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Progress at 2400 Webb Avenue, though bulk of tenants still out

Bronx Times

At least some of the forced-out tenants of 2400 Webb Avenue are moving back home.

They were back exactly a month after the city found the building had its fire escapes illegally removed.

But as some settled into their University Heights home once again, others were in court - filing suit against Goldfarb Properites.

They asked a Bronx housing court judge to monitor the progress, to make sure repairs continue. While the suit is not seeking monetary damages, it does want Goldfarb punished if he doesn’t fulfill his vow to complete repairs on time.

So far 11 apartments on the first and second floors - which never had fire escapes since they were close to the ground - were cleared for occupancy after contractors finished fireproofing them.

Fire escapes for the front side of the seven-story building (known as the ‘D’ line) have been installed, though as of press time the ladders were not hooked up, according to 12-year resident Yvonne Tyson.

“Every tenant I spoke with who got the go-ahead to move in are nervous,” said Tyson, one of the more outspoken Godfarb critics.

She claims bringing residents back is a ploy to avoid compensating them the $840 weekly checks to cover living expenses.

“It has to do with dollars,” said Tyson. “That’s why there’s a group of us that are still pushing for a criminal lawsuit.”

As she mentioned at a June 14th meeting with city agencies, Tyson believes Goldfarb’s negilgence amounts to “attempted murder”.

Meantime, tenants head back to housing court Friday, July 6 - the day after the next batch of tenants are allowed to return, according to advanced notices by Goldfarb.

“I won’t believe it ‘til I’m moved in,” said Teresa Matthews, a 16-year resident.

But Jefferson George, a 21-year resident, was one of the first tenants to call his place home again.

“It came as a surprise how fast I could move in,” he said.

Still, he’s not a fan of Goldfarb, believing he has to pay for inconveniencing his tenants.

The problems started back in April after a Goldfarb contractor removed the fire escapes for the entire building, leaving residents in a virtual firetrap for three weeks.

It wasn’t until the inspectors with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development noticed the gaffe and alerted the Buildings Department, which then ordered the FDNY to initiate an evacuation.

The problem has been one giant headache for residents, forced to flee their apartment with whatever belongings they could grab.

Scattered about the tri-state area, residents have stayed updated on what’s been happening through social media sites.

A Facebook page titled “Tenants of 2400 Webb Avenue” has been set up to keep track of the latest news.

Goldfarb has not returned calls for comment.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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