Bay Ridge’s worst neighbors strike again.
A piece by Denise Romano for the Home Reporter revealed yesterday that local real estate investor Mousa Khalil owns two additional neglected properties on the same Ovington Avenue block where he allowed a house to collapse – including one that appears to be illegally occupied.
Meanwhile, the Daily News’ Alex Robinson reports that City Councilman Vincent Gentile is trying to guilt property owner Frank Landy to turn a 79th Street house that’s been falling apart for decades over to a good cause.
Residents of Ovington Avenue between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue say that of the three properties Khalil owns on their block, one is actually occupied, albeit illegally. They speculate that 556 Ovington Ave is serving as a home for squatters, or possibly even a hostel.
“It’s a disgrace. There are taxicabs pulling up in the middle of the night, and guys coming in and out of the house with suitcases,” Gloria Mullaney, a lifelong resident of the block who also lives next to 562 Ovington – the vacant house that collapsed the night of July 15, told Home Reporter. “I am afraid of my own house being robbed. I never know who is in the back yard.”
While it wasn’t immediately evident to Romano that the house at 556 was being lived in, one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous told her that, while the property was made to appear condemned, squatters were indeed living there.
Khalil appears to have a history of operating illegal residences.
He had reportedly run a hostel out of a 94th Street property. According to Romano, DOB records indicate “Five open violations dating back to 2010.” One citation, from September 22, 2010 says, “Illegal use as hostel throughout. 40 beds, 20@second floor, 10@first floor, 10@cellar. Occupancy is student.”
State Senator’s Marty Golden’s office told Home Reporter they are alerting city officials as well as law enforcement about the possibility of an illegal hostel.
“Your newspaper’s inquiry has brought this to our attention and we are contacting the necessary authorities including DOB and the police to investigate this location and the possible existence of a hostel,” John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff for State Senator Marty Golden, said.
As Ovington Court homeowners and local pols pressure Khalil to do the right thing, it appears the tale of a 79th Street property owned by absentee landlord Frank Landry might actually have a happy ending.
According to the Daily News, the “once beautiful” Tudor/Spanish Mission Revival house that’s faced decades of neglect by Landry and now looks like something out of the film Grey Gardens – complete with a colony of aggressive racoons, is slated to be demolished by the city.
City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is trying to convince Landy to either sell the land to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation – a 9/11 charity, or construct a new house on the property for a wounded veteran, told the News that a talk he had with Landy went well.
“Frank Landy’s reaction was very positive,” said Gentile. “He seemed very excited to help a wounded veteran and to redeem his reputation in the neighborhood.”
Gentile told Home Reporter that he will be meeting with Khalil this week.
Kip from Bay Ridge Journal recently proposed enacting tougher legislation in order to combat landlords who, while possibly more focused on the valuable land a house sits on rather than the home itself, practice intentional “demolition by neglect.”