Monday, April 23, 2007


Ramy Issac , Architect of Benjamin Shaoul's 120 St. Marks Place Surrenders Self-certification and D-14 Privileges

ABOVE : Squatter Vietnam veterans "Mosaic Man" and "Biker Bill" at 120 St. Marks Place... 2 years ago

ABOVE : Squatter business "Accidental CD s" : Craig , Rachel and Vaca ( the black and white one ) at 120 St Marks Place ... just a bit more than a year ago

ABOVE : 120 St Marks Place today...

Above is the text ( click on text to enlarge ) of the agreement that an architect or engineer must honor when submitting plans under the Department of Building's plan self-certification program .

The link below takes you to the DOB's " Licenses and Renewals "site where it is noted that Ramy Issac has indeed surrendered his self-certification and D-14 privileges along with 3 other architects out of the hundreds , if not thousands , of architects practicing in NYC this year . The pertinent facts of the licenseing and regulation of architects and engineers practicing in NYC can also be found here:

The architect of Benjamin Shaoul's 120 St. Marks Place , Ramy Issac RA # 18258 , has surrendered his self-certification and D-14 privileges but it can hardly be believed that he has done so happily .This an event of some moment and significance and should be noted publicly as such . Without such privileges he can hardly practice architecture competitvely and productively in NYC .

With the just surrendered self-certification privileges he was able to produce a set of self-certified- as- above plans for a client in as little as a week and have construction permits in a matter of a day or two .With his D-14 privilege he could sign -off on completed work without DOB inspection . Now his situation is quite different .

During the Giuliani administration the size of the DOB was radically reduced and the self-certification program was instituted to expedite the inspection ,vetting and approval of submitted plans with a smaller staff of examiners .At least that is what the Giuliani administration claimed . In reality self-certification and D-14 privileges made it possible , along with a smaller DOB staff to interfere less with developers building buildings , to build many , many more buildings per year . No longer did the client of an architect have to spend money on an expiditer to spend months to "walk "his architects plans through the approval process at the DOB .

Now Mr. Issac will have to wait however long for the DOB to approve any plans that he submitts for approval and he will also have to wait for the DOB to inspect and sign-off on completed construction work .Clearly Mr. Issac can not now possibly compete effectively as an architect in NYC .

Though Mr. Issac is reported to have surrendered his privileges voluntarily and though we do not know with any definite detail why he would do so , especialy considering the difficult consequences of practicing without these privileges ; we can say that there is as a matter of course when an architect has his or her privileges taken from him or her by process of law , unlike when he or she surrenders them voluntarily , a public record of fact created that notes all charges of malfeasance , malfaction , malpractice and incompetence that were presented against him or her . We can also suppose that such a public record of charges ...and revoked-by-process-of-law privileges , would possibly catch the attention of the NY State Board of Regents , which is responsible for issueing and revoking professional licenses , and possibly result in proceedings against such an architect that could result in the revoking of his or her license .It is also possible to suppose that those who might wish to press criminal charges such as fraud and negligence or seek recourse in civil law proceedings against such an architect would find this public record interesting and possibly very useful to obtaining their ends .

We have spent considerable time here at NMNL documenting the progress of the construction of 120 St Marks Place , a building of which Mr. Issac was the architect of record .As can be seen from the record for this building here at NMNL and at the DOB profile for the building , Mr. Issac and Mr. Shaoul have had many problems at 120 St. Marks Place , the most serious of which was the failure of Mr. Issac's plans for the building to pass an audit by the DOB. In addition to this audit failure there were also problems during the process of co-ordination between Mr. Issac and the DOB to produce a set of lawful , workable plans that actually represented what was actually being built at 120 St. Marks Place ( see " Emblematic Bad Faith " here at NMNL) . There were also numerous stop work orders for the building ,many of which were ignored by Mr. Shaoul and his workers. There were also several violations for not having work permits and violations for working beyond the scope of plans or of a permit . There have also been some problems with Mr. Issac being able to produce a set of plans that conform to the zoning resolutions for the location of the building .
Because of the numerous complaints against Benjamin Shaoul and his building projects in her district ,Council Person Rosie Mendez has also spent a considerable amount of staff time attempting to get the DOB to revoke Mr. Issac's self-certification privileges and also to restrain and limit Mr. Shaoul's construction activities in her district .

The fact of Mr. Issac being the architect of record can be easily confirmed by going to the DOB building profile for 120 St Marks Place at and clicking on the " Jobs / Filings" category . This fact can also be confirmed by looking at the title boxes on the drawings shown in the post here at NMNL titled " Emblematic Bad Faith ".

Mr. Issac is also the architect of several of Benjamin Shaouls other building projects including 515 E. 5th st. , 514 and 516 E 6th st. and 349 E 10th St. .For an idea of how these projects have been handled check the DOB building profile of each of these buildings .

To learn more about 120 St Marks Place and it's owner Benjamin Shaoul , look at the posts here at NMNL titled as below as well as any other posts on NMNL concerning work beyond the scope of drawings , working without permits or violations of stop work orders :

"Some Aspects of a Civil Agreement ", Aug. 2006

"A Stop Work Order that Stops Nothing-1,2 and 3"Aug and Sept. 2006

"Emblematic Bad Faith ",Nov. 2006

"Construction Accident at 120 St. Marks Place"Oct. 2006

"Sorry ...Not Good Enough "Nov.2006

For something more on the the history of Benjamin Shaoul , his company Magnum Management and 120 St Marks Place in the media simply "Google"or "Yahoo" him .

GREAT News story Bob, very thorough.

Of course they waited so long to do anything with the property, what's another small delay.

Thanks for the great reportage!

Thank you very much for making the residents of East Village neighborhood aware of this important information self cewrtification. It take an intiated, civic and community minded mind set to seek, know and share such important information. I hope will read it and stand against unscruplous developers.
Bob: Why hasn't Scarano's self certification been pulled and how did he bust through the zoning with the Bowery Hotel that looks more like a prison and no one with any politic status was able to stop him? Scarano's finger building, his message intrinsic in his design to the community and anyone that would police him...his work looks like he is on major anti-depressants and how ironic the luxury hotel is surrounded by homeless shelters that are middle class may be forced to use

Good hard work and you put The Villager to shame with this reporting so well done.
Mr.Scarano voluntarily surrendered his self-certification and Directive 14 priviliges last year . The DOB is quiet about these events because that is usually part of the deal made when an architect surrenders priviliges voluntarily .His surrendering is listed at the same site that Mr. Issac's is listed . I beleive that the " Times " did note that Mr. Scarano surrendered his privileges.
This project is a prime example of just how inept the Department of Blunders is. This building has no valid C/O, and most of the work was performed illegally. The Department of Blunders issued SWO after SWO, anf they just kept working anyway. The DOB was empowered by the City to protect us, but they are totally incompetent and corrupt. The corruption inside the DOB is not from the Inspectors, but from the Borough Commissioners and the higher ups. If you check to see how much money the owners have donated to the various political parties and politicans, it's not so hard to imagine how a building can be built the way this building was, and hosw it continues to exist without a valid certificate of occupancy. To be frank, how does a building maintain liability Insurance without a valid C/O? To take a paragraph from the an article written by Glenn Flynn of the villager "In a December 2007 article by Steve Cutler in the trade newspaper The Real Deal, in which Shaoul was interviewed, Shaoul’s Magnum Group was identified, along with Kennelly Development, as a partner in the 40-story building at 303 E. 51st St., where seven workers were killed in a crane accident on March 15 of this year, in one of the worst construction accidents in the city’s history". How many people and construction workers have to be killed, rightful Tenants displaced, or neighborhoods defiled before these greedy friends of our Disney friendly real estate mogul Mayor does anything? The next time you go to vote, vote with your head, and not with the belief that some rich white guy is going to save our City from financial ruin, terrorism, or criminals hiding behind your shower curtain.
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