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Jul 4, 2012 9:39 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Inspectors Issue More Than 100 Violations At Converted Motel Properties In Hampton Bays

Jul 4, 2012 10:09 AM

Southampton Town code enforcement officers have issued more than a hundred violations to the owners of three former motels in Hampton Bays, all of which they said have been illegally converted to year-round residential housing.

The charges are the result of separate surprise inspections this winter and spring that angered local immigration advocates, who charged that the raids unfairly targeted minorities who were tenants.

Following a pre-dawn raid on May 2, code enforcement officers slapped Stella Kokolis of Hampton Bays, the owner of a converted motel located at 329 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, with 138 violations. The violations, according to town records, included everything from missing smoke detectors to fuel oil soaking into the ground outside the units, overcrowding, and the illegal conversion of living rooms to sleeping quarters.

It was not clear how many people were found living in the motel’s 14 rooms—town officials have not released an exact number—though the violations state that, on more than a dozen occasions, two or three people were found living in bedrooms measuring 80 square feet in size, space that is suitable for only one person. State code dictates that a room must be at least 120 square feet to accommodate two people, and that number can increase by one for every additional 50 square feet of space available.

Little more than two weeks later, at 6 a.m. on May 18, code enforcement officers converged at another former motel, this one located at 76 North Highway in Hampton Bays, for another pre-dawn inspection. Stergios Tallides of Hampton Bays, the listed owner, was issued 11 violations for overcrowding and missing smoke detectors. He also received summonses for having hazards, such as overflowing cesspools, according to town records.

Again, it was unclear how many people were found living inside the motel’s estimated eight rooms at the time of the inspection, though one of the violations state that three people were found living in a 11-foot-by-12-foot room.

Mr. Tallides, the owner of 76 North Highway Corp. of Astoria, also was ticketed for permitting the illegal conversion of a motel into a permanent dwelling and, according to town officials, allowing tenants to live in an illegal basement apartment at the motel for four months. He was also ticketed for installing a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom without an updated certificate of occupancy and building permit, and installing electrical systems and plumbing without the proper permits, according to town officials. The building also lacked working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Following a similar inspection two months earlier, on March 1, code enforcement officers slapped Lyle Pike of Southampton, the listed owner of the converted motel at 114 North Road in Hampton Bays, with a dozen violations, ranging from overcrowding to illegally transforming his motel into a permanent dwelling. In a previous interview, David Betts, the chief investigator for Southampton Town, said inspectors found nearly 80 people—more than twice what is legally allowed—occupying the motel’s 20 rooms.

That inspection was not the first one to turn up violations at Mr. Pike’s motel property, according to town records. In 2010, inspectors issued 29 violations for similar issues, such as illegally converting a motel into permanent residences and missing smoke detectors. He was also ticketed for allowing the construction of two kitchens, and the installation of interior partitions and plumbing and electrical systems without securing the proper building permits, records show.

Mr. Pike, a contractor, has a history of code violations dating back to 2004, at which time code inspectors found problems at five other properties he owns in Riverside, Tuckahoe and Shinnecock Hills.

Neither Mr. Pike nor his attorney, Colin Astarita, returned calls over the past few weeks seeking comment on the violations. Mr. Tallides also could not be reached for comment.

Prior to being served, Ms. Kokolis said she visits her apartments every week and does not allow renters to overcrowd the units. “I am confident that I have no problems,” Ms. Kokolis said before The Press learned about the violations she was issued in the spring. She has not returned calls seeking additional comment over the past two weeks.

While he did not know how long they have been in violation of the code, Mr. Betts said the three converted motels in Hampton Bays have had issues since he began working for the town five years ago. He said his inspectors regularly return to properties to check on the progress that owners have promised to make to address violations; Mr. Betts said he did not know when his office would return to the three motels.

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By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 6, 12 8:55 AM
27east Editor:

Why do you keep referring to the inspections by Code Enforcement as "raids"? The definition for "raid" does not represent what occured. Code Enforcement officers aren't even armed. This is poor journalism on your part
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 9:11 AM
3 members liked this comment
Don't be foolish. It's not "poor journalism", and it's not an accident.

It's part of a deliberate campaign to gin up sympathy for illegal immigrants, and support the continued importation of Latin America's poverty.

Now that every illegal immigrant under 30 will be made legal ("Yes, I swear my parents brought me here when I was 15"), every left leaning newspaper is running sob stories about 31 year old illegal aliens.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 6, 12 9:43 AM
When I first read this...

"code enforcement officers slapped Stella Kokolis of Hampton Bays, the owner of a converted motel located at 329 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, "

I thought a code enforcement officer slapped someone...that wouldn't be good. Surely a different word or sentence structure could be used! LOL
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 2:03 PM
So right, Reality. Break out the tissues..
By **HBQueenBee** (46), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 10:01 AM
If Sylvia Baruch is so concerned, maybe she should meet with the immigrant families and explain to them what the laws are about housing and have them either speak to the landlords or report the landlords so taxpayers money doesn't have to be wasted on these early morning inspections. Until then, they will keep on getting inspected and you will have to deal with it because it is the law.
By Flannery66 (9), Hampton Bays on Jul 6, 12 11:10 AM
3 members liked this comment
Close these death traps down now! Really getting tired of the bleeding hearts who think illegals have "rights" to be in overcrowded and unsafe housing, and when Town Enforcement does their job it's "harrasment".
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Jul 6, 12 11:56 AM
3 members liked this comment
Safety is the issue. The inspections, which are tax payer funded, are for keeping
the absentee landlords and the rental housing safe!! STOP calling them "raids"
they are safety issues and Code Enforcement should be thanked and not
demonized for your political reasons!
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Jul 6, 12 12:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
God forbit there was a tragedy at one of these establishments, the same people who are criticizing the Code Enforcement would be blaming them and holding the Town responsible. You can't have it both ways.

The Code Enforcement has a job to to. They are protecting the residents as well as neighbors who are affected by the problems. As far as targeting illegals, the OWNERS are responsible. Are they targeted because they are illegal?

The fines should be raised. Clearly the money ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 2:08 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sylvia Baruch stated, "The immigrant population, some of whom are undocumented, need a special kind of care."

I believe what she means is "a different standard in our society to which they should be held." Treat them all the same as my family would be treated if we were to be in violation of the law.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Jul 6, 12 1:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
Special care??? Im a single mother working two jobs, no child support and paying taxes! Wheres MY special care? Maybe the church will help me pay for fuel oil in winter or school supplies in Sept....please. Because I work on the books and show income I dont qualify..I want special care!
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jul 6, 12 3:53 PM
It's a tragedy that people like you, who are doing the right thing can't get assistance, while illegal aliens soak up taxpayer dollars.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Jul 6, 12 8:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Maybe Sylvia could explain the unhealthy and unsafe conditions to these "special care people" The town should do everything in there power to bring these units up to code and not be critizied for doing there job.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 6, 12 4:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why are these 3 places still open?: The owners have known they have been operating illegally. They are putting the residents and first responders (if there is a problem) at risk.Can't a priority be put on this and close these places.
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Jul 6, 12 6:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
ya we don't need these 3 places anymore! We have a town sanctioned hell hole on west Tiana that can fill the quota of miscreants ATH wants us to carry
By joe hampton (3461), south hampton on Jul 8, 12 1:13 AM
Considering that this property is adjacent to Fresh Water Wetlands the fuel oil leaking into the ground should be of the utmost concern. Have the DEC and/or EPA been contacted?

Hope the fines are sufficient to act as a catalyst for change. Hey Justice Court, how about no plea bargain on these 138 violations unless they are all addressed prior to any deal!

By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well now the libs will call us racists if the problem is overcrowding of illegal immigrants but touch the environment... you may be on to something!
By jams (129), hampton bays on Jul 10, 12 3:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
Immigrant -a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

See that Sylvia Baruch? The above definition contains the word permanently. For you to assert that every border hopper is here to make the American Dream happen is sickening. Take the case of Marcelo Lucero the Ecuadorean "immigrant" who was stabbed to death in Patchogue. He was no immigrant, he was a low level economic terrorist who sent most of his paycheck home to Ecuador to build his own McMansion in "HIS" country. ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 8:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
Special Care should be packed on a bus and driven back to whatever banana republic they came from. Good riddance.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Jul 7, 12 1:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who is Sylvia Baruch? and what Church in Hampton Bays is she affeliated with,if she is speaking for St Rosalies the I think its time to hear from Fr Sheradon the Pastor,what are his views on Code Inforcement as it relates to deplorable and dangerous condetions at these shacks,,,is CPS involved? they should be,how are they adressing child indagerment.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Jul 7, 12 5:41 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sylvia Baruch, the founder of Neighbors in Support of Immigrants

I do not see where there is any church affilation
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 8, 12 2:44 PM
Oh those poor immigrants lets give them special treatment for breaking the law.
Nine years ago I rented a three bedroom house in Hampton Bays to a hispanic man and woman and their one baby. Within two months they were renting each bedroom to a seperate family who they said were temporary for $1,000 each month. Then they rented the basement which was unfinished too five men who were laborers for $ 400 each. So they were collecting $ 4,000 and paying me $1,200and basically destroyed the house ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jul 8, 12 9:01 PM
4 members liked this comment
The more I read about these problems my attitude has changed from one of indifference to one that something must be done. Police and Code Enforcement should do everything legal to enforce our current rules. Landlords should be fined for overcrowding, employers should be fined for hiring illegals, and illegals should be jailed as soon as they break one of our laws. We have made it too easy for illegals to stay here which we can no longer afford.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jul 10, 12 2:20 PM
2 members liked this comment