The Cost of Doing Business Timeline

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2005

Karnusa Equities buys 525 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn, for $5.85 million; begins construction on a 13-story condominium tower the following year

Palacios, a recent immigrant from Mexico, begins working at Bell Tower Enterprises, a building subcontractor.

November 2, 2006

Local Law 52 goes into effect, requiring every supported scaffold more than 40 feet off the ground to have a permit certifying that it was erected by a trained worker.

November 3, 2006

City Buildings Department finds six violations for hazardous conditions during an inspection of 525 Clinton. The developer fails to appear at a hearing, driving the fines up to $27,500. Karnusa reschedules a hearing on one of the fines, misses it again, and is allowed to reschedule. The fine is eventually lowered from $5,000 to $1,000, which Karnusa pays, leaving $22,500 in unpaid penalties.

April 2, 2007

Department of Buildings says its BEST team (Buildings Enforcement and Safety Team) will begin inspecting all mid-rise buildings once a week

July 30, 2007

Carlos Morocho falls from a scaffold at another site where subcontractor Bell Tower Enterprises is working.

December 13, 2007

Neighbor Amy Greer calls 311 to complain about flying debris from 525 Clinton. Department of Buildings does not check out complaint until February 13, 2008.

January 30, 2008

Jose Palacios dies, another worker is injured, when a scaffold secured by hanger wire collapses in high winds. Construction site is shut down temporarily. Karnusa is fined $1,600 for not having a permit for the scaffold. No evidence suggests the BEST team detected irregularities at the site in the weeks leading up to the accident.

March 2009

TD North, the developer’s bank, begins foreclosure proceedings on the building.

August 10, 2009

Karnusa appears at an Environmental Control Board hearing for five building violations it received in 2006.(It had missed two previous hearings but was allowed under the tribunal’s rules to reschedule.) It lost its case, but the maneuver effectively reduced the total fines from $22,500 to $7,500. As of mid-November, the balance still hadn’t been paid.

The Cost of Doing Business