June 23, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
After enduring two months without a hot shower or stove-cooked meal, Acropolis Gardens residents have only more blame games to look forward to.
Con Edison shut off the gas in half of the Acropolis’ 16 buildings at the end of April, citing problems with the piping system involving improper and unauthorized hook ups.
Reading from Department of Buildings information, Councilman Costa Constantinides said that Acropolis must fix gas connection lines, faulty meters, hot water connections and a host of other problems before Con Edison can restore gas flow.
For weeks, the Acropolis Gardens’ management company, Metropolitan Pacific Properties, has engaged in a back-and-forth with Con Edison, each blaming the other for the continued shut off. Lawyers for the Acropolis Gardens’ co-op board attended a rally on Monday outside the complex, repeating management’s earlier statements that Con Edison is at fault.
Public Advocate Letitia James, who hosted the rally alongside Constantinides and State Sen. Michael Gianaris, said it is “difficult to get a full story… and who is telling the truth.”
Officials at Monday’s rally were hesitant to lay blame for the gas shutoff on any particular party.
“This is not about pointing any fingers. This is about finding a solution,” James said.
“I’m not here to stand against the management company,” Constantinides said.
However, they went on to align themselves with Con Edison and demand action from Acropolis Gardens.
“Con Edison turned off the gas for the safety of the residents,” the Councilman said. “All we’re asking is for the management company to do the work that needs to be done, that DOB has prescribed.”
“[Residents] deserve speedy repair on any faulty pipes,” James said.
When asked why management had not complied with requirements to get the gas restored, attorney Joseph DeJesu – representing the co-op – said these requirements are continually shifting and “unnecessary.” He argued that Con Edison should instead admit error and turn the gas back on.
“This is 100 percent Con Edison’s fault,” said DeJesu added.
“Building management has been made fully aware of what they need to do,” Con Edison spokesman Sidney Alvarez responded in a statement. “Gas was shut off for the safety of the residents.”
Meanwhile, residents remain stuck in what Nicholas Alexander, who has lived there for five years, called “a complete nightmare.”
Alexander said has been showering at work and cooking on hot plates or at friends’ apartments. He added that he pays $825 per month in maintenance fees, and asked, “where is this money going?”
“It is a terrible, terrible experience, and there is no light at the end of the tunnel,” Alexander said.