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Tenants fuming with frustration over landlord

Jim Hoffer has the exclusive investigation.
November 4, 2013 3:24:30 PM PST
One New York City landlord owes nearly $500,000 in fees and fines with hundreds of violations filed against him.

Just a name on a list, until now when in the course of Eyewitness News' investigation found the landlord who seems in denial about his buildings decrepit conditions.

Hoffer: "Can we ask you some questions?
Luis Bombart: No not at this time.

Based on the sheer number of building codes violations, landlord Luis Bombart and his father rank among the worst landlords in the city.

"There are times when water just pours down and rains," Orlando Rodriquez, a tenant, said.

Rodriquez has been fighting for years to get the Bombart's to fix the leaks in his bathroom.

"I'm terrified that one day I'll be taking a shower and the ceiling will collapse on me," he said.

Other tenants blame leaks in the walls and windows for serious respiratory problems.

"I'm tired of using this machine," Carmen Vega-Rivera said.

Our investigation has found that the Bombart's four apartment buildings in the Bronx have more than 16-hundred city code violations in the last decade. They owe the city nearly a-half million dollars in repair fees and fines.

Hoffer: "Why don't you fix some of those problems?"
Luis Bombart: "They're all being fixed."
Hoffer: "Well, that's not what tenants are telling us, you're just patching over things but not fixing things."
Luis Bombart: "They're all being fixed."

"This is the same repetitious problem all the time," Stevenson Nurse, another tenant, said.

This tenant says the leaks in his living room and bathroom are never fixed just patched, or in this case pillowed:

Nurse: "This is a pillow. This was the solution of the landlord's to the leak."
Hoffer: "Wrap it around the pipes?"
Nurse: "Wrap it around the pipes."

In a Bombart building, tenants we spoke to say buckets are as essential as rat poison.

"She said everyday water dropping from there and rats. They chew on everything," Maria Morillo said.

The list of problems and violations is endless as are the daily struggles.

Hoffer: "How often is the elevator broken down?"
Tenant: "I'd say three weeks out of a month."
Hoffer: "Broken more than it's working?"
Tenant: "There you go."

Hoffer: Although Luis Bombart's one-and-a-half million dollar Connecticut home seems to be well-maintained. As for the his buildings in the Bronx, tenants have taken Bombart to court frustrated by the city's failure to hold him accountable.

Hoffer (questioning Bombart): "Are you sure this works, this elevator? A lot of your elevators don't work. Why don't you stop and talk to us? Sir, why not talk to us? Why are you running from us?"

Tenant Orlando Rodriguez also has a few questions that he wants answered.

"Why isn't the city going after them for fines? Why isn't city taking those fines and putting them back into the buildings to make repairs?" he said.

The city's Housing Preservation Development has spent $224-thousand dollars in emergency repairs on Bombart's buildings. They're also currently seeking a court order directing him to make repairs.

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