By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The building slated to house a 170-bed homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens was built and may be owned by a convicted felon whose crimes involved abusing the poor for profit, writes Andrew Rice of Capital New York in an investigative report.
Hundreds of Carroll Gardens residents have signed a petition expressing their dismay with the lack of community input surrounding the shelter proposed for 165 West 9th Street (near Court Street). Housing Solutions USA, headed by former Bloomberg official Robert Hess, is submitting the troubled proposal.
According to Rice, the building is held in the name of a private corporation, Tunnel Condos LLC. An attorney listed on the deed told Rice he acted on behalf of Alan Lapes, a landlord for numerous homeless shelters with a record of operating “substandard, dangerous and crime-ridden facilities.”
Buildings Department permits from 2001 and 2004, however, list the owner as Stuart Podolsky. Nearly 30 years ago, Podolsky pled guilty to participating in a criminal conspiracy to empty several rent-controlled buildings using what was described as “a routine of terror.” Gangs were hired to break into rent-controlled units and ransack them, start fires and floods, and “would generally do their utmost to make the building unlivable,” Rice recalls.
Community Board 6 is hosting a meeting on the proposal on Wednesday, October 24th, 6:30 p.m. at P.S.58, the Carroll School Auditorium 330 Smith Street, between 1st Place & Carroll Street.