BROOKLYN - City and state officials announced Wednesday charges against a Crown Heights landlord in the first arrest made by a new task force designed to protect renters from harassment.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to announce the indictment of Daniel Melamed, who allegedly forced rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments.
The six-month investigation by the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force found that Melamed's building at 1578 Union St. was filled entirely with rent-regulated tenants in 2012, but only three remained by January 2015.
The investigation also alleges illegal demolition and construction projects. Additionally, prosecutors charged Melamed with child endangerment.
Officials say that dust from the construction projects kicked up contaminants like lead into the air at levels 88 times higher than the legal limit.
De Blasio and Schneiderman said that the task force will continue to target landlords who try to force out rent-regulated tenants in order to replace them with new renters at higher rates.