East Village neighbors shaken as legal battles over neighborhood gas-tampering continue

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EAST VILLAGE (PIX11) - The imminent threat seems all too real say the tenants of 128 2nd Avenue -- right across the street is the daily reminder of the dangers they say they're dating after the explosion that leveled three buildings and killed two people in the East Village.

"Con Edison came to our building on Sunday and spotted shady construction work and said I'm shutting the building down," said Jonathan Jones.

Jones is one of the few remaining residents living in the building after the gas was shut off on Sunday after a city inspector found a worker in the basement installing a new gas pipe.  Turns out, that work was unauthorized.  PIX 11 news has confirmed with Con Edison that the gas was shut off.  The Department of Buildings also issued a full stop work order immediately.

"This is a perfect example of what happened across the street.  We have not been notified of any action that we are doing and we are shutting the building down," Jones said the inspector told him.

Residents we spoke to say they have been battling with Icon Realty since the management company took over the building in 2013.

"If I was to rely on the landlord itself, a big corporation that is buying land in the area, if I was going to depend on them then no," said tenant Christopher Dabrowski about his safety.

Local landmark, Stage Diner, has also been forced to close because of the gas shut off but here is where the story gets messy.  We spoke to the attorneys for Icon Realty who tell us it wasn't one of their contractors working on the gas line but a Stage Diner employee.  They released this statement saying in part:

"It has been discovered what we believe to be proof that the Stage Deli’s employees or agents were the person seen by the inspector working on the gas lines without a permit. We’ve uncovered a device installed without the owner’s knowledge or consent siphoning gas from Con Edison directly to the Stage Deli and bypassing Stage Deli’s meter".

--Joseph Goldsmith, Esq.

It is important to mention both tenants we interviewed for this story are in litigation with the management company.  As for when the gas will be turned back on - the attorney says it could take several weeks.  In the meantime, they are offering $200 a day to residents for hotel stays.