Landlord warned city about manager of Bronx shelter where girls died: report

Kai Management claims its warnings were ignored by operator and DHS

720 Hunts Point Avenue (Credit: PropertyShark)
720 Hunts Point Avenue (Credit: PropertyShark)

A landlord repeatedly warned the city that the nonprofit operating a homeless shelter where two girls died from a malfunctioning radiator in the Bronx had ignored multiple safety and maintenance warnings.

On May 26 Martin Weiss, a property manager at Kai Management, sent an email to Lucille McEwen, an executive deputy commissioner at the Department of Homeless Services, warning her that the nonprofit running the homeless shelter had ignored several warnings about defective elevators at a Brooklyn shelter located at 476 Pulaski Street.

While Kai owns the Brooklyn building, the nonprofit Bushwick Economic Development Corporation manages the homeless shelter and is contractually obliged to maintain the building and ensure safety, DNAinfo reports.

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Two weeks ago, a defective radiator in a Bronx shelter operated by BEDCO burned two young girls to death. The Bronx District Attorney and the city are investigating the case.

“Not taking care of the dozens of HPD/Sanitation/Health violations is bad, but now you are playing with the LIVES of your residents,” Weiss wrote in one email to BEDCO executive director Frank Boswell, according to documents Kai shared with DNAinfo. “Please do not disregard this email as you do with all others because this one you can get charged with manslaughter if something happens.”

One of Kai’s owners, Solomon Kapelyus, said he never received help after contacting the the Department of Homeless Services. “They won’t speak to you or say it’s not our problem,” he said. “It’s sad to think something so egregious like an eviction or a tragedy has to happen in order for them to take responsibility.” [DNAinfo]Konrad Putzier