Rockland Illegal Housing Taskforce chairman alleges politics are overriding safety

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is among those under scrutiny surrounding the bloc vote and building code enforcement in Rockland.

News 12 Staff

May 3, 2021, 9:24 PM

Updated 1,140 days ago

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March’s deadly fire in Rockland is shining a spotlight on major code enforcement issues in Ramapo and Spring Valley.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is among those under scrutiny surrounding the bloc vote and building code enforcement in Rockland.
“When the investigations are complete, they are going to show a level of dysfunction in Spring Valley when it comes to enforcement of building and fire codes," says former Rockland County Fire Commissioner Gordon Wren.
Wren says the fires at Motty’s Supermarket in Monsey and Evergreen Court for Adults in Spring Valley are the "worst-case scenario." He says that he and others have repeatedly warned state and local officials about for years.
News 12 asked what the motivation would be to turn a blind eye to these violations.
"People will vote for people who condone this stuff," says Wren.
Rockland Illegal Housing Taskforce Chairman Justin Schwartz says politics and power are overriding safety and alleges local governments are getting directives from the state – specifically Gov. Cuomo - not to pursue violations.
“They can’t do anything because the governor won’t let them. The governor is beholden to them," alleges Schwartz.
Schwartz and Wren say that thousands of people in Ramapo and Spring Valley are currently living in unsafe housing – adding there’s at least two dozen properties that are red-flagged for serious violations.
Ramapo Supervisor Michael Specht called the allegations ‘inflammatory’ and untrue.
News 12 reached out to Spring Valley officials and Gov. Cuomo, but has yet to hear back.


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