2008-04-11 / Front Page

DBP Residents Drowning In Water Debt

By Nicholas Briano

Hundreds of shareholders at the Dayton Beach Park Apartments in Rockaway Park will hear first hand on Monday from city officials who claim that they owe the city more than $1.2 million in past due water bills, and that they are in danger of a water shutdown should they not pay up.

A person close to the situation told The Wave, they will then be asked to pay the millions in due bills with a 28 percent increase in their monthly maintenance fees.

The meeting will be held on Monday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the community room at 8600 Shore Front Parkway. Representatives from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the apartment complex's accountant will be on hand to discuss plans for paying off the large water bills, which, experts say, will most likely result in the second maintenance increase in three years.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed to The Wave last week that the water bills have been past due since June of 2006.

A Board of Directors member, who asked for anonymity, at least until after Monday's meeting, because she fears retribution, said that the unpaid fees are spread across all five Dayton Beach Park Apartments, rather than just 8100 and 8400 as initially reported by the New York Post more than a week ago, sparking fear among the shareholders.

According to the board member, who is outraged because she believes that the co-op's management company, Phipps Housing Services, Inc., has lied to residents for nearly two years about the lack of payment to the city, says that each complex is in debt to the DEP.

The apartment buildings, all located on Shore Front Parkway, must, according to this board member, pony up a considerable amount of money to DEP or the liens the city holds against the properties will be sold to a collection agency, a move that could easily double the interest rate, an expert said.

The board member who spoke with The Wave said the past president of the board, Joann Smith, hired the present management company at $485,000 a year in 2005, which was nearly double the cost of the former management company.

Payments were stopped on the water bills shortly thereafter, without any notification to the residents about this issue, the present board member said.

Dayton Beach Park's financial standing is reportedly under investigation by the Queens District Attorney's office and the city's Department of Investigation, but The Wave could not corroborate that at press time.

One shareholder with ties to The Wave said that he would attend the Monday meeting because he is angry at both the management company and the board of directors.

"We paid our money and they didn't pass it on to the city," he said. "Where did the money go, if not to the city? What has the board and the management company done with it? We can't afford a 28 percent raise, and we shouldn't have to pay it. The management company should be made to shell out the money."

Address Total Debt
8100 Shore Front Parkway $226,871
8200 Shore Front Parkway $214,993
8400 Shore Front Parkway $434,746
8600 Shore Front Parkway $214,750
8800 Shore Front Parkway $158,836

The amount owed to the city by each of the buildings in the Dayton Beach Park complex, supplied by a member of the board of directors exclusively to The Wave.

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