Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bronx Lawbreaker Jeffrey Klein Says He's Entitled To Be A Lawmaker


Conservative crook Jeffrey Klein thinks he's above the law

We've written about the race between sleazy Bronx state Senator Jeffrey Klein and reform challenger Oliver Koppell before-- and Ken and I have both spent time with Koppell and Blue America has endorsed him. Last night the NY Times joined us:
Senator Jeffrey Klein is facing a primary challenge this year largely because he led a disruptive power grab in Albany that gave Republicans veto power over some of the state’s most important issues. Mr. Klein and several other state senators created the Independent Democratic Conference, which broke away from the Democrats almost four years ago. Their defection hobbled the Democrats while giving Mr. Klein a new title (temporary president of the State Senate) and more ability to raise campaign funds. His alliance with the Republicans resulted in the failure to approve public financing of campaigns and stronger protections for women.

Mr. Klein’s challenger is Oliver Koppell, a former City Council member and one of New York’s most experienced public servants. Mr. Koppell would spend his time working for New Yorkers, not for himself. As a former Assembly member and briefly the state’s attorney general, he is by far the better candidate. We enthusiastically support Mr. Koppell in this district.
The sleazy characters at the Working Families Party had drafted Koppell to run against Klein, then bowed to demands by Andrew Cuomo to be part of a spurious deal that included the WFP endorsing Cuomo and right-wing nut Kathy Hochul while abandoning Koppell. Today an old friend from Riverdale, who is afraid of retribution from Klein if her name is used, wrote a guest post about the race for DWT today. She tells me none of her Riverdale neighbors are planning to vote for Klein, who is generally viewed as a disgrace to the area and just another corrupt careerist using politics to line his own pockets.

Just How Corrupt Is State Sen. Jeffrey Klein?
Ms. X

The snake in the grass really has some grass. Turns out that Jeff Klein, the turncoat senator in New York has grass-- actual green grass but he shouldn't. He bought a residential house in a residential neighborhood and has been using it for his law office for years even after being given violations. Not allowed. Just recently he refused to allow an inspection of the property. He bought it with a residential mortgage (when commercial mortgages would have cost more), took residential tax breaks and claimed it was his primary residence when he lived somewhere else getting a tax exemption for a primary residence. He has grass at his law office. Real grass.
The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has renewed efforts to compel state Sen. Co-majority Leader Jeff Klein’s law office to comply with zoning laws. After first citing the East Bronx law office as an illegal commercial use in a residential zone in 2006, the DOB has now referred the site to its padlock unit-- the first step in a long process that could end with the office’s eviction.

DOB documents show that on Aug. 4 and 12, an inspector unsuccessfully tried to enter Klein, Calderoni & Santucci, LLC at 1614 Williamsbridge Road in relation to a complaint saying the building was an illegal conversion of a residential space.

The document states that a female inside the office denied the inspector access the first time and there was no answer to the official’s knocks and ringing the second time.

After that, the inspector quickly referred the matter to the padlock unit-- an arm of the DOB empowered to padlock illegally used buildings if the owner and occupant fail to end the illegal use after lengthy further negotiations.

A DOB document on its Building Information Site dated Tuesday confirmed that the complaint has been “accepted by padlock unit.”

Mr. Klein, who is in a Democratic primary fight, declined to comment on the matter on Thursday.

The New York Post first brought the complaint to light in 2012. Mr. Klein’s firm purchased the two-family house in 2005 and immediately converted it to office use. He told the Post that he was unaware, until he received a notice of violation from the DOB in January 2006, that he was not in compliance with zoning laws.

At the time of the Post report, the newspaper quoted him as saying he thought that payment of a $480 fine had settled the matter, although the city had issued a directive to “discontinue illegal use.”

Asked why so many years elapsed between visits by building inspectors, a department spokesperson said the DOB only acts quickly if the violation poses a health hazard and that otherwise, it is up to owners to resolve complaints.

The spokesperson added that it revived the case this year after receiving anonymous complaints to 311 saying Mr. Klein had not resolved the situation.

In the meantime, the DOB has received an additional complaint about the office’s prominent gold-letter sign, claiming that it, too, is illegal.

On Thursday afternoon, a man working in the front office of Klein, Santucci & Calderoni declined to give any comment. He said Mr. Klein, Dominick Calderoni and Fred Santucci were not available and directed inquiries to Mr. Klein’s Senate office.

Update: On Friday, Mr. Klein's campaign spokeswoman said a lawyer for the senator's law firm would provide a statement on Monday.
Monday? Labor Day? Slowest news day of the entire electoral cycle?

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