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BenchNOTES Newsletter

BenchNOTES - August 2016

Last Month's OATH Decisions

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ALJ recommends revocation of outdoor advertising registration.

ALJ Alessandra F. Zorgniotti recommended revocation of an outdoor advertising company’s registration with the Department of Buildings. The company failed to pay $597,850 in civil penalties, failed to pay for the removal of an illegal sign, and violated the city zoning resolution at sign locations near a highway or park on three or more occasions within a 36-month period. Dep’t of Buildings v. OTR Media Group, Inc., OATH Index No. 1835/16 (Aug. 24, 2016), adopted, Comm’r Dec. (Aug. 26, 2016).

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Prevailing Wage

City improperly implemented Comptroller’s Order.

The Office of the Comptroller alleged that the City failed to pay a group of laborers the prevailing rate of wages and supplemental benefits in accordance with a prior Comptroller order.  ALJ  Gloade agreed, finding that the City had improperly implemented the order by failing to account for all hours worked by the laborers when calculating supplemental benefits and failing to pay laborers double the regular rate of pay on Sundays and certain holidays.  Office of the Comptroller ex. rel. Local 924 v. Office of Labor Relations, OATH Index No. 1624/15 (Aug. 10, 2016).

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Human Rights

Landlord failed to accommodate tenant’s daughter’s disability.

A landlord was charged with violating the City’s Human Rights Law after refusing to provide a tenant with a new or modified bathtub to accommodate her daughter’s disability. ALJ John B. Spooner found that the landlord had discriminated on the basis of a disability and recommended $50,000 in emotional distress damages for the tenant, $30,000 for her daughter, a civil penalty of $40,000, and additional affirmative relief including anti-discrimination training. Comm’n on Human Rights ex. Rel. Blue v. Jovic, OATH Index No. 1624/16 (Aug. 19, 2016).

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Real Property

Rent dispute between loft tenants and landlord.

Two tenants of an interim multiple dwelling filed a rent adjustment application seeking to have their base rent set at the last amount they paid directly to the owner in 2007, before being directed to pay rent to another tenant.  The owner argued that the rent should be adjusted to the higher rent that they paid to the other tenant in June of 2010, when the Multiple Dwelling Law came into effect. Matter of Sullivan, OATH Index No. 1093/15 (Aug. 9, 2016).

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Eligibility specialist fraudulently accepted food stamps.

ALJ Susan J. Pogoda recommended termination of employment of an eligibility specialist who failed to report an arrest for shoplifting, fraudulently accepted food stamps, and failed to report acceptance of public assistance rent checks from her sister. ALJ Pogoda noted that respondent’s dishonesty did not comport with the duties of her job, which include handling confidential and personal information about HRA clients. Human Resources Admin. v. Charleman, OATH Index No. 1653/16 (Aug. 5, 2016).

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