City to check buildings owned by tenant ‘harasser’ for lead

Tenants protest outside a Toledano-owned building on East 13th Street last June. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Tenants protest outside a Toledano-owned building on East 13th Street last June. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The city will be investigating at least three residential buildings that are under construction for lead dust following a letter from local elected officials accusing the landlord, Raphael Toledano, of harassing tenants.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene previously took samples from 235 and 233 East Fifth Street and 514 East 12th Street managed by Brookhill Properties, the company owned by Toledano, and found that the concentrations of lead dust far exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s hazard standard, with the lead concentration as high as 15 times what is legally allowed in the building at 233 East Fifth Street.

Local elected officials, including State Senator Brad Hoylman, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, signed the letter urging Toledano to meet with tenants to resolve their concerns and conduct lead testing of all 24 properties owned by Toledano, all of which are in the East Village or the Lower East Side, and a letter to the DOHMH urging the agency to take action.

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