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Nassau withholds payments for some Hempstead Village rental units

Florine Suratt and Ronald Reed, foreground, rally with

Florine Suratt and Ronald Reed, foreground, rally with other tenants and community activists over safety violations and health risks at 40 W. Columbia St. in Hempstead Village on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Management for the housing complex at 40 W. Columbia St. in Hempstead Village will not be paid rent for 31 federally subsidized units until broken ledging has been repaired, according to county officials.

Nassau County Housing Director John Zarcone, who administers the county’s federal Section 8 program, which pays most of the rent for the units in the complex, said “the repairs have been delayed too long,” and that he has notified Manhattan management firm Jordan Cooper LLC of the halted payments.

A woman who identified herself at the Manhattan company only as Michelle said: “We have no comment at this time.”

“They had given management until July 1 to fix the ledges there and simply did not do it,” Zarcone said in an interview. “It was a safety issue, and we had already given them a 30-day extension for the work. That was up July 1. Now, they will lose the payment for every day, week or month that work is not completed.”

He added that he is not trying to put the company into a financial bind, “but failure to make these repairs is unacceptable.”

Last week, a group of tenants and housing advocates held a rally at 40 W. Columbia, and one of the their complaints was about the condition of ledges.

“We want landlords to fix specific violations, such as cracked scaffolding, that puts tenants at risk at 40 W. Columbia,” said Ben Britton, a housing organizer with New York Communities for Change, which sponsored the rally.

He said in an interview that he is pleased “at the county’s action, and I hope this means management will soon fix these safety issues.”

Village Building Department Superintendent Joseph Simone said the West Columbia Street site has received 113 housing summonses since 2014 — “a laundry list of citations all about housing and property maintenance . . . including crumbling windowsills, improper ventilation, no air conditioning for part of the summer last year and litter.”

He added that the owner and management have paid $26,000 in fines. “Some summonses are still outstanding, while others are being litigated,” he said.

In an interview, village Mayor Wayne Hall said, “We’re doing what we can within the law.”

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