Contractor charged in fatal East Village explosion illegally renovating Harlem apartments: complaint

Dilber Kukic accused of tearing down walls and rewiring without permits

East Village explosion site and 303 West 154th Street (Credit: PropertyShark)
East Village explosion site and 303 West 154th Street (Credit: PropertyShark)

The contractor who was charged with manslaughter following the fatal East Village gas explosion is now performing illegal renovations at Harlem apartments, according to a new complaint.

Dilber Kukic is gut renovating four apartments at 303 West 154th Street with no permits, according to the New York Daily News. The complaint to the Department of Buildings from Jerry Leazer, who worked as a broker at the building, says the contractor has been doing rewiring work and removing walls without the proper approvals.

Inspectors went to the building on Thursday but could not enter and posted a notice telling the landlord, Uphattan Corporation’s John Schreiber, to schedule an inspection.

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Kukic has been accused of sparking the gas explosion that killed two people on Second Avenue in 2015 by manipulating gas lines. Nexus Development Group is now planning to build a seven-story, 21-unit condo project at the site.

Leazer told the News that the work in Harlem was meant to turn one-bedroom apartments into two-bedroom apartments and that he decided to stop working as a broker at the building last month.

“We have rented to almost everyone currently living in these properties,” Leazer said, “and I am concerned for their safety.” [NYDN]Eddie Small