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Huang manager accused of disobeying stop-work order

By Adam Pincus

Thomas Cottone was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a forged instrument, the criminal complaint said. He was given the second charge because there was allegedly an after-hours variance permit posted at the site which said it was valid until April 2006, but such permits are only good for one week, the complaint said.Calls for comment made to Huang's company, New Main Street and 41st Road Corp., were not returned.A spokesman for the Fire Department said the station house adjacent to the 84-18 Queens Blvd. construction site, near the intersection with Grand Avenue, was evacuated twice in three weeks because the excavation work next door threatened its structural walls. FDNY spokesman Seth Andrews said the first time was on Dec. 23 and the second time Jan. 13. Both evacuations at Ladder Co. 136, at 86-53 Grand Ave., lasted less than 24 hours, Andrews said. The Elmhurst construction location has received multiple Buildings violations over the past year, issued to developer Huang, who has been criticized for alterations he made to the RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing some years ago and who was more recently slapped with Buildings Department violations for work he did on homes in Bayside.Police said during the Jan. 13 fire house evacuation, a Department of Buildings official visited the scene, but did not have the training to arrest Cottone. Police arrived and arrested him, officials said. In order to support the threatened station walls, several tons of dirt were trucked back to the site to fill it up to street level,neighbors said.Workers were digging at the site in January despite several Buildings complaints in December that led to a stop work order. Buildings complaints received on Dec. 16 and 17 describe dramatic construction problems, including excavations that caused the collapse of a 30 foot long concrete wall. The depth of the dig also brought about flooding, which led workers to pump the water into a neighbor's property and the street, Buildings documents said.In response, the city issued a stop work order on Dec. 21, city records show.These recent violations were not the first. As far back as April 2005, work at the site attracted complaints, which prompted the city to issue stop work orders. In fact, city records show a $2,500 fine from that month remains unpaid.Even as his project manager faces charges in court, Tommy Huang is seeking a tax abatement for seven three-story row houses under construction in Elmhurst, Community Board 4 district manager Richard Italiano said.CB 4 is scheduled to vote at its monthly meeting Feb. 7 on a recommendation for a 421a Abatement, created to ease the increase in property taxes associated with new construction, for Huang at 111-23 through 111-35 44th Ave. in Corona.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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