Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Grasso" Bill to Prohibit Permits

Bill to derail deadbeat developers

BY Brian Kates

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 4:00 AM

Responding to a Daily News probe, a city councilman Wednesday introduced a bill that would bar the city from granting permits to contractors and developers who have outstanding fines.

The bill, sponsored by Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), would prohibit city agencies from granting permits to any applicant who owes "fines, civil penalties or judgments."

Vacca said the bill was prompted by last Sunday's Daily News report that hundreds of scofflaw building code violators continue to receive permits despite racking up $263 million in fines that have gone unpaid for as long as a decade.

"The Daily News article struck a nerve in my community, which has been trying to deal with this issue for some time," Vacca said. "People have to know that they will be held accountable via the permit process if they do not have fines paid up."

The bill applies to all city agencies.

It would put a stop to scofflaws such as demolition diva Marie Grasso, who was profiled in The News for receiving 144 Building Department permits in the last 12 months despite owing a staggering $1.4 million in fines and penalties.

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