NEWBURGH - Jean Louis Paul, the owner of a dilapidated 4 story vacant building on the corner of Renwick and South Lander Streets, plead guilty to 40 counts of violating Chapter190 of the Newburgh City Code. Chapter 190 addresses building and property standards according to Tiffany Reis, Assistant Corporation Counsel. Ms. Reis, who was prosecuting the matter, originally offered a plea to 30 days and a $10,000 fine, which she ultimately revoked after the offer was rejected. On Wednesday, June 5, 2013, she offered 80 days incarceration and a $10,000 fine, to which the defendant plead guilty and City Court Judge B. Harold Ramsey sentenced accordingly.
Until arrested by City of Newburgh Police, Mr. Paul failed to respond to any of 16 open bench warrants issued by the City Court for not responding to numerous violation notices, some dating back five years. The City’s Code Compliance Bureau Chief, Steve Hunter had also issued an abatement order to Mr. Paul to clean up the property. When Mr. Paul failed to clean up the property, the City Department of Public Works cleaned the property at a cost of $6000 of taxpayer money, which the defendant ultimately reimbursed.
According to Fire Chief Michael Vatter, he and the rest of the code compliance team which includes the Code Compliance Bureau, the Fire Department, the Police Department, Department of Public Works, and Ms. Reis of the Corporation Counsel’s Office, are focusing on bringing absentee property owners who refuse to clean up their properties to court. Ms. Reis, a former Assistant District Attorney, intends to prosecute scofflaw property owners to the fullest extent of the applicable law.