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Hempstead building inspector charged with building code violation

Hempstead Town code enforcement officer Roy Gunther Jr.

Hempstead Town code enforcement officer Roy Gunther Jr. was charged with a violation for debris allegedly left at his Oceanside home, seen on July 17, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Hempstead Town officials charged a municipal code enforcement officer with violating town code by letting garbage and construction debris accumulate outside his Oceanside home, court documents show.

Roy Gunther Jr. was charged with a violation after a May 30 “on-site field inspection” at his Riverside Drive home. Gunther’s co-worker, who performed the inspection, found “brick piles, milk crates, a sink, a toilet bowl, and varying garbage and construction debris stored on the property at the exterior of the dwelling,” documents state.

Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said Gunther’s home was damaged by superstorm Sandy in 2012 and that a contractor working to raise the house left the debris there. The town was notified of the alleged issues by a confidential complaint, he said.

Gunther, who is not believed to be living at the home while it is under construction, may not have known about the debris, Deery said. It was cleaned up “very shortly after” a summons was issued, he said. Fines for the violation could be up to $500 but are set at the court’s discretion, he said.

Neither Gunther nor his lawyer could be reached Monday.

The contractor listed on Gunther’s application is James Marinello Construction Company Inc. of Merrick, Deery said. Charges are always filed against the property owner, not the contractor, he said. A voicemail left for the company Monday evening was not immediately returned.

Gunther received two other summonses for not having a permit to disconnect a gas meter, but the building inspector wrote the wrong date on the ticket. The issue was corrected by the time the inspector returned to fix the tickets, so the charges were dropped ahead of the court appearance, Deery said.

He said Gunther had other necessary permits for the construction.

Deery said he’s not aware of other Sandy victims being issued summonses for similar offenses.

“These are people who have been victimized and are struggling to recover,” Deery said. “We hold our building inspectors to a higher standard than anyone else.”

Gunther is due back in Nassau County District Court in Hempstead on Aug. 17, according to online court records.

Gunther is listed as a “code enforcement officer III” in the town building department with a $125,333 annual salary, according to 2016 payroll records. He was hired in 1999.

Part of Gunther’s job duties include performing inspections similar to the one conducted at his property. He is still working in the building department, Deery said.

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