Howard plays mediator in building dispute

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Julita Gontarczyk is involved in a bitter dispute. She and her husband own a home in Maspeth, Queens. A developer, Orin Effi, is putting up several homes in the space next door. What began amicably enough has deteriorated in a war of words, texts, complaints, and calls to the police.

“Because we have a common wall there is a lot of problems going on,” Julita told us. “Rain would come into his house. Flood his basement and flood my basement.”

Julita says her complaints to Effi fell on deaf ears. She complained to 311, the Health Department and the Department of Buildings. Some stop work orders were issued, infuriating Orin Effi. He says Julita made false accusations and blames the fact that she’s Polish and he’s an Israeli Jew.

So, you can imagine what it was like being in the middle of their dispute. It took a while, but I finally got them to declare a truce. Orin Effi said he’d get his lawyers to back off and see if everything can be resolved without going to court. I even got them to do a tepid handshake. We’ll see if the truce holds. I hope so.

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