A Brooklyn landlord accused of intentionally trashing his own properties in an attempt to force tenants to relocate will be the subject of a press conference this afternoon being held by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
Thompson will announce charges being leveled against both Joel Israel and his brother Amrom Israel. Sources told said that both brothers were arrested this morning and are expected to be arraigned this morning.
In the past 12 months WCBS News had numerous reports of alleged self-inflicted destruction by Israel at several buildings. City records showed that Israel’s 10 buildings in Brooklyn had amassed 482 housing code violations as of March 2014, with 98 Linden Street racking up 85 of those violations.
According to reports, Israel intentionally demolished the kitchen and bathroom in one Linden Street unit in late 2013, allegedly without a permit. While Israel told a court that tenants refused to give him access to the apartment to perform the necessary repairs, an attorney for tenant Noelia Calero charged Israel with lying, saying her landlord intentionally gutted her bathroom and kitchen as part of a larger plan to force her out, renovate the apartment and charge higher rents. The city issued a partial vacate order on the apartment, allowing Calero use of her bedrooms, but preventing her from accessing her kitchen or bathroom.
Governor Cuomo’s Tenant Protection Unit launched an investigation into Israel’s JBI Management last April amid allegations of harassment and illegal eviction of tenants. This past February a housing court judge ordered Israel to make repairs at one building which had been deemed uninhabitable over a year ago.