Vasilios (Bill) Gerazounis, 66, the owner of the Bensonhurst building where 5 tenants were killed and an infant severely injured in a fire allegedly set by another tenant on January 30, has been issued violations by the Department of Buildings for illegal walls and blocked exits on his property which may have contributed to the deaths. According to the News, the Brooklyn DA is considering criminal charges.
Gerazounis, who holds the property through a company called 2035 86th Street Realty, LLC, reportedly installed three walls on the third story of the mixed-use building to divide a single 2-bedroom apartment into four individual residential units. As many as fifteen people lived in those four apartments, and some of them were walled off from the fire escape.
At the time of the fire, FDNY investigators reported that there were no working smoke alarms and the fire exit was blocked by furniture.
Gerazounis was hit with three $25,000 fines by the DOB for altering his property to hold more than the legal number of tenants, not providing 2 exits, and building partitions without a permit. Police sources tell the News that the Brooklyn DA is considering criminal charges against him, but none have been filed yet.
The Long Island-based landlord says that his story, whatever it is, “will come out.”
Which, all things considered, seems probable now.