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Forgery Arrest Brings Relief to Hell's Kitchen Tenants

By DNAinfo Staff on April 8, 2011 4:56pm

517 W. 45th Street, part of the multi-residential property impacted by the alleged forgeries.
517 W. 45th Street, part of the multi-residential property impacted by the alleged forgeries.
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DNAinfo/Tara Kyle

By Tara Kyle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

HELL'S KITCHEN — A man suspected of falsifying records to inaccurately show that repairs were made to a West side property notorious for problems with its elevator and boilers was arrested this week by the Department of Investigation. 

Isaac Dagim, 35, a former filing representative registered with the Department of Buildings, faces felony charges including three counts of forgery for allegedly filing several false certificates of correction, according to the DOI.

The charges stem from an investigation of complaints filed in spring 2007 by tenants at 517-525 W. 45th Street, a multi-residential property across from P.S. 51.

Tenants, who include senior citizens and children, have long struggled with problems including heat and hot water shut downs, elevator problems and crumbling parapets, according to 523 W. 45th St. resident Tom Cayler, 60.

In 2007, Cayler noticed that DOB records indicate that several certificates of correction had been filed, despite the fact that tenants hadn't seen any repair work done in the building.

The DOI investigation ultimately found that Dagim had forged the building owner's signature, and that violations still exist in the building.

The arrest comes at a time when desolate blocks like this one, sitting between Tenth and Eleventh avenues in Hell's Kitchen, are the subject of a new zoning proposal intended to bring more life to the neighborhood.

As commerce and new residential developments begin to trickle in, Cayler and other neighborhood activists have been pushing the city to include anti tenant harassment protections, which they say help prevent these situations.

"What I wish is that the arrest will finally get all the work done and the violations removed," Cayler said. "This has to get done."