Stony Brook home's landlord fined $28,000 for code violations

The landlord of one Stony Brook house, at The landlord of one Stony Brook house, at 150 Christian Ave., shown, was cited in 2011 for allegedly renting rooms to 14 students in a single-family house. (July 29, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

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A landlord was ordered on Thursday to pay $28,000 in fines for 15 Brookhaven Town code violations at a Stony Brook house occupied by more than a dozen tenants.

Town attorneys said the fines are among the most levied in a Brookhaven landlord case.

Sixth District Court Judge David A. Morris also imposed a conditional discharge requiring the landlord, North Shore Designs Inc. of Mount Sinai, to cooperate with a town inspection of the house at 150 Christian Ave.

North Shore Designs president Steven Graziano and his attorneys declined to comment on the sentence. They have said they plan to appeal the verdict.

The house has been the focus of complaints by Stony Brook residents upset about houses rented to college students. Brookhaven officials last year announced a crackdown on illegal rentals.

Town officials charged that the house had as many as 16 tenants though it was allowed to have no more than six.

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North Shore Designs was convicted on April 24 of 15 town code violations, including illegally creating apartments, making building alterations without permits, and safety and sanitary code violations. The firm was acquitted of 29 counts, including 24 counts of public safety violations.

The company faced a maximum of $51,000 in fines. Deputy town attorney David J. Moran requested a $48,000 fine and the conditional discharge.

Moran said he was disappointed with the fine amount, but added the discharge would require the landlord to comply with town codes.

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"I believe it's one of the stiffest fines coming out of this court," Moran said. "As always with enforcement, the goal is compliance."

The company has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine in a separate case involving the same dwelling, Moran said.

Bruce Sander, a founder of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, said the fine was too light a sentence.

"He should have been fined the maximum," Sander said, referring to Graziano. "To me, the judge does not support the homeowners."

Morris did not explain his sentence in court.

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