Menachem Stark’s brother does jail time for neglecting units

Aron Stark sent to Rikers for failing to make court-ordered repairs

rikers island, 1422 Greene Avenue
1422 Greene Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)

In an unusual occurrence, a Brooklyn landlord was locked up at Rikers Island for not making court-ordered repairs.

Aron Stark spent eight days in the notorious jail after failing to fix a variety of violations at 1422 Greene Avenue in Bushwick, Gothamist reported. The litany of problems at the three-story apartment building include roaches and lack of heat and hot water.

Inspectors have cited the property for heat outages and inadequate fire protection dating back to 2021. The jail stint may have had less to do with the violations than with his failure to respond to court notices; Stark was arrested for civil contempt on Dec. 8 and sent to Rikers by Judge Remy Smith.

“A landlord being a tenant of a jail cell isn’t just rare, it’s nearly unheard of,” Aaron Carr, founder of Housing Rights Initiative, told Gothamist.

Stark’s release was contingent on him setting aside money for more than $212,000 in fines and lining up contractors to make repairs. He owes more than $650,000 for violations across his portfolio, according to court records.

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Aron is the brother of Menachem Stark, a Williamsburg landlord and developer who was killed during a botched kidnapping in January 2014.

Aron Stark has run into trouble before. In 2019 he was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison following a guilty plea to Medicaid and food stamp fraud. Five legal cases are pending against Stark related to repairs requested at his Brooklyn properties.

At the Bushwick building (pictured below), the tenant association has sued Stark. In a statement, it expressed disappointment about the problems persisting despite the actions of the city and the legal system.

1422 Greene Avenue

1422 Greene Avenue in Bushwick (Google Maps)

Tenants of the building went on a rent strike at the start of the pandemic to try to force Stark to make repairs. The building, which has 46 open violations, including 21 for immediately hazardous conditions, was placed in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program two years ago.

The agency issued a statement to Gothamist highlighting the landlord’s punishment as justified, but did not explain why its program has yet to alleviate the problem. The city has the right to repair buildings itself and bill the owner for the costs.

— Holden Walter-Warner