In the "deal or don't get a domicile" world of NYC rentals, perhaps there needs to be a way to make sure the rental is up-to-grade. Case in point, Brooklyn landlord Mordechai Landau illegally converted one Bushwick apartment building's basement into two units and used an unlicensed plumber to do the work in 2004. Well, Bernard Barham forgot to reconnect a gas pipe he disconnected, and the next morning, Julius Drecketts, a resident on the first floor, was killed when he tried to use his stove in the morning. The Post describes the fire from the gas, which had leaked all night, as a "fireball" and two neighboring buildings caught fire as well. Now Barham and Landau were charged for the incident, Barham getting charged with negligent homicide and Landau charged wtih illegal conversion. Barham and Landau claim an assistant of Barham's was licensed to do the work (and therefore to can shoulder the blame) but when prosecutors investigated, the assistant was nowhere to be found, which not surprising since imaginary helpers seem to be plentiful when facing jail time.
In other bad landlord news, John Kosman, a slumlord whom the Daily News says lives in "suburban splendor," will be spending three days in jail (at the Tombs aka Bernard Kerik Complex). Kosman pleaded guilty for not fixing his apartment building at 117 West 142th Street which smells "urine, garbage and rat poison" with "flies and roaches [thriving] in apartments where leaky pipes have caused floors, walls and ceilings to collapse." Apparently housing officials even fixed some problems after Kosman wouldn't and billed him for the work; of course, he didn't pay. Now Kosman is going to pay a fine of $60,000 and promises he'll "hire professional managers" to handle the repairs. You think that's what a landlord would do in the first place - have professionals who can do the job.