06 June 2012

KingCast and Mortgage Movies See Boston Slumlords Busted for Fire Code Violations.

This is a follow up to a related issue from four (4) years ago when I drafted an initiative that was forwarded by Massachusetts Senator Bruce Tarr as "Robert Taylor's Law."

Lo and behold I caught another landlord in violation of the same thing that killed Mr. Taylor.... failure to maintain a second fire egress......

This is the first hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding a bill that I initiated in honor of Robert Taylor, a man who died a  needless death in an illegal apartment in an under-inspected building. He had but one point of egress and to use it, he had to exit from his 3rd floor apartment through the 4th floor.

There was one helluva fire in December, 2007 and he didn't make it. 

The sad part is, these landlords -- Gary Raso and Robert Gattineri/80 Middle Street Partners -- have a documented history of ignoring egress and other issues and you can see that at the town of Gloucester's website in an official, independent third party review of the tragedy.

Thanks to Senator Bruce Tarr (r) for redrafting my proposal and getting it set forth. He testified today, noting that the matter is one of "deep concern" for him, and stating that the cause of Mr. Taylor's death "was the result of a lot of defects that occurred."

I certainly agree with that assessment.

PS: While I was there I had the chance to chat with Martha Coakely, and thanked her for her continued and expanded commitment to capturing the missing Menino emails. She was there to promote S 1848 requiring commercial reasonable efforts to avoid foreclosure.

"Lenders are rarely re-negotiating loans, which flies in the face of common sense," she said. "The local lenders have been pretty good, but the national lenders have failed," she added, specifically citing Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citibank because "Each entity promised but gave us nothing in writing. Now we see that the promises are not being met."

Citibank doesn't surprise me. They gave us no reason in writing for refusing to cash a check held by a black man, and gave us no reason for threatening to arrest me when I told them about the law on wrongful dishonor of a check, and similarly gave me no reason as to why they would not open an account for me but would open one for my white girlfriend.

I also talked to State Rep Renny Cushing about that, and will be sharing my MCAD complaint with the both of them. See it at http://citibankisracist.blogspot.com


From Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opp to Summary Judgment and in our own Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment.

As you read this, be aware that there is not one scintilla of evidence in the file that ANY inspections were conducted and we know that the building was overdue for inspections and Plaintiff's unit had no health inspection within rule and there were no certificates of occupancy.

So how could the Court have granted SJ based on the following Supreme Court law?

The High Court of Massachusetts has determined that the conveyance of a lease carries certain promises, to wit:

"We now find in the rental of a dwelling unit . . . an implied agreement by the landlord that the rented unit complies with the minimum standards prescribed by building and sanitary codes and that he will do whatever those codes require for compliance during the term of the renting. Crowell v. McCaffrey, 377 Mass. 443, 451 (1979): 

We also held that violation of a statute or building code provision related to safety was evidence of the landlord's negligence. Accord Lindsey v. Massios, 372 Mass. 79, 83-84 (1977). Perry v. Medeiros, 369 Mass. 836, 841 (1976)."

Similarly, the Gloucester District Court has held that a breach of these covenants results in tangible damages. In Coder v. Lauer, Gloucester District Court No.  87036 (October 27 1987) analysed the applicable Certificate of Occupancy requirements and found that the landlord was not compliant and determined that rental payments withheld by the Defendant could be retained. The Court found the tenancy agreement to be illegal and unenforceable. And while the Court stopped short of ordering the ultimate sanction of full forfeiture for all rents paid the matter of Damages shall be left to the Jury in the damages phase.

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