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New York City Hits Sandy Victims With ‘Failure To Maintain’ Property Citation

And What's More, The Tree Causing All The Fuss Was City's Responsibility
A Queens family that had its house damaged by Hurricane Sandy says it received a "failure to maintain property" citation from the city. The problem is the tree that landed on their home was the city's property. (Photo: handout)

A Queens family that had its house damaged by Hurricane Sandy says it received a “failure to maintain property” citation from the city. The problem is the tree that landed on their home was the city’s property. (Photo: handout)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents in one Queens neighborhood are crying foul after they were written up for failing to clean up the city’s own mess. It is yet another new complication in life after Superstorm Sandy.

Rosanne and Joe Cavaliere are still trying to clean up from the hurricane.

They have branches through their roof, busted front windows, and, to add insult to injury, they recently received a citation notice from the city.

“It makes me angry, but it’s also ridiculous!” Rosanne Cavaliere told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider.

They got it on Nov. 9, cited with “failure to maintain” their property.

But as they pointed out to CBS 2’s Schneider on Tuesday night, it’s a city tree that they were waiting for the city to remove.

“It was over two weeks before someone came and removed it from the house, and we were patient enough with that, but then to just be slapped with a violation,” Joe Cavaliere said.

The Department of Buildings said the citation is a mere formality. It’s a way to keep track of all downed trees.

But for people in this neighborhood…it’s a permanent mark on their property that they want removed from the records.

“They’re not only upset, but they’re insulted. And they’re nervous! They don’t know what’s going to happen as a result of having this violation,” said Elaine Young of the local neighborhood association.

The Department of Buildings released the following statement: “We have been working closely with property owners as they prepare to rebuild, and part of our process is documenting the damage that has occurred. These violations do not carry any monetary penalties, and if any homeowner has a question, please call 311.”

But that explanation didn’t fly with the Cavalieres.

“I want the violation off my house, off my record, and all of our neighbors,” Rosanne Cavaliere said.

The Department of Buildings said, for the now, the citations will stand, but the Cavalieres said they’ll continue to fight to get them removed.

State lawmakers have sent letters to the Department of Buildings commissioner demanding the violations be withdrawn.

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