NY Landlord Settles Lead Paint Hazards Lawsuit
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a settlement-in-principle agreement with a Syracuse landlord who failed to address lead-based paint hazards at his rental properties.
William D’Angelo, alongside his company Marpat LLC, has been ordered to pay $310,000, which will reportedly be used for a tenant relief fund that will provide payments to families of the children who were lead-poisoned in the properties.
Additionally, the funds will be used to identify and resolve all potential lead hazards at D’Angelo’s properties with a history of lead violations.
In July last year, Attorney General James, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh filed a lawsuit against D’Angelo and his company. The suit alleged that he repeatedly and persistently violated lead safety laws at nearly two dozen rental properties in Syracuse.
Over the past eight years, there were reportedly at least 360 violations of lead safety laws at properties owned by D’Angelo. At least 16 children, 11 of them children of color, were poisoned by lead while living at these properties, the lawsuit found.
According to the attorney general’s office, lead-based paint in residential housing is a “pervasive” problem in Syracuse, where 81% of the housing stock was built before lead-based paint was banned in New York in 1970.
D’Angelo has reportedly owned and managed at least 48 rental properties with at least 116 individual rental units in Syracuse over the past 30 years. According to city and county records, all of D’Angelo’s rental properties were built prior to 1940, and therefore are all presumed to contain lead-based paint.
Currently, D’Angelo currently owns 39 rental properties in and around Syracuse, 22 of which have had lead-related violations.
“William D’Angelo cut corners and failed to address serious lead hazards at his properties, putting countless children and their families in danger,” said James. “In Syracuse and throughout New York state, the life-changing health impacts of lead exposure disproportionately affect children of color.
“My office will always fight to protect children from lead poisoning and work with our partners in government and advocacy to keep families safe. I am grateful to County Executive McMahon and Mayor Walsh for standing with us against this public health crisis.”
As a result of the settlement-in-principle, D’Angelo will reportedly pay $310,000, of which $80,000 will go to current and former tenants harmed by lead paint exposure at the properties he owned over the past eight years, and $230,000 will fund the identification and resolution of lead hazards at the 22 currently owned properties with lead-related violations.
D’Angelo will also be barred from selling any of these properties without the OAG’s approval until all lead hazards have been resolved.
Last year, in March, James also filed a lawsuit against a Buffalo landlord for “repeated and flagrant” violations of lead safety laws at dozens of properties.
According to the release, more than half of the 75 properties owned by Farhad Raiszadeh, his wife Shohre Zahedi, and their companies (Raiszadeh Group) have been cited for lead paint hazard violations. At least 16 children were reportedly diagnosed with lead poisoning while living in these properties.
Prior to that, in August 2022, in what was reported to be the largest amount ever sought from a landlord in a lead paint violation case in Western New York, the Attorney General’s Office requested over $5 million from Angel Elliot Dalfin.
The former landlord—who recently surrendered at the federal courthouse to face criminal charges related to lead paint violations—once owned and/or controlled 150 single- and two-family homes in Buffalo, New York, where 29 children reportedly suffered from lead poisoning.
And, just the month prior, James announced an agreement involving a Syracuse, New York-based landlord and their company for failing to protect children from lead paint hazards.
The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Onondaga County in October 2021, alleged that John Kiggins and his company, Endzone Properties, Inc., endangered the health of their tenants by repeatedly violating lead paint laws and failing to mitigate the issues.
After being found guilty of the lead poisoning of 18 children, Kiggins and Endzone Properties were permanently banned from managing or owning residential rental properties in New York. The agreement was reportedly negotiated in partnership with Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse.