Merchant’s House Hotel Reps Have Criminal Past

Posted on: June 8th, 2012 at 6:28 am by

Neighborhood preservationists and advocates of the Merchant’s House Museum have a new arrow in the quiver of opposition toward the proposed nine-story hotel next door. A structure that would likely disable the vulnerable treasure at 27 East 4th Street. Apparently two representatives of the controversial project – Edward Carroll and Constantine Fotos – served time in the past for federal crimes. The Villager has the scoop in this week’s issue of the paper.

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Carroll was convicted for obstructing justice and “misleading a grand jury in 2002 during a federal corruption case against a business associate involved in elevator contracts for the M.T.A. headquarters.” He served five months in prison, in addition to two years of supervised release and five months of home confinement.

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His partner in the hotel project, Fotos, pleaded guilty to illegally removing asbestos from the construction site at 13-25 Astor Place back in 2005. If that wasn’t enough, he was also found guilty of misleading a federal OSHA investigation into the incident. Punishment for both crimes included one year in jail and two years of supervised release.

A Landmarks hearing on the project, which had been scheduled for June 5, was laid over until Tues., June 19. The L.P.C. does not enquire into the criminal record of applicants. In addition to L.P.C. approval, the hotel project would also require a zoning variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals, a process that could take a year or longer.

The Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee held a hearing on the project on April 30 at which Fotos and Carroll made a presentation and nobody appeared in opposition. The committee voted approval, but a day or two later, preservation advocates, along with Gardener and Nick Nicholson, chairperson of The Merchant’s House Museum board of trustees, protested they hadn’t known about the meeting.

Should these onetime criminals be allowed to construct such a damaging building on the Lower East Side?

[via The Villager]

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