Wednesday, December 2, 2009


For Immediate Release
Press Conference
When: Thursday December 3rd, 2009, 1 P.M.
Where: 257 South 3rd Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY 10550
For More Information Contact: Samuel L. Rivers 914.760.8136

Mount Vernon Tenants Without Heat or Hot Water Over 1 Year
Race plays major factor when deciding justice

Mount Vernon, NY December 2nd, 2009- Tenants at 257 South 3rd Avenue have been without heat or hot water for over 1 year and they say the landlord has made no effort to correct the situation despite being issued numerous violations and summonses by City building inspectors. Community Activist and Democratic District Leader Samuel L. Rivers has joined the tenants in their fight for adequate housing and essential services and has called on the tenants to withhold their rent until all violations are cleared by the landlord. The landlord is due in Mount Vernon City Court on Thursday December 3, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.

The color of the landlord’s skin and the location of the building is why he allowed to get away with letting the tenants live in these inhumane conditions says Rivers. The landlord should be thrown in jail or she should be forced to live in the building until the violations are cleared Rivers also stated. Dina, the property manager was just at the property on November 29th, 2009 to collect the rent for December. She even told one tenant that the heat would be coming on in 20 minutes.

Neville Douglas, who is African American and former owner of buildings located at 116- 122 W. 1st Street had his buildings condemned and was thrown in jail for these same violations. This conspired hardship by City of Mount Vernon and Court officials ultimately led to the properties being foreclosed on. The buildings have since been purchased by Mayor Clinton Young’s church, Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion and are currently under renovation.
The landlord installed boilers not in compliance with NYS Building Code and is dragging out this project in excess of one year and is creating a dangerous situation for the entire building Rivers said. One tenant, Henrietta Rush who has lived at the building for 45 years says this is the worst that it has ever been at the building. She attributes many of the problems to the building manger Dina who is a con artist and tries to get over on City Officials at every opportunity. She has even convinced recently elected City of Mount Vernon Judge Helen Blackwood that the City of Mount Vernon Buildings Department is the real culprit for delaying her building permit and requiring unnecessary paperwork. Rivers also stated that Judge Blackwood should be familiar with the landlord because the City has taken them to court previously while she was Corporation Counsel of the City of Mount Vernon. Her inexperience as a Judge is also part of the problem Rivers said.

Tenants are now forced to use their ovens and fire prone space heaters to heat their apartments. Tenants must also heat water on the stove. The landlord Golden Bear Realty is no stranger to the City of Mount Vernon Buildings Department. Just last year Golden Bear Realty was issued a summons for an extensive list of violations including leaking ceilings, missing smoke detectors, and extreme filth throughout the building. Tenants at the building also have made numerous heat, hot water, rodent, and roach infestation complaints.

Joining Rivers at the press conference will be Neville Douglas, Community Leaders, and several tenants of 257 South 3rd Avenue.

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