New York City’s Law Department filed criminal charges against a building owner who it alleges paid no heed to warnings about a crumbling facade that killed a two-year-old child last year.
City officials said that Esplanade Venture Partnership and its principal, Alexander Scharf, disregarded city maintenance laws that require the exterior of buildings taller than six stories be regularly inspected by a licensed professional. Scharf could face a fine of up to $25,000, a year in jail, or both.
An engineer, Maqsood Faruqi, also faces charges. The city alleges that he signed off on the building's safety without actually inspecting it.
City officials said that despite receiving a recommendation to repair cracks, Esplanade made only the most basic repairs and ignored the rest of the building's disintegrating exterior. Officials intend for the charges to remind other building owners of their legal responsibility to maintain buildings.