By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
It is still unclear whether the 22nd Street property was ever entitled to a bonus, given the July 2004 change in the rules. But in the wake of the local outcry over its improper granting of the 15th Street permit, the buildings department slapped a violation on the owner for improper usage. In zoning-speak the citation is for "occupancy contrary to that allowed by the certificate of occupancy." But the underlying problem is very basic: How did Radusky, a buildings department regular, get the approvals?
"It was a mistake," said agency spokeswoman Jennifer Givner regarding the 15th Street site. "It should not have been issued in the first place." She said a stop-work order had been issued for the site. At 22nd Street, fines of $5,000 have been posted against the developer, she said.
It's not the first time Radusky's applications came up short. In 2002, agency investigators confronted him with 55 separate projects where he allegedly failed to follow required codes. His only sanction, however, was a polite agreement in which Radusky agreed for a one-year period to "voluntarily surrender" his right to certify his own plans as in sync with city codes.
Last week, a visitor to Radusky's firm, Bricolage Design, located on the second floor of a brick building under the el on New Utrecht Avenue, found a bustling, modern office. Aides said they didn't know where Henry was but would be glad to give him a message. Radusky didn't respond.
Jack LoCicero, developer of both the 15th Street and 22nd Street projects, said his permits were properly obtained and that the yeshiva simply reneged on a deal to rent the 22nd Street property. "So then the next faculty took it over, Methodist. It's not improper usage," he said. Asked why, if the yeshiva had jilted him on the 22nd Street site, he had months later listed them again as tenants on his 15th Street project, LoCicero sighed. "Well, you know, they're always looking for housing, I took a chance." Had Radusky suggested the faculty housing angle to him? "Let's not go there," he said. "I plead the Fifth." He said his current intention for his 15th Street property is to build "regular housing, whatever the City of New York says I can build."
The 15th Street neighbors remain suspicious. Last month, accompanied by local assemblyman Jim Brennan, they met with buildings department officials to press their concerns. "It's our opinion that the submission of the plans based on dormitory-type housing was some kind of fraud," Brennan said. "We're pleased the buildings department is investigating Mr. Radusky's actions." Is it? Agency officials bucked the question to the city's Department of Investigation. "No comment," said spokeswoman Emily Gest.