Developer sentenced for building code violations

Judgments overturned by state Appellate Court


*On Feb. 9, 2012, state Appellate Court overturned the convictions that previously convicted Itzhak Hershko, also known as Isaac Hershko, and Ettie Properties of illegally authorizing the installation of equipment and performing work without a permit.

A Cedarhurst commercial property owner was sentenced last week to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine stemming from a series of building code violations at 91 Carman Ave.

Itzhak Hershko, who was first issued summonses by the Cedarhurst Building Department last October, was convicted in Cedarhurst Judicial Court in February on charges of failing to obtain a building permit and electrical permits and disobeying a stop-work order. Neither Hershko nor his attorney, Avi Rosenfeld, appeared for his sentencing on April 14 in Cedarhurst Village Hall, and a bench warrant was issued by Judge Andrew Goldsmith for his arrest.

The Carman Avenue property is a commercial building that once housed Freifeld’s, an automobile service station. At the sentencing, Cedarhurst residents who live nearby told Goldsmith how Hershko's neglect has harmed their neighborhood.

"The last three years have been hell," said Karen Serebryansky, referring to the period during which Hershko has owned 91 Carman Ave. and some neighboring properties. "My kids have felt very unsafe."

Village Attorney Jerome Levenberg requested that Hershko be sentenced to the maximum of 90 days in prison per violation, which would mean a total of 270 days. Levenberg said that imposing nothing more than a fine would not be sufficient punishment, since Hershko has a judgment of more than $4 million against him pending in Nassau County Supreme Court, and debts on properties he owns have gone unpaid.

"No matter what kind of a fine you impose upon him, he is not going to pay it," Levenberg told Goldsmith. "The only way he is going to learn his lesson is behind bars."

Levenberg also pointed out how neighbors on Carman Avenue who have testified against Hershko have been the victims of threats and how Hershko's violations have caused an enormous blight on the neighborhood. "He has subjected the people on that block to safety violations that could affect their very lives and their health," said Levenberg. "He has shown an utter disregard for any concern for these people."

Rosenfeld did not respond to calls seeking comment.

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