Relocator Michel Pimienta Allegedly Harassing Tenants at 43 Essex Street; Stop-Work Order Issued for Illegal Gas Hookup

Posted on: April 21st, 2015 at 10:01 am by
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After a generation of Zerling family ownership, it would appear 43 Essex Street is now in the wrong hands. The building that previously housed G&S Sporting Goods sold at the end of December for $6.9 million, and the new landlord is already in trouble with the Department of Buildings. Tenants are also allegedly being harassed. Story sound familiar? It’s a Lower East Side cliche at this point.

The city agency issued three separate stop-work orders to the owner of 43 Essex Street, Paul Galasso, over the last few weeks, thanks in part to ongoing gut renovation inside the old boxing store. Apparently contractors have been working on the gas and electric lines without posted permits. The DOB also inspected, and found an “illegal gas connection to boiler in cellar.”

These complaints originated from worried residents of 43 Essex, who inititally submitted the ticket to DOB in February. Before the Second Avenue blast. All three stop-work orders remain in place today, but gut renovation reportedly continues. Meanwhile, tenants “have no gas, heat, or hot water for a month after [Galasso installed] a ‘new’ gas hot water heater (replacing brand 2 year old oil hot water heater).”

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But Wait, it gets worse. We hear that relocation specialist Michel Pimienta is allegedly farming out his harassment services here. A tipster tells us, “[Pimienta is] telling tenants the building is unsafe, not giving out keys, telling us we can get better deals elsewhere.” Standard tactics. These allegations against the Galasso henchman are the second in the last few months, behind 22 Spring Street.

Where is District Attorney Eric Schneiderman and local officials? Isn’t this bully supposedly barred from such tenant relocation activities? Pimienta paid a $50,000 fine last fall and agreed to halt the harassment.

G&S Sporting Goods is missed.

It was founded in 1937 by an Estonian immigrant boxer named Izzy Zerling. He was a registered lightweight, and boxed approximately thirty-five professional fights. The store opened at 43 Essex after his retirement. Thereafter, he spent most of his life dedicated to teaching the sport to underprivileged kids, all while the family business remained as such. He is also credited with being the first to train female fighters in 1938. The Zerling patriarch lived on the Lower East Side until his death in 2011 at the age of 96. His son Lenny is the current business owner, and maintains an online-only presence.

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