New City landlord claims no knowledge of 34 people living a single-family home
A Rockland County landlord appeared in court today to address allegations of illegally housing dozens of people in a New City residence.
During the brief hearing, the property owner, Shloima Koppel, asserted that he had no knowledge of 34 individuals residing in what was designated as a single-family home.
According to Clarkstown Deputy Town Attorney Kevin Conway, these 34 migrants, including men, women and children, were transported from Texas to New York and ended up at 295 New Hempstead Road. Authorities were notified, leading to the issuance of a temporary restraining order for the evacuation of the premises.
Koppel stated that he had employed a property management company to oversee the rental of the home and was unaware of its use as a boarding house.
In addition to the presence of the migrants, inspectors discovered numerous safety code violations. On Monday, Koppel received substantial fines for similar violations at a Spring Valley property he owns.
The house has since been vacated, and Koppel consented to the temporary injunction. He is also required to address the code violations with a hearing scheduled in Clarkstown Town Court. Prosecutors described the conditions inside as dire, noting overcrowded sleeping arrangements and code violations throughout the property.
According to Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann, three homes within the town are currently being looked into for being used similarly to the New Hempstead Road home. More information on where and who owns the properties could soon be released.
Koppel is set to return to court on Oct. 12, when the judge is expected to issue a permanent injunction, restricting the home's use to that of a single-family residence. Additionally, inspectors will have the authority to conduct unannounced visits for one year.
Koppel and his attorney had no comment after the court appearance.