By Rebecca Henely
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) called upon Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city Department of Buildings last Thursday to ban notorious developer Tommy Huang from continuing to do business in Queens and the city.
“Every piece of property this developer has touched has become a problem for the neighboring properties,” Avella said.
The senator made his demands at D&D Glass Co., a glass auto repair business at 94-14 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst. The business is on the same block as a construction site, where on Jan. 10, 2011, a 27-year-old worker and father, Hedilberto Sanchez, died from cardiac arrest. He was working on an 18-by-65-foot cinder block wall, which collapsed while he and three other workers were pouring concrete into it. The three other men sustained injuries in the accident.
Huang owns the site, which is set to become a five-story apartment complex.
After the accident, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined three companies in connection with the accident, one of which was H Rock Corp., chaired by Huang’s son Henry. H Rock Corp. agreed in August 2011 to pay $14,670 in 18 installments in a settlement involving the accident.
Avella said the site at 84-18 Queens Blvd., where Sanchez died, has also caused problems for some adjacent buildings. Avella said Engine 287, at 86-53 Grand Ave., has had cracks in its concrete walls due to the construction of the apartment complex. D&D has also sustained cracks in its building foundation.
“The condition of my building was very nice before they started the project,” said Michael Demitriou, owner of D&D.
Avella said current city legislation can bar contractors from receiving work permits, but it cannot bar individuals who constantly violate codes. He said Bloomberg and the DOB have a responsibility to stop giving Huang building permits.
“We have building codes and construction codes for a reason,” Avella said. “Why aren’t they being enforced?”
Huang, who once claimed to want to become the Asian-American Donald Trump, is infamous in Queens for a 1999 felony conviction for pouring hundreds of gallons of fuel oil into the basement of RKO Keith’s Theatre in Flushing as well as ignoring asbestos contamination in the historic movie house. Huang had to pay a $5,000 fine and was given five years’ probation.
Flushing zoning expert and activist Paul Graziano said Huang’s projects never have successful outcomes.
“This guy is a bad seed,” Graziano said. “He is a guy who should not be developing.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.