Notorious slumlord owns building with disease-carrying rats – New York Post

Recommended by Ronald Stiles, Published on February 16th, 2017

The rodent-infested Bronx building affected by a deadly outbreak of a rare rat-borne disease is owned by a notorious slumlord once deemed the worst in the city and has a basement that officials say was illegally divided into eight apartments.

Ved Parkash, whom Public Advocate Letitia James dubbed the citys worst landlord in 2015, owns the decrepit building where Braulio Balbuena Flores was living in a basement apartment when he contracted leptospirosis last month.

Two other people working at a small business on the same block in the Concourse section also caught the bacterial disease, which is linked to rat urine, within the last two months and one of them later died, according to officials.

Flores recovered after a two-week hospital stay.

Typically there are only two to three cases of leptospirosis in the city each year.

Officials said the buildings basement had been illegally converted into eight units, which were vacated on Tuesday.

Parkash also sent two exterminators to the building to begin addressing the rat problem.

When we came here, we saw substantial evidence of rodent infestation, said city Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett.

Theres been a huge improvement that weve seen just from walking in the basement the removal of debris and garbage and the addressing of active rodent infestation.

Disturbed residents complained on Tuesday that 750 Grand Concourse has been overrun with rodents for years.

Theres been a couple of times Ive taken my daughter to school and theres been a big fat dead rat in the hallway, said Denise, who declined to give her last name. Where do you even see something like that?

Roberto Lebron, 40, who lives on the first floor with his pregnant wife and 3-year-old daughter, is worried he may have contracted the dangerous disease.

There are rats in my apartment, he said. I was in the hospital from Thursday to Saturday. I had fever, diarrhea, nausea.

Last April, 38 tenants filed suit against Parkash, complaining about horrific building conditions.

Rat infestation has been a problem thats been going on for years, said Bianca MacPherson, a paralegal at the Urban Justice Center, which is representing the tenants.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz blasted the landlord and the city, saying there have been 1,500 complaints made at the building since 2010.

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Notorious slumlord owns building with disease-carrying rats - New York Post

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