According to the Real Deal, Tenants of the Dexter house located at 345 West 86th street are bringing their landlord to court, alleging that he purposefully planted pesticide in the complex to force out tenants. The landlord allegedly ordered the employees of the rent controlled building to spray a mix of pesticide and deodorizer around the apartments of rent controlled tenants that have lived their long term as a tactic to force them out of their homes.
The original complaint was filed by Julie Hanlon, who has lived in the building for 25 years and pays on $308 monthly for rent.
Helen Ball, a long term resident of Dexter house filed a complaint with the State division of Homes and Community Renewal, stating that “I believe they want to kill me. I have a bad breathing problem….it’s difficult to eat or drink I always liked the management….I don’t know why they now want to kill me.”
According to the New York Post, Ball has since moved from the premises in an effort to preserve her ailing health. A current tenant told the Post that they witnessed a man spraying underneath her door at 2 a.m. Inspectors from the Department of Environmental Conservation than found banned chemicals in the building’s basement.
Under state law, it is illegal for building employees to use certain classes of pesticides, as they may be considered hazardous for human consumption. The cans found by the inspectors are ordinarily used to spray bedbugs and cockroaches. Some of the ingredients on the labels of the pesticides have unknown side effects on humans.
“I started to get weird odors. I started to get severe headaches. I started to get nauseous.
After seeing an ear, nose and throat specialist, the woman determined that her symptoms came from “something I was inhaling.”
The building’s landlord, Jay Wartski is notorious for endangering the welfare of his tenants. He spent a month in Riker’s island after refusing to repair conditions in an apartment he owned in Tribeca. In 1984 the Village Voice pegged him as among the cities “most heartless” landlords.
Wartski’s lawyer, Jeffrey Seiden told the New York Post that there is “no validity” to the tenant’s claims. “There has been no attempt to evict anybody through the use of illegal chemicals,” Seiden said.
Adan Soltren, the Legal Aid attorney that is organizing the action against Wartski, called the use of pesticides to inadvertently squeeze out tenants among “the more sinister kinds of tactics I have ever heard of.”
By: Svetlana Ragchev