The Hollis real estate mogul who allegedly gave illegal campaign donations to former City Councilman Sheldon Leffler owns about $4 million worth of property in the southeast Queens area, according to city records.
Rita Stark surreptitiously recorded conversations in which she and Leffler discussed a scheme to defraud the Campaign Finance Board during his failed bid for the borough presidency in 2001, the Manhattan district attorney charged in a 13-count indictment against Leffler earlier this month.
Stark, who was not charged, manages the properties she inherited from her father in 1988 from the Fred Stark Realty office at 198-10 Jamaica Ave. in Hollis.
Long criticized for letting her properties deteriorate, Stark has accumulated nearly 80 violations on 13 properties in southeast Queens, including many citations for failure to maintain the structures, according to the city Department of Buildings.
She owes more than $120,000 in back taxes, according to the Department of Finance Web site.
Former Borough President Claire Shulman said she tried to get Stark to clean up her buildings, which were often covered in graffiti, and also attempted to get her to revitalize the failing supermarket complex Stark owns on Mott Avenue in the Rockaways.
The real problem in the borough is the supermarket on Mott Avenue, Shulman said in an interview this week. We had hoped that could be better used to better serve the public.
Stark also aggressively opposed the landmark designation for her Beaux Arts building at 161-02 Jamaica Ave. The City Council, led by then-Councilman Archie Spigner (D-St. Albans), ultimately defeated the effort to obtain the designation.
It was already a blight and landmarking it would place further limitations on the marketability of property, Spigner said.
©2003 Community News Group
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