City inspectors busted three buildings on Montgomery Street operating without the necessary paperwork on Monday morning. In one site inspectors found a garage that had been split into an allegedly illegal car painting shop and an illegal living space.
Inspectors cited the building owner and shut down the illegal paint shop. Five inspectors from the city’s Community Improvement Division visited the buildings located at the dead end of Montgomery Street.
190-192 Montgomery Street, the building owned by Hawthorne-based Rt. 20 Realty Management, LLC., housed an auto mechanic shop on the bottom and an allegedly illegal nail salon on the top.
Both the auto mechanic shop and the nail salon were operating without a certificate of occupancy, according to inspectors. The city’s inspectors said a violation will be issued to the auto mechanic shop for operating without a certificate of occupancy.
The city’s uniform construction code inspector conducted an on-site inspection to determine it was not necessary to lock down the auto repair shop operated out of the location. Inspectors told the auto mechanic shop at the site to quit using a makeshift cooking area that was being powered by a propane tank.
Inspector found 195-197 Montgomery Street, owned by Hawthorne-based Bjgm Realty, LLC., operating without a certificate of occupancy. The building which housed a car wash and detailing business also lacked a sprinkler system.
A fire inspector conducted an initial inspection of the site which will potentially result in fire violations.
198 Montgomery Street, also owned by Bjgm Realty, was the site of an illegal car painting business. The small garage also had a shabby living quarter with a bed. Two tractor trailers and about a dozen vehicles were scattered about an unpaved lot. Inspectors said parking vehicles on unpaved lot is a violation.
The UCC inspector placed a notice and shutdown the allegedly illegal paint shop at the location.
David Mendelsohn, owner of the two buildings belonging to Bjgm Realty, appeared surprised by the inspectors visit. “I don’t know why they came down,” he said on Monday morning.
Mendelsohn said he thought all of the businesses had the proper paperwork. The businesses needed to obtain continued certificate of occupancy and the owner had to have certificate of occupancy.
The owner never obtained them. Business owners blamed the owner for failing to acquire the needed certificates.
Jarvis Valentin, who has owned the Mirror Finish, Car Wash, and Detailing for a decade at the location, said he attempted to obtain a CO for his building. He said he could not obtain the CO because he was not the owner of the building.
Valentin said he pays $550 in rent for his shop to Mendelsohn.
“A lot of the small business get screwed by property owners,” said inspector Tyree Balmer. He and other Community Improvement Division inspectors — Philip Cosentino, Andrew Melendez, Rodolfo Marte, and Victor Malave – issued a number of tickets to the buildings.
The city’s fire inspector is also expected to ticket some of the buildings.
18-20 tickets were issued to the building and business owners, according to the inspectors. The property owners and the businesses avoided paying the city the fees to obtain the certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy earns the city at minimum $151, according to municipal ordinances.
While the inspectors were at the site at about 10:30 a.m., Mendelsohn appeared on the scene. He at one point left the scene to the city’s Community Improvement Division to obtain the necessary paperwork for his buildings.
The Community Improvement Division has stepped up its enforcement operations. Last Thursday, inspectors cited a large building on Warren Street which housed six allegedly illegal businesses.