Court to L.I. developer: pay $215K or go to jail

Condo units lacked certificate of occupancy, retaining wall in danger of collapse

A State Supreme Court judge late Wednesday ordered the developers of Cambridge Park Condominium in Williston Park, N.Y., to pay $215,000 within 72 hours for failing to fix a crumbling retaining wall at the 37-unit complex or face up to five days in jail, The Real Deal has learned.

Judge Manuel Mendez ordered the developers, Richard and Deborah Mohring, to pay the funds after state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the pair for fraud and misrepresentation.

The Mohrings, who operate a company called Mohring & Sons Enterprises in Sea Cliff, N.Y., sold all 37 units at the complex, a conversion of two former rental buildings at 711-725 Willis Avenue, but pocketed all the proceeds and reneged on numerous promises to fix defective construction at the complex, according to the State Attorney General’s office. “By their inactions and indifference these developers have imperiled the safety of the residents of the Cambridge Park Condominium,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “And they did so in in open defiance of three separate court orders over a year and a half.”

Following a 2007 fire at the complex, Long Island Power Authority shut off the electricity at the property and an inspection found that the condo did not have property certificates of occupancy and also unveiled several problems with construction. The inspection showed that the developers had failed to obtain certificates of occupancy for 15 of the 37 units and also had failed to make promised repairs of an 18-foot concrete retaining wall that was under threat of collapse.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

According to Schneiderman’s office the conditions at the building put the lives of its residents in jeopardy and the lack of an occupancy certificate rendered the apartments illegal to live in.

The Attorney General’s office in 2010 sent an engineer to the complex; the engineer inspected the property along with a local inspector brought in by the condo. According to the inspectors, the wall was being pressured by trees and a garage from an adjacent property and also had clogged weep holes, which placed the wall under threat of imminent collapse.

An agreement was reached with Schneiderman’s office to fix the wall in the spring of 2011, but Mohring said the proceeds to fix it would come from a closing of another property he owned. That closing was allegedly delayed and he never responded to repeated attempts to contact him.

A call to Richard and Deborah Mohring was not returned.