Landlord Linked To Dozens of Problem Buildings
By JORDAN MOSS and WILLIAM WICHERT
He's not listed as the owner of 3569 DeKalb Ave., where a boy died in a fire on Aug. 6, or most of the dozens of other neglected buildings he owns or has a controlling interest in, but Frank Palazzolo is the common denominator behind them all, say tenant activists, city officials and state investigators.
And though he was never indicted, Palazzolo's name and that of several of his associates appear repeatedly in court documents filed in the prosecution of Eric Gladstein and Deborah Pollack, a lawyer and consultant to the city's Human Resources Administration, in a scam to siphon money from the Jiggett's relief program, which provides rent money to poor tenants. The Norwood News first reported on this scandal back in August after 8-year-old Jashawn Parker was killed in an electrical fire at 3569 DeKalb.
Palazzolo, whose headquarters is at 1075 Central Park Avenue in Greenburgh, has long kept a low profile and has managed to insulate himself from litigation, even though 57 of his Bronx buildings -- with addresses all over the borough -- have accumulated an incredible 16,047 housing code violations, according to the Web site of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
It wouldn't be immediately clear that Palazzolo was responsible for these buildings from the Web site of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which lists only the person responsible for the buildings. But the names of his associates and the 26 management companies he controls appear in court documents filed in the Jiggetts fraud case.
Palazzolo's connection to some of the buildings becomes clearer with a title search at the Bronx Buildings Department office on Arthur Avenue. For 3569 DeKalb Ave., where Eric Gladstein was indicated as the owner on the HPD site (even though management had transferred earlier this year to John Cirillo, another Palazzolo associate) Palazzolo signed, as president of Quest Management, for a mortgage with Richmond County Savings Bank.
But even with court cases involving the worst buildings, Palazzolo has managed to steer clear of courtrooms and controversy. When a Bronx Housing Court judge removed Cirillo from day-to-day control of 3569 DeKalb and placed it in the hands of an outside administrator last month, Palazzolo's name never came up. He also was nowhere to be seen when tenants at another Norwood building, 15-19 West Mosholu Parkway, protested the building's conditions with a press conference, and the building's managing agent, Joseph Santangelo, ended up in Housing Court.
The 57 Bronx building addresses provided to the Norwood News by the Office of the Welfare Inspector General as being controlled by Palazzolo, are listed as being operated by several of his associates on HPD's Web site. The two agents whose buildings have collected the greatest number of violations are Joseph Mangi of New Line Realty and Patrice Santangelo (perhaps a relation of Joseph) of Pipedreams Realty. Mangi's buildings have received 529 violations at 745 E. 178th St. and 491 violations at 1141 Elder Ave. The buildings of Pipedreams Realty have garnered 685 violations at 465 E. 167th St. as well as 1,421 violations at two buildings on Sheridan Avenue. Joseph Santangelo's CPR Management has also acquired over 400 violations at two buildings on Taylor Avenue.
But Palazzolo is beginning to surface as a target for tenant activists and city officials. At a standing-room-only meeting with city housing officials at Our Lady of Refuge Church two weeks ago, tenant leaders pressed HPD to undertake package litigation Ð where all of a landlord's problem buildings are brought to court in relatively quick succession Ð against Palazzolo and three other problem landlords: Nicholas Haros, Fein and Fein, and Barry Singer.
Carol Abrams, an HPD spokeswoman, said on Tuesday her agency is seriously considering package litigation against Palazzolo.
"We're still doing analysis," she said. "We want to get it right [and we're] trying to make the case as strong as possible."
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