CONCOURSE — The notorious landlord of a building where a tenant was sickened with a rare disease transmitted by rat urine may be held in contempt of court.
A group of more than 40 tenants at 750 Grand Concourse, where a resident recently came down with a bacterial infection spread by rat urine that's called leptospirosis, had filed a lawsuit against their landlord Ved Parkash in March 2016 over poor living conditions at the building, including broken windows, mold and leaky ceilings.
Although the tenant sickened by leptospirosis was not part of the lawsuit, several residents complained of vermin in their apartments as well.
A judge ruled in April 2016 that Parkash had 30 days to fix the violations at 750 Grand Concourse, and although he did make several repairs following the stipulation, he did not make all of them, according Bianca McPherson a paralegal at the Urban Justice Center, which represented the tenants in their case.
The Center is considering asking the court to hold Parkash in contempt for his failure to comply with the court order but waiting to hear from the tenants about how they would like to move forward before proceeding, McPherson said.
Parkash did not respond to a request for comment about the possibility of contempt but defended his management of 750 Grand Concourse at a meeting in the building's lobby on Wednesday evening about the recent case of leptospirosis, describing himself as "a good landlord" who takes care of his tenants and works to make improvements in the building.
However, tenant Tracey Nelson, who has lived at the building for 20 years and was part of the lawsuit, disagreed, saying she still has issues in her apartment with rats and water pressure.
She hopes the tenants decide to try holding Parkash in contempt.
"He should be held accountable," she said. "He owns this building."