Former Residents of 289 Grand Street Sue Landlord for “Gross Negligence”

Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 at 6:43 am by

Nearly two years after a devastating seven-alarm fire tore through a bustling block of Lower East Side, killing one and leaving 200 homeless, the complicated saga of 289 Grand Street continues. Displaced residents from the corner building have been engaged in legal matters since the blaze forced them from home. Most recent was a case in August 2011 which accused the landlords of negligence. Through it all the building residents are trying to stop demolition, saying it can be saved.

289 Grand Street, morning after fire (April 2010)

Now another lawsuit is underway. Last week, the twenty-two former tenants filed suit against the owners and former managers of the property – Fair Only Real Estate Corporation, Fair Only Realty, Solomon Scheinfeld, Ralph Sherman, Wong’s Grand Street Realty, Tong’s Realty, Tong’s Management, and Tong’s Management Corp. The nineteen-page complaint reveals the terrible conditions that plaintiffs allege led to the fire, and the lack of preventative action by landlords. Some excerpts:

Years of willful neglect by the 283-285 landlords created a tinderbox that enabled the fire to spread rapidly through open voids and light shafts. Among other things, the 283-285 landlords negligently maintained 283 Grand Street’s electrical wiring, leaving wiring exposed throughout the building and thus increasing the likelihood of an electrical malfunction.

The 283-285 landlords kept 283-285 Grand Street in a perpetual state of disrepair, allowing severe water leaks to rot out walls and invade electrical outlets. Throughout the buildings, the 283-285 landlords provided ample kindling for the fire, failing to remove garbage and rubbish, which routinely spilled out into shared hallways and stairwells and accumulated in the buildings’ basements and backyards.

Both 283 and 285 Grand Street are classified as old law tenements under the New York City Administrative Code. Although required by Sections 27-2005 and 28-301.1 of the New York City Administrative Code and Section 15-07 of the New York City Rules, the 283-285 landlords had not installed or maintained proper fire stopping in the walls, hallways, stairs, and other building partitions of 283 and 285 Grand Street. The 283-285 landlords also failed to patch holes in the walls and ceilings, leaving exposed wooden slats. The lack of any insulation or other fire stopping material allowed the fire to rapidly travel up the buildings’ walls, spreading to the upper floors of the adjoining 289 Grand Street.

Plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages for gross negligence. Or, the contractual language, “recovery for the 283-285 Grand Street Landlord’s intentional, willful, malicious, and negligent actions, which directly caused the Fire at 283 and 285 Grand Street, destroyed their personal property, and left them temporarily homeless.”

For more on the case, consult the legal paperwork below:

289 Grand Street Lawsuit

Recent Stories

Johnny Thunders Take 2
Revisiting Rachel Amodeo’s East Village Classic ‘What About Me’ [INTERVIEW]

I don’t know about you, but every time I find out about a movie that was filmed in the East Village circa NOT present day, I get super excited. I revel in the unique gritty history, and how the streets were not littered with a Starbucks and ::insert generic Bank name here:: every other step. That’s […]

daily-show-santa
The Daily Show Does a Bit on SantaCon, Interviews Organizer ‘Costume Jim’ [VIDEO]

Last night, five whole days after SantaCon blew through New York City, the The Daily Show decided to air a quick treatment of the event. As you would imagine, the segment exposes the shitshow that happens each year. Most interesting, though, is watching the footage after learning about Costume Jim Glaser and his ties to […]

319grand-gallery
New Grand Street Avant Garde Gallery Doubles as ‘Luxury Vape Lounge’

The Grenco Science pop-up vaporizer joint isn’t the only such retail action happening this weekend. Remember that gallery we told you about last month at 319 Grand Street? Well, Avant Garde by MMC, as it’s now known, itself doubles as a “luxury vape lounge.” In fact, its tagline is “where vape meets art.” The grand […]

Rad Roubeni
Artist Rad Roubeni Hosting a Month-Long Gallery Show Inside Former Chase Bank on Delancey

So it looks like the old Chase bank branch at 104 Delancey Street has morphed into a pseudo gallery space, albeit a temporary one. At least until the landlord can find a suitable tenant willing to foot the bill. We saw workers cleaning up the other night for a similar event. After two years of […]

nypd-arrest-east-broadway
Plainclothes Officer Punches Teen During Arrest on East Broadway, NYPD Investigating Incident [UPDATED]

An eight-minute video surfaced online this week showing three teens being arrested by a gaggle of 7th Precinct officers on East Broadway. The boys are seen getting cuffed while pressed up against parked cars outside Seward Park. Iglesia Cristiana Primitiva church is visible in the background. What’s rather disturbing is the plainclothes cop who, for […]

  • RJJNY

    Feel bad for all those people (and their pets) every time I walk past 91 Eldirdge/289 Grand and see it still boarded up. Am increasingly paranoid about fires in our tenement on Eldridge these days, have had boiler smoke situations and one close call when a restaurant on the ground floor left something on a switched-on hotplate overnight, necessitating a Fire Dept visit at 3am and some tenant bonding outside in the snow. 

    Does anyone know what the structures on the roof of 283 Grand Street were? Have a pic here from before the fire: http://oi44.tinypic.com/4rb3u8.jpg you can see there were several rows of some weird raised slats facing south. 

    • http://nychinatown.org/ Lucky_dog89

      those structures–pointing south, and tilted upwards toward the sky–were solar panels.  

      here 
      http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap/ 
      you can see the structures from above, click on years 2006, and 1996 when aerial maps were available.