Gambino mob scheme
Michael Shah (Credit: iStock)

Manhattan DA drops charges against developer Michael Shah

Manhattan DA drops charges against developer Michael Shah
Fotis Dulos (AP Images/ Erik Trautmann)

Developer Fotis Dulos, charged with killing his wife, is dead

Developer Fotis Dulos, charged with killing his wife, is dead
Fotis Dulos (AP Images/ Erik Trautmann)

Connecticut developer charged with killing wife is rushed to hospital after apparent suicide attempt

Connecticut developer charged with killing wife is rushed to hospital after apparent suicide attempt
Elsa Segura (left) was arrested in connection to realtor Monique Baugh's (right) murder (Credit: iStock)

Second suspect charged in real estate agent’s abduction, murder

Second suspect charged in real estate agent’s abduction, murder
Monique Baugh (Credit: Facebook)

Real estate agent abducted during showing and then murdered

Real estate agent abducted during showing and then murdered
Creston Apartments at 2030 Creston Avenue in the Bronx (Credit: Google Maps, iStock)

Construction firm with alleged mob ties worked on Bronx affordable housing project

Construction firm with alleged mob ties worked on Bronx affordable housing project
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...