East Village Tenants of Bill O’Reilly’s Business Manager Exposed to High Levels of Lead Dust
Evan Bell is perhaps best known for his role as high-profile business manager to celebrities like Bill O’Reilly, Marv Albert, Melissa Joan Hart, and Amanda Seyfried (Bell and Company). But tenants in his East Village apartment building want you to know that they’ve been exposed to dangerous levels of lead dust.
Bell acquired 332 East 4th Street for $14 million back in early January, according to public records. Days later, he reportedly introduced himself to tenants as their new landlord. Interior demolition and renovations began shortly thereafter.
What followed is, unfortunately, nothing new on the Lower East Side. Landlords upscaling, intimidating and/or booting rent regulated tenants, and scariest of all, non-containment of lead dust (aka “construction as harassment”). It took only two weeks into operations (March 13) for the Department of Health to find lead particulate in the common areas of the building. In fact, test results showed elevated levels in 13 of 17 samples. The sample with the highest level was over 5 times the acceptable standards prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
(Below is the full report.)
The Lower East Side is well accustomed to buildings contaminated with lead-laden construction dust. Over a dozen sites undergoing renovations, in fact, over the last four years. Included in that number are Jared Kushner’s 118 East 4th Street with lead dust 10x the legal limit; Icon Realty’s 47 Clinton Street with lead dust 1.5x the legal limit; and 138 Ludlow Street, owned by DelShah Capital, which returned lead levels 37x the legal limit.
“Since Evan Bell bought our building, it is most evident that his singular objective is making money,” said Lana Martin, a resident of the building and member of the tenants association. “His apparent lack of responsibility for the safety of human inhabitants in his new acquisition appears to be all that is relevant to him.”
The problem is so rampant, electeds are getting involved, too.
“Tenants at 332 East 4th Street deserve to live a life without risk of lead contamination, and yet children as young as six have been exposed to lead levels over five times the legal limit thanks to Bell and Company’s harassment-by-construction,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “DOB must provide clear enforcement of the safe work practices outlined in Local Law 1 and harassers like Evan Bell must be punished for putting these New Yorkers’ lives at risk.”