Eric Adams misses city inspectors again after complaint about illegal apartment in his Brooklyn apartment building


September 29, 2021

On Friday morning, Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams appeared in front of the hurry at Coney Island, showcasing its resilience plan – which includes bringing illegal basement apartments into compliance “with city codes and regulations to keep residents safe.”

At the same time, Building Inspector’s Badge No 2701 was knocking on doors and ringing a few miles away in a row house Adams owns in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The ministry was attempting, once again, to investigate an allegation of an illegally converted apartment in the building on Avenue Lafayette.

But just as during the previous visit of the building service to this address on the same complaint in early August, no one responded to the blows or the bell. And so again, a notice advising the owner to immediately call the Ministry of Buildings to arrange a proper inspection went up to the door.

“FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THIS NOTICE MAY LEAD TO THE MINISTRY OBTAINING A GUARANTEE OF ACCESS AUTHORIZING THE INSPECTION OF THE PREMISES” the notice warned in capital letters and bold.

Department officials said on Tuesday morning that despite promises from the Brooklyn Borough President, they had not received a response from him. In the late afternoon, the DOB reported that Adams had contacted and the department had scheduled an upcoming inspection to determine whether or not there was an illegal apartment inside.

Wrong number?

The Inspectors Notice placed twice on Adams’ door provides “direct phone numbers to the DOB unit that attempted to do the inspection, and a request for the building owner / tenants / occupants to call us. to set a new date for a re-inspection, “Andrew Rudansky, a spokesperson for the DOB, wrote.

On Tuesday, Evan Thies, a spokesperson for the Adams campaign, said the leader of the mayor had not dialed that number, but rather another “DOB asks all New Yorkers to call” number.

Thies did not provide this number, but said Adams called him twice – once on September 20 after THE TOWN first reported about the DOB inspection attempt and again Tuesday morning. He said Adams left messages regarding DOB’s inspection efforts.

Thies pointed to statements by a Twitter user who opposes Adams’ candidacy and claims to have filed the original allegation of an illegal conversion at Lafayette Ave. The spokesperson called the accusation of “false and malicious”.

Adams recently tackled the issue of illegal apartments after flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida killed nearly a dozen people in basements in Queens and Brooklyn.

On September 19, after THE CITY reported that Adams had failed to respond to the warning that DOB inspectors posted on his property on August 5, he promised he would contact the ministry to arrange an appropriate inspection.

But DOB on Tuesday morning had no record of Adams contacting the department. Late last week, the DOB sent inspectors to the townhouse to try to resolve their initial investigation into a complaint filed in July, department officials said.

This time, they put the notice on the “main entrance door”, recordings posted Tuesday state. As of noon Tuesday, five days after the second notice and nine days after he promised to call DOB, officials said they had yet to hear from Adams. After investigating the Adams campaign by THE CITY, DOB said it had heard from the candidate.

Adams put on formal notice

Friday marked the fourth time home inspectors had visited the Lafayette Avenue building to investigate an allegation of an illegal apartment there. The first time came in 2017, when Adams was running for re-election as Borough President, long before he launched his campaign for mayor.

In July of that year, DOB inspectors visited twice, posted warnings each time, and never heard from Adams. The issue of illegal conversion has never been resolved.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant building owned by Eric Adams /Ben Fractenberg / THE CITY

Last week Adams said he had never seen the notice posted last month, adding: “We have a history of people deleting notices, people taking mail out of the box – there has been a current story. “

“So yes, I will contact the Ministry of Buildings and solve the problem, whatever it is,” he added.

When Adams bought the building from the federal government in 2003, the brick townhouse was listed on the deed as having three units – and he called it a three-unit address on the financial disclosure forms he had. deposited when he was a state senator. It is currently described as a four-unit apartment building with no elevator in the city’s building and tax records.

Asked about the discrepancy in the number of apartments at the Avenue Lafayette address, DOB officials responded by email: “A physical inspection of the property would be required to determine how the building is occupied and s ‘there are or not conditions to the contrary. “

On the ground floor

Adams said he has been living there in the downstairs apartment since 2017 and is renting out the other units.

In June, before winning the Democratic primary for mayor, Adams led reporters on a lap of the ground floor apartment on avenue Lafayette after the end of PoliticoNY questions about where he actually lived. He’s even opened the fridge to display his favorite vegan dishes.

On his tax forms, Adams said he received $ 36,000 per year in rental income in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but he wrote off enough landlord-related expenses to make that income non-taxable.

Last week, Adams admitted to THE CITY that amendments he filed with the IRS in May mistakenly failed to mention he lived there. The forms, as filed, purported to amortize all owner-related expenses for the entire building, including his apartment, which is not allowed.

He blamed the error on a “incorrect decision” by his accountant, who he says has fought against homelessness.

This story was originally posted on September 28, 2021 by LA VILLE. register here to receive the latest stories from THE CITY every morning.


THE CITY is an independent, non-profit news organization dedicated to impactful reporting serving the people of New York City.