Woman wrongfully fined $259K for neighbor's violations in Brooklyn

EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A Brooklyn homeowner was on the hook for more than a quarter of a million dollars in fines owed to NYC, but there's one big catch: all the violations should have been sent to her next-door neighbor.

It's a problem she's fought since her father died and left her the house decades ago.

Nina Pineda and 7 On Your side stepped in to help solve the nightmare.

Margaret Wilson inherited the row house from her late dad, Rubert, 20 years ago. Since then, she has also inherited a mountain of violation notices from the city.

The pile of penalties range from minor - unpaid sanitation fines -- to major, like a $60,000 fine for an illegal dwelling and a partial vacate order.

In total, the violations added up to $259,000. But the problem was every violation is actually for the house next door: 470 Linwood Avenue.

Wilson only owns 466 Linwood Avenue. But she says when she tells the city it's not her house, they say when they pull it up in the computer that 470 Linwood Avenue belongs to her.



The city doesn't go by the name on the deed to determine ownership. It goes by block and lot numbers, which are identical on both deeds.

The block numbers should be the same, but the lot numbers should be different.

Wilson's only hope is to change the lot number by subdividing the two properties. So she hired an architect to file the paperwork.

"The Department of Buildings and the Department of Finance are not communicating so they keep disapproving it," she said.

7 On Your Side alerted both buildings and finance departments who started working with Wilson to sub-divide the lots.

And finally, about two months later, her name was taken off her neighbor's property -- and $259,000 in violations were dismissed.

The fruit of her father's hard work and her inheritance was finally free and clear.

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