A Queens civil court judge indicated last week she would probably grant the owner of Schleicher’s Court more time to fix gas lines despite the fact the residents of the College Point mansion have been without the basic service for more than a year.
Rita Douglas, a resident of the building at 11-41 123rd St., said the owner, Eva Rohan, and a contractor looking to purchase the home, Robert Cuniffe, are expected to be granted 53 days to complete extensive renovations and repairs to the gas system at the 150-year old mansion when they reconvene in court Aug. 19.
A court order had demanded that Rohan complete repairs to restore gas service to the building, which has been without it since July 2008, in the spring but asked for an extension last month.
“It just never ends,” Douglas said. “What good is a court order then?”
Cuniffe, who is hoping to purchase the home and has been overseeing work at the building, has said he does not want to complete repairs that will amount to a “Band-Aid” fix but would rather do more extensive remedial work to prevent future problems.
Both sides of the argument are expected to be heard in court Aug. 19, when Douglas said Cuniffe will be formally added as a party in the case before receiving the extension.
Douglas said since Cuniffe has only recently been involved in repairs and negotiations to purchase the home and had not been part of previous court proceedings. He is being added to the case, so a new court order, if issued, will legally bind him to complete work on the home.
The most recent developments at Schleicher’s Court follow more than a year of intense dispute between the tenants and the owner of the 19th century mansion.
Earlier this year, a civil court judge mandated that extensive electrical and plumbing work had to be completed at the building after city Department of Buildings inspectors issued a vacate order on the building in July 2008, calling its wiring system antiquated and dangerous. The tenants were forced to live elsewhere for nearly eight months before being allowed back into their apartments in February following extensive legal wrangling.
Repairs to gas lines in the building are the last of the court-ordered repairs to be completed.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-030, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community News Group
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