Wednesday, August 30, 2006


A Stopwork Order that Stops Nothing

Above:120 St Marks Pl around the 1st of August 2006
Above and Below :120 StMarks Pl on 28 August 2006

Above :515 East 5th St.
The problems at 120 St Marks Place just won't go away .There is currently a stopwork order issued by the Department of Buildings in effect at 120 St Marks Place but clearly workers were working yesterday . I was told yesterday that the stopwork order has been in effect since 7 july of this year, thus just about all the concrete work , walls and steel framing seen in the above pictures was done illegally without the permission of the DOB. I do not know all of the reasons for the stopwork order but I have been told it has been issued because Mr. Shaouls project can't pass the DOB audit unconditionally . I have been told that there are questions about how the building is really being built and how it will really be used and how Mr. Shaouls architect's plans and zoning exhibits indicate and claim that the building will be built and used .

Problems like this aren't new for Mr. Shaoul , "Google " him , he has a record of problems with buildings including a number rather serious problems at 515 East 5th street and other problems at other buildings he owns such as nasty forced evictions and a building collapse . Three weeks after the occupants of 120 St Marks place were vacated Mr. Shaouls workers punched a hole in a very structurally compromised rear wall , drove in a small backhoe using it to dig the large hole pictured above in the backyard ... all on a permit issued for the demolition of interior partitions ,electrical ,mechanical and plumbing with no change of means of egress and no change of use ! There was a stopwork order issued because of this abuse and there were several others issued because of other abuses and violations but they were all , as has been the current one , mostly ignored by Mr. Shaoul's team .Some of these stopwork orders were issued because of serious structural problems that were a danger to workers as well as adjoining properties and persons living in those properties .Two instances included were the seriously damaged and weakened rear wall and what appears to have been an attempt to jack-up the old and rotten wood interior framing to save the cost of replacing this framing . Both of these problems were finally removed , the rear wall is gone and new light-gauge steel framing has replaced the rotten interior framing , but only after much aggravated complaint from the community .

Self certification by architects makes this kind of abuse much easier to get away with but still the Dept of Buildings can and must do a much better job of inspecting ,approving , policing and enforcing its decisions , rules and regulations .

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