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He Wood if he could

The Brooklyn Paper
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Artist Arthur Wood said the city is holding his hand-built home Broken Angel “hostage” for $70,000 in fines that the Buildings Department says he owes.

Wood’s famous Clinton Hill ziggurat caught fire in 2006, bringing it — and its alleged code violations — to the attention of the city. That attention led to fines.

“It’s extortion,” Wood said last Friday during a press conference in front of Brooklyn Supreme Court. “The whole project is dead in the water right now.”

No it’s not, said developer Shahn Andersen, who is working with Wood to transform the Downing Street building into 11 two-bedroom apartments (including one for Wood and his wife, Cynthia)

“The Department of Buildings gave Arthur some fines for building the original building,” said Andersen. “We will have to pay a reduced version of that fine before we get a certificate of occupancy [for the restored building].”

Andersen said he expected the Woods would be able to move back into Broken Angel this fall — exactly two years after the fire that sparked city scrutiny and caused the long displacement of the couple.

Updated 5:05 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Arthur Wood from Clinton Hill says:
I'd like to thank the paper for shining a light on the difficult circumstances that I face in dealing with the buildings department. However, I want to clarify that when I called attention to my situation last week I was focusing on corruption in the courts in particular.

My case against the city was dismissed in violation of the court rules which prohibit the filing of a written motion to dismiss in court. In a pre-trial hearing the lawyer for the city, Carolyn M. Planas, attempted to serves a written motion to dismiss. This motion was denied by honorable Donald S. Kurtz for improper service. The following day the same city attorney read the denied motion in court in front of the honorable Lawrence Knepel. He accepted this motion and dismissed the case claiming it was an oral motion. However, the basis for the motion contained information that was kept out of the papers on both sides. Therefore the judge had to have had prior knowledge of the subject of the argument and clearly worked in concert with that attorney.

As such I have filed a formal complaint with the state board on judicial conduct against Judge Napel. I have filed a complaint with the disciplinary committee against the city attorney as well.

In regards to the fines, the department of buildings has failed to acknowledge that the evidence that forms the basis for the fines was dismissed as final in 1992 (based on a 1986 case). Further the same matter was dismissed as final on August 8, 2007, predating judge Alan Herkin Torres decision to grant immunity in this matter to the building department- which was based on the forced eviction of myself and my wife from 4 Downing Street. The point being, the court cannot grant immunity to something that no longer exists.

Again, thank you for taking the time to look into this matter.

Arthur M. Wood
March 27, 2008, 1:41 pm

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