Samy Mahfar was Issued Violations for ‘Gas Tapping’ at 22 Spring Street
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Of all the SMA Equities properties netting negative news lately, 22 Spring Street hasn’t even appeared as a blip on the proverbial radar. Until now, at least. The Little Italy tenement (near Elizabeth) is a recent acquisition, purchased by controversial landlord Samy Mahfar in October of last year for $8.5 million. It’s the same old story, really. Only this time, Mahfar’s alleged actions carry much greater weight in the wake of the fatal building explosion on Second Avenue last week.
At the behest of embattled residents worried about a shady gas hookup, the Department of Buildings and Con Edison paid a joint visit to 22 Spring on Friday afternoon (one day after the explosion). It was determined, we are informed, that the gas lines for residential units was illegally connected to the meter in the commercial space of the west store (i.e. “gas tapping”). The city agency slapped SMA Equities with a pair of violations for a gas system that was not inspected or authorized by the DOB.
As a result of the failed inspection and subsequent violations, the new gas meters were apparently removed from the premises. That means those “pre-construction” residents do not currently have hot water; heat is available since it was recently converted to electricity. The new (i.e. market rate) tenants, however, do not have heat or hot water because both are powered by the aforementioned gas system.
Not surprisingly, SMA Equities’ installation of the rogue gas plumbing is of great concern to tenants of 22 Spring. Siphoning gas from commercial units is allegedly the cause of the blast at 121 Second Avenue last Thursday, an explosion that razed three tenements, killed two, and injured/displaced dozens. But other Mahfar properties around the Lower East Side are equally worried about the possibility of jury-rigged gas lines in their buildings, too.