Hillcrest residents want sex offender evicted

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Tenants of a Hillcrest apartment complex for the disabled are threatening to stop paying rent until a level 3 registered sex offender is removed from the area.

Residents of Eckerson Village recently learned that they have been living near 46-year-old Michael Fonti, who was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in Peekskill.

Bill Madden, a spokesperson for Arco Management that runs the complex, says Fonti moved in last April. A standard background check conducted by an outside firm failed to reveal his criminal background, although his name can be found in the state sex offender registry.

"His offense goes back further than seven years," Madden says. "It did not come back in our initial background check. Therefore, we allowed him to live in an apartment at Eckerson Village."

Stephanie Soto, who lives in the complex with her 13-year-old daughter, says once she and her neighbors learned about Fonti's criminal past, they became livid.

"If they do not move him out of here, we're not paying rent until he does," Soto says. "They do not get one red cent until he moves."

Fonti, who is partially disabled, has stated that he pays his rent on time and has no intention of bothering anybody. Fonti says if any attempts will be made to evict him, he will fight back.

Soto says she and several other residents plan to put together a petition demanding that Fonti be removed from the residential village.

For more on Hillcrest residents' demand to evict Michael Fonti, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Ch. 612.

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