| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge fines Oakland landlords $460,000

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Pittsburgh judge said he fined two Oakland landlords more than $460,000 today because they neglected years of building and fire code violations that put residents in danger.

"They put their tenants at risk," said District Justice Gene Ricciardi of the South Side. "They've really damaged the reputation of the Oakland community. These citations were very serious. We're not just talking about a cracked sidewalk here or some overgrown weeds."

Ricciardi fined Jason Cohen, 27, of Mt. Lebanon, $200,000 on 10 counts of city code violations including broken fire escapes, inoperable fire alarms and improper fire doors at his 42-unit Parkview Estates complex.

A minor fire broke out in Cohen's Parkview Avenue building May 16. Firefighters who were there conducting an inspection based on numerous complaints from tenants found the first-floor alarms did not work and many apartment did not have smoke detectors.

The city stationed a firefighter there overnight to monitor the building as Cohen scrambled to correct the problems.

In a separate case, Ricciardi fined Atallah Khalil, of Carrick, $260,107.50 for similar fire code violations on a 12-unit apartment building he owns at 343 McKee Place.

Both buildings house primarily students attending the University of Pittsburgh. They are two among many examples of dilapidated student housing in Oakland and South Oakland near campus.

Ricciardi gave Cohen six weeks to remedy code violations in a second apartment at 331 McKee Place, next door to Khalil's property. The two McKee Place buildings look identical.

The fines must be paid by June 30, according to Riccardi's order.

Neither Cohen nor Khalil could be reached for comment. Both are expected to appeal.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read News