James Marino Saves Building Owner from Civil Penalties by Successfully Defending DOB Violation

James Marino, a partner at KMWB, secured a dismissal of a Department of Buildings (DOB) violation for a Brooklyn building owner. The owner was in the process of getting approval for renovations he intended to make to his residential building. Prior to commencing work, the owner filed the appropriate DOB application requesting permission from the City. The submitted application erroneously indicated that the building contained no rent-stabilized units. The issuing officer noticed the discrepancy and charged the owner with making a materially false statement to a city agency. The owner was further accused of trying to hide the project from his tenants.

At a hearing, Mr. Marino rebutted these claims by introducing evidence illustrating that the application had been amended several times prior to being submitted. He also demonstrated that when amending portions of DOB applications online, only the portion being amended are available for review, rather than the whole application. Additionally, Mr. Marino introduced a form that was previously filed with the DHCR and had been forwarded to tenants notifying them of the upcoming construction. Not only was Mr. Marino able to prove that the tenants were aware of the upcoming project, he also demonstrated that the errors on the application were the result of a computer malfunction. Based on these arguments, the City dismissed the violation altogether and imposed no civil penalties.