Nicholas Haros, the apartment house owner that tenants say is reluctant to fix gaping holes in ceilings and leaking plumbing, has been been repeatedly fined by the city over the years and forced to shell out even more for repairs the city had to make to his buildings, city officials said.Yet Haros, who owns 47 buildings across Queens from Sunnyside and Woodside to Jackson Heights and Flushing, continued to receive property tax reductions through the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and the J-51 Abatement, city records show.Only after an extraordinary review in January did the city Department of Finance revoke $18,941 in tax breaks that he was ineligible for due to non-payments to the city, a department spokesman said.An attorney for Haros said he would not comment for this story.Haros had been operating in relative obscurity until a housing rights lawyer working for the Tenants Advocacy Project of the Catholic Migration Office of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens began to organize residents last fall in western Queens.Attorney Robert McCreanor found a pattern as he started investigating the owners of the buildings with the highest number of complaints. The overwhelming majority were Haros properties, he said.Haros, ranked sixth worst in the city by the housing advocacy coalition Housing Here and Now in a 2005 report, was also cited by the city Housing Preservation and Development as a problem landlord in a 2003 study.But the property owner, whose substantial rental operation is run from a modest graffiti-stained building near the Murray Hill Long Island Rail Road station, remains unknown to many Queens politicians and business associations.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@times
©2006 Community News Group
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