Directs State Health Department to Deploy Inspection Team to Perform Environmental Health Assessment
Directs State Office of Rent Administration to Investigate Whether Rent Regulated Apartments in the Building are Being Adequately Maintained
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed state agencies to investigate an apartment building in the Bronx following allegations of bed bug infestations and drug related crime. The Governor directed the State Department of Health to send an inspection team into the building to perform an environmental health assessment to ensure health standards are being met. The Governor also directed the state Office of Rent Administration to investigate whether rent-regulated units in the apartment complex are being adequately maintained; if they are not, the building owner can be penalized for violation of state rent laws. Additionally, the Governor is directing these agencies to make any referrals to the Inspector General and appropriate law enforcement as to any wrongdoing they uncover with respect to the building's management company Five Stars Management and social services provider Acacia Network. While the State has no contracts related to this particular building, it may have other unrelated contracts with Acacia Network or Five Stars Management. The State Police is in communication with the NYPD about allegations of drug related crime at the building.
"The alleged conditions in this apartment building are horrifying and completely unacceptable," Governor Cuomo said. "The government's job is to protect the health and safety of all New Yorkers, and apartments in the rent regulation program have an obligation to maintain a decent environment for tenants to live. That's why I am directing state agencies to investigate these disturbing allegations, and if any wrongdoing by the owners of the building or the social services provider is found, we will hold them accountable."
The NYS Department of Health will send an inspection team to the building to perform an environmental health assessment. The assessment will include a review for a variety of potential environmental health hazards, including bed bugs and other insects, and other concerns. A list of findings will be reported to the Governor upon completion of the team's review. The State Health Department's mission is to protect, improve and promote the health, productivity, and well-being of all New Yorkers. As such, DOH promotes the concept of healthy housing as a means for preventing disease, injury and poor health outcomes.
The Governor also directed the Office of Rent Administration to investigate whether rent-regulated units in the apartment complex are being adequately maintained; if they are not, the building owner can be penalized for violation of state rent laws. ORA will schedule inspections of the premise to investigate conditions in rent regulated units and allegations that tenants are not receiving the services to which they are entitled. Inspections can ultimately result in rent reductions for tenants and possible rent freezes until conditions are improved.
Governor Cuomo has also directed these and any other relevant agencies to look into state contracts and state funding with the social services provider, Acacia Network and the management company Five Stars Management. Should the agency investigations uncover misuse of state dollars or other malfeasance, referrals will be made to the inspector general or appropriate law enforcement.