Written by Wendy Kreitzman Wednesday, 23 October 2013 00:00
As armed officers from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office stood guard, along with a county police officer, alleged “slumlord” Sharok Jacobi failed to show in court at the Village of Great Neck last Wednesday evening, Oct. 16. In March 2012, Jacobi had been convicted of 19 potentially life-threatening violations of health fire and safety codes. In addition to being ordered to pay $17,050 in fines, Jacobi was to serve a jail term of possibly up to eight months (15 days for each of the counts he had been convicted of). And the court has directed that the he correct significant health and safety violations, and restore the property at 127 Steamboat Road to one that will support single-family occupancy.
According to the findings of the court, enumerated at the March 2012 court date, lives were at risk due to the violations of electrical, fire and housing codes. There were eight illegal apartments in the dwelling with one tenant in a locked closet. Insufficient light, ventilation and conditions that were described as “nearly uninhabitable” were found. Three small children were exposed to unsafe environmental conditions, including mold which was found in the air and walls of the property.
At the March 2012 court hearing, Village Justice John Mosel ordered Jacobi to correct all of the alleged violations by June 13, 2012. His fine was to be due then and Jacobi would then have the opportunity to show cause why the court should not require the counts against him for imprisonment be served consecutively.
As for the most recent Oct. 16 court date, Jacobi failed to show. Attorney Simon Schwartz, representing Jacobi and Jacobi’s lawyer Gregory Bitterman, announced that Jacobi had left the country last month but said he did not know where
he was. When pressed, Schwartz said he thought Jacobi was in Israel, having left right after the Jewish holidays, on Sept. 30 or Oct. 1. Schwartz also said that he did not believe that either Jacobi or Bitterman had received any notice of that night’s required court appearance.
Justice Mostel said not only was official, required notice sent out, but at the last court appearance both were informed that Jacobi must appear in court on Oct. 16. The judge indicated that he would sentence Jacobi “in absentia.”
Mostel then asked Dennis Fromigia, village building inspector, to read the list of violations that should have been corrected in June 2012. Reading the long list of violations, Fromigia stated that, following the inspections from April to June of 2012, all but one of the violations had been corrected, but that the building soon after was “backwards again,’ with code violations.
In addition, Fromigia reported that though Jacobi had said he had hired an architect to repair the property and return the property to a one-family home, that had not been done.
At that point, village prosecutor Michelle Prior stated that she still stand by her original recommendation of “incarceration.”
Mostel then raised the issue of the fines that were due to be paid well over a year ago, none of which had been paid to the village. Mostel told Schwartz certified and regular mail notices would be sent out and that he (Schwartz) was to inform both Jacobi and Bitterman that the fines must be paid and that both Jacobi and Bitterman that Jacobi was expected in court that night and must appear at court on Nov. 19.