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Post date: June 7 1999

A.G. Ousts Queens Developers From Co-op And Condo Business

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that a Queens developer and his wife will no longer be allowed to sell co-ops and condos in New York. The couple failed to pay their share of operating expenses for units they own and rent out in two buildings. They will also pay $325,000 in back charges.

Thomas and Alice Huang and their corporation, Haw Di I Construction Management Corp., have consented to a judgment against them that permanently bars them from selling cooperative and condominium units or participating in the sale of such units in the future. The agreement also states that the defendants cannot publicly sell interests in real estate investments vehicles, timeshares and homeowners associations.

The Consent Judgment was signed today by Judge Eileen Bransten in Manhattan Supreme Court. The two buildings are located in Flushing - the Flushing Tower Condominium, 33-70 Prince St., and Main Street Plaza Condominium, 133-36 41st Rd.

In January in an unrelated case, Attorney General Spitzer announced a conviction against Mr. Huang for causing and attempting to hide an oil spill at an historic theater he owns in Queens.

"For years Mr. Huang has been thumbing his nose at the people of Queens through his unlawful actions," said Spitzer. "Now with the results of both of these cases, this office is sending Mr. Huang and others like him a strong and clear message - If you break the law, if you pollute the environment, if you don't live up to your responsibilities - we will find you and prosecute you."

In response to the judgment, Queens Borough President Claire Shulman said:

"Obviously, Attorney General Spitzer has hit the ground running, recognizing the importance of protecting co-op/condo residents. Here in Queens, we have worked diligently with city and state officials to secure troubled buildings and protect those individuals who have invested their savings in this market. I applaud the Attorney General's efforts and success in creating a better climate for co-op/condo residents."

New York Assemblyman Brian M. McLaughlin added:

"I would like to thank Attorney General Spitzer for the leadership and commitment to making Mr. Huang accountable for his actions. For too long Mr. Huang has preyed on our community without facing the consequences."

The Huangs will pay $225,000 in back due charges to Flushing Tower and $100,000 to Main Street Plaza. Neither the Huangs nor their family or business associates will be allowed to control more than one third of the board of managers' seats, even though they own more than half of the units in the two buildings. There are a total of 206 units in both buildings.

"This settlement will ensure that these buildings receive the repairs and improvements they need," said Spitzer. "The residents deserve to know that their property's fiscal health will be sound in the future."

The settlement is a result of a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General in 1994 alleging that the Huangs and their company violated promises made to renters by failing to pay their share of the operating expenses of the buildings known as common charges. ,p>This case was handled in the Real Estate Financing Bureau by Assistant Attorney General Oliver A. Rosengart, under the supervision of Enforcement Section Chief Gary R. Connor.

BACKGROUND

In January 1999 Attorney General Spitzer obtained a conviction against Thomas Huang when he pled guilty to two charges related to an oil spill at a landmark Queens theater. He was placed on probation for five years and ordered to clean up the oil spill.

The basement of the RKO Keith's Theater on Northern Blvd. in Flushing was soaked with oil that spilled from a heating tank in an adjacent alleyway.

Huang admitted to permitting the spill to occur and then attempting to hide its damage by submitting a false letter of compliance to the New York City Fire Department Inspectors.