Spring Valley landlord faces thousands in fines, court orders

A landlord in Rockland faces thousands of dollars in fines and was ordered by a state Supreme Court judge this week to have the property vacated and to fix violations.
Officials in Rockland found violations at 17 John St. in Spring Valley last week after a fire.
"It's an accident, again, waiting to happen. Thank god no one else was severely injured in this minor event,” said Ed Markunas, the director of Rockland’s Office of Buildings and Codes, OBC. “But it uncovered the illegal occupancies."
 
Markunas says inspectors found the following inside, “The living room was converted into a bedroom. The dining room was converted into a bedroom. The basement had three bedrooms in it."
 
He adds they believe a candle started the flames which was in a closet that was used as a bedroom.
 
He believes upwards of 16 people were living there in the house that is supposed to be a single family, two-bedroom home. 
 
The owner, Joel Fekete of Brooklyn, is now facing $11,750 in fines from the department.
 
"We are here to protect the people,” said Markunas. 
 
This week state Supreme Court Judge Thomas Zugibe granted Rockland county a temporary restraining order to have the Spring Valley home vacated and violations fixed.
 
The matter is expected back in court later this month. 
 
Fekete did not answer any questions by phone Wednesday afternoon. 
 
OBC is now looking into other homes in Spring Valley owned by him. 
 
News 12 is told he owns eight homes in the village and two more in other parts of the county.