hockejos

There are at least a dozen cameras between these houses.

John Hockenjos successfully won his freedom after fighting a false arrest in 2011, but he remains mired in a legal battle that threatens to see his property turned over to what he says is an unscrupulous developer. This month, a Queens-based state senator joined the battle, saying Hockenjos is another in a long line of victims of malfeasance and incompetence at the Department of Buildings.

Hockenjos and his wife, Irina, have been fighting with their East 23rd Street neighbors Elen and Argo Paumere since June 2009, when the Paumeres purchased the home next to them with plans for an ambitious overhaul. According to the Hockenjoses, red flags flew fast when they were approached to sign documents turning over a two-foot easement to their new neighbor.

They didn’t sign, and that triggered an all-out war between property owners, according to the Hockenjoses, which includes allegations of physical violence, corruption and even involvement in the false arrest. It has also cost them their jobs, their health, and more than $150,000 in legal fees, they say.

“We’re jobless. We’re money-less. Our health was destroyed tremendously. We lost our reputation,” Irina Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “[The neighbors say] we’re criminals in all kind of ways. We’ve sued them in civil court because they’ve said we’re insane, and that John is a Russian mobster and he walks naked in the street.”

Signs of distrust are apparent when walking past the houses. Both homes have numerous cameras pointed at each other and warnings of surveillance systems. (It was these same cameras that provided the evidence of the false arrest, securing John Hockenjos’ freedom.)

Hockenjos alleges that the Paumeres have taken the fight to the streets, claiming that his wife was assaulted and they’ve vandalized the property. He also claims that the neighbors have filed false complaints to various city agencies, harassing them with inspections.

Video of Hockenjos pulling into the driveway and being arrested.

Among the allegations is that Argo Paumere is the one that summoned police the day of his false arrest in 2011. Cops busted him while he unloaded groceries from his car and charged him with attempting to run over the officers, a charge that was tossed when surveillance video contradicted it (the officer was later jailed for the false arrest, but only for one night; less than the amount of time Hockenjos spent behind bars). Hockenjos said Argo Paumere signed the police report, serving as a witness to the attempted murder by vehicle of the officer.

Hockenjos also showed Sheepshead Bites the photos below, which he said is the neighbors spray-painting the Hockenjos’ driveway, as well as a crude message for them:

paumere

They’ve set up a website to document what they claim are the legal transgressions of their neighbors, and have obtained a restraining order against the Paumeres from interfering with their property.

The two say they’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of the ordeal, and the time they’ve been forced to take off of work to defend their property cost them their jobs.

“I’m not blind to the fact of what they’re doing to me and my wife. My wife was tortured by these inspectors who came here, literally threatening that her property would be turned over to this developer,” said John Hockenjos. “I just don’t understand why this person is not in jail. This is very serious stuff they’ve done.”

The root of the tension is the size of the construction and the two-foot easement that separates their properties.

According to the Hockenjoses, when the neighbor failed to win their approval of the property transfer, they went and created a fraudulent land survey that marked a chunk of the driveway as theirs. They submitted it with the construction plans to the Department of Buildings, which approved it without question, they said.

Despite their protests to the agency, the department insisted the dispute was a civil matter and not any of its business.

They attempted to turn to local elected officials, but received no help. And headlines of corruption scandals added to their skepticism.

“Our [state] senator, [Carl] Kruger, was taken by the FBI [and convicted of bribery],” said Irina. “Then David Storobin who came after him was dismissed as a senator and he was gone [because of redistricting]. Then we went to John Sampson but [it was revealed] he was being investigated by the FBI. So we have no senator to go to.”

That’s when they learned about Queens-based State Senator Tony Avella, a frequent foe of the Department of Buildings who has spent years pushing reform at the agency in the State Senate and, before that, the City Council.

Avella joined the couple for a press conference on November 21, protesting what he alleges is possible illegal construction and the potentially fraudulent claim to the property laid by the neighbors.

Avella told Sheepshead Bites that the problems the Hockenjoses face is part of a long-standing pattern of corruption and incompetence at the DOB.

“It’s something that’s a bottom line issue with the DOB where an applicant just presents an application and they never really check it to see if the size of the property is correct, or whether they own the property or not. The builder says they own part of the property that’s actually the neighbor’s, and the DOB approves it,” he said. “It’s a very serious issue. Anyone can submit a false application, fraudulent documents and fraudulent land surveys, and no one checks it.”

The state senator says it’s largely due to the fact that the DOB is tasked with promoting development while also overseeing the developers.

“The mission of the agency is conflicting. The mission is not only to monitor construction and ensure building maintenance throughout the city, but also to encourage development throughout the city,” he explained. “It’s a problem; you’ve got to work with the guy, sit across the table from the guy that you’re supposed to be overseeing. And until you resolve that conflict you’re always going to have these problems.”

He said the Hockenjoses are not alone. He’s currently helping Bronx residents battle a developer who he says also submitted fraudulent documents claiming property that they don’t own.

According to both Avella and the Hockenjoses, the DOB’s modus operandi when they receive complaints about fraudulent documents is to wash its hands of the problem and declare it a property dispute to be handled in civil court.

“When there is a dispute, where is the DOB? They should be analyzing it. But rather than that, they say it’s a private building and they’d rather not get involved [referring it to the civil court],” Avella said.

That comes with its own set of problems. The Hockenjoses have gone through lawyer after lawyer, some of which they say took their money and never did any work. Others have refused to take the case because it appears to exist in a sort of legal no-man’s-land.

“They’re saying I’m not going to take this case because it’s not a real estate case, it’s not a property dispute case, it’s a criminal case. And we go to criminal attorneys and they tell us we need to go to prosecutors. And the prosecutors say it’s a civil case,” said Irina Hockenjos.

After much work, the couple has received some relief from the DOB. They say the Brooklyn department rejected their objections outright. They then went up the ladder to the Manhattan department, where the neighbor’s documents were reviewed. The approval was eventually overturned, Hockenjos said, and three later amendments to the plans were rejected. Ultimately, the city issued violations and a stop work order, and even found additional problems such as building the home larger than zoning allows, Hockenjos said.

“When [the Manhattan DOB] saw it they went crazy, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” he said. “They can’t complete construction. They’re in limbo. They can’t finish the job because it’s so illegal that they either tear it down or they partially tear it down and fix what’s wrong with it. They violated the zoning codes and the building codes and our property rights so much that they have to fix it.”

But problems remain in court. The couple is currently waiting for a decision on ownership of the driveway between the homes, on which the neighbor would like to build an addition in the rear of the house with doors that open past the easement.

According to the Hockenjoses, the neighbor is demanding that the driveway be turned over to him, a claim which leaves them baffled.

“The fact that he bought property next to us doesn’t mean he has the right to dispute our property. If he had inherited our property or owned it before us or had averse possession for 10 years, he could make a property dispute,” said Irina. “But there’s no civil legal reason for him to dispute it with us or for him to get it. Even in the case he filed against us, there’s no law mentioned. It’s supposed to say such and such a law, but there was no law mentioned, ever.”

“Every time he does something fraudulent or wrong, all of a sudden the burden falls on us to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to prove that he did this,” John Hockenjos agreed. “And the burden should not be on me, it should be on him.”

Phone calls to the Paumeres for comment were not returned by the time of this publication.

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  • bagles

    I feel so bad for this couple. I thought the property owner’s deed was a legal document and it should trump any other “documents” falsely presented to the DOB. It’s mind boggling that this little shit, Paumeres, thinks he can literally take a piece of someone’s property. What the hell is he thinking?

    • nolastname

      Yes, Parumeras like to many developers do look to take advantage. Big time/small time if you are next to major construction get out the property survey. My parents new neighbors had a full understanding of their property line and wanted to put up a fence that would have consumed 1X40′–(that’s feet). It may be small time in property somewhere else but not here. They didn’t see it as a big deal…..LOL

    • Kriston Lewis

      Somebody has to be getting $$ to look the other way. Doesn’t make sense.

    • Rostyslav Kostoglodov

      He is not thinking but just acting accordingly to thoroughly polished “flimflam lottery”. This couple is not the first and not the last one and actually ANYONE can become under this “road roller” at any moment. This is definitely not “just a neighbors” but a HIGH LEVEL MAFIA which includes police, judges, DOB officers etc. Why it happens? Because we stay indifferent to what is going on around us. Corruption of authorities is directly proportional to our indifference and ignorance!

  • Murry

    Years of these folks lives wasted, fighting over a piece of property, the width of a grave.

    • bagels

      I don’t understand. Are you saying they should just hand over their property on demand?

      • Murry

        No bagels you didn’t understand. I referred to them as ‘these’ folks. I don’t know what the answer is, nor am I giving advice.

        • bobfairlane

          The original residents should oppose the newcomers, as much for being rotten bastards, as for the illegal bureaucratic maneuvering and the vandalism.

  • a good neighbor

    is that a private driveway with easement for the neighbor to get to the side door of their house?

    either way, i would just sell this house and move to marine park where neighbors are much nicer. :) at least i did.

    • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

      Yes, according to the Hockenjoses it’s a private driveway with an easement to the side door. They say the neighbor attempted to add to the house in such a way as to reduce access to the easement.

  • http://www.mybrooklyn.com/ MyBrooklyn

    I really hope Mr.Hockenjoses sue pigs to the last penny….referring to his false arrest.

  • anon

    What was he doing going back and forth over 10 tens with those F’in grocery bags. Very annoying.

  • Truthexposing

    Unfortunately, Paumeres do not want 2 feet x 100 feet which would also not be acceptable but Paumere wants all Hockenjos’ land and demands from the court Hockenjos’ be restrained forever from Hockenjos’ own private driveway and back yard, remove Hockenjos’ cars and fence leading to Hockenjos’ backyard for Paumeres use, occupancy and enjoyment. This picture shows Paumere have their own private driveway and backyard on the left side of Paumeres house which they use to park their own car but they want to expand the lot they bought making it almost double by taking Hockenjos’ lot and demanding $ 1.5 million on top of Hockenjos’ land… and behind all of it severe corruption at the Department of Buildings and State Supreme Court by judge Larry D. Martin named as corrupted by the Daily News in the Article: Weed out the bad judges: More resources will help nail corrupt judges By Errol Louis / DAILY NEWS OPINION COLUMNIST Tuesday, March 16, 2010

  • Truthexposing

    Unfortunately, Paumeres want much more then just 2 feet x 100 feet which would also not be acceptable but Paumeres want all Hockenjos’ land and demands from the court Hockenjos’ be restrained forever from Hockenjos’ own private driveway and back yard, remove Hockenjos’ cars and fence leading to Hockenjos’ backyard for Paumeres use, occupancy and enjoyment. Many pictures exist to show that Paumeres have their own private driveway and backyard on the left side of Paumeres house which they use to park their own car but Paumeres want to expand the lot they bought by taking Hockenjos’ driveway 8,5 feet x100 feet and Hockenjos’ backyard making Paumeres lot almost double by taking over Hockenjos’ lot and demanding $ 1.5 million on top of Hockenjos’ land… Behind all of it severe corruption at the Department of Buildings and State Supreme Court by judge Larry D. Martin named as corrupted by the Daily News in the Article: Weed out the bad judges: More resources will help nail corrupt judges By Errol Louis / DAILY NEWS OPINION COLUMNIST Tuesday, March 16, 2010
    To call Paumeres as “the neighbors” is impossible because no neighbors capable or would be agree or able to extort adjoining real property that worth hundreds of thousands of dollars! Extortions of real properties always was and is priority of organized crime which is very dangerous , has corrupted connections and used special tactics for example that “accuse the accuser” when the Victims is framed as attackers, criminals. It is like the wolf will be stating that he is afraid of the rabbit. Thinking that Hockenjos’ dealing with “the neighbors” may lead to the situation when the Hockenjos’ can lose not only the property, money but life’s!
    Law enforcement must stop all demands of the Hockenjos’ property in Hockenjos’ deed and false accusations of the Hockenjos’!

  • walter

    I would’ve just moved out

  • marks

    i’d like to hear a full side of Paumeres’s story. I seem to hear only one side of the story, by and large. I’m not making any snap judgments based on one side of the story.

    • levp

      They had (and still have, I’d imagine) an opportunity to present their side, but, alas:

      Phone calls to the Paumeres for comment were not returned by the time of this publication.

    • Truthexposing

      Now if even Paumeres continue “accuse the accuser” tactics against the Hockenjos’ as as they done till today and put possible and impossible dirt and false accusations on the Hockenjos’ even a child understands that it is not the “neighbors” controlling NYPD and ordered Hockenjos’ false arrest, imprisonment for 7 years. It is not Paumeres themselves approving illegal construction same way to take over the Hockenjos’ property but Paumeres found very powerful corrupted connections that permitting to destroy the Hockenjos’ and get all Hockenjos’ own being stolen-extorted to Paumeres private gain! According to NY Penal law Art 155.00 it is Grand Larceny. But crime is not getting stopped or punished at all. Even Presidents of U.S. getting investigated but this case and similar case with another family which is like the Hockenjos’ getting extorted the same way by Department of Buildings, NYPD and State Court not getting protected by any law enforcements. It is significant and very dangerous for targeted families! This case is not between powerful above the law Estonian Emigrants Paumeres and U. S. born John Hockenjos who have no basic Human Rights, no Constitutional Rights, no Civil Rights, but between innocent homeowners and severely corrupted NYC Administration that delivering extortions of real property, life savings to people who agree to be part of extortion-stealing and unlawful gain recipients which is clearly not innocent
      “neighborly” actions.

  • RKramden

    Having to live next to your worst enemies must be terrible.

  • pacman925

    You guys, I am 55 yrs old & I have been through dozens of legal transactions. I totally understand of what the homeowners are going through ! Way too many government officials will use their side of the law, & stomp on the other american citizens. Our constitutional rights apply to the one’s with the most power & money !
    Including one time, a woman & I was arguing, she was trying to steal $3000 from me. I demanded that she give my money back…yes, we both was yelling at each other….she grabbed a knife & was trying to stab me !! I grabbed it & threw it on the floor. BUT, by of whom she was…a police officer came & arrested me & I was in jail for 30 days…until my attorney got me out of jail && finally…I got my money back !! Interesting that, she got zero legal charges at all ! it happens all the time, including partial judges & police officers !

  • levp

    False statements, vandalism – and that’s just the proven portion. Nice going for a police officer! Or, maybe just par for the course…

  • Truthexposing

    If NYC Department of Buildings acting just like a Mafia or worse then a Mafia?

    As a reply on suggestions to the Hockenjos’
    to “move out”- the answer is that it is impossible.
    Impossible because if the Hockenjos’ move out -they must live
    on the Street because during extortion Hockenjos’ become jobless and penniless
    due to organized crime against them. Jobs lost not just due to the Courts
    but due to the crimes against the Hockenjos’. All life savings is gone by set
    up corrupted NYC Officials hiding behind Paumeres. Paumeres and corrupted
    behind Paumeres would love Paumeres to be called just a
    “neighbors”! But please, be realistic, it is not a secret that only
    organized crime and corruption has power to use City Agencies, NYPD and State
    Courts to commit extortions-stealing successfully. Regular people
    “the neighbors” cannot possibly even think to commit extortions of hundreds
    of thousand dollars’ worth real property and not end up in Jail for life
    time. “Neighbors” cannot possibly order to commit crimes to law
    enforcements, DOB, Civil, Criminal Courts! We want to
    point that Hockenjos’ house that is heavily in corrupted Courts
    cannot be sold for real price but almost for nothing if could be sold at
    all… Practically Hockenjos’ must sell for very low price to pay off
    the mortgages and walk away on the Street without a dime.. That what was
    the plan of corrupted from the beginning. Department of Buildings workers
    openly ordered to the Hockenjos’ to give to Paumeres” as a gift”
    Hockenjos’ driveway and Hockenjos’ back yard -all the land that Hockenjos’
    have! Is it “Paumeres family” doings or corrupted Officials deep
    involvement? It is a great doubt that Paumeres are “the family”
    and it is reason for that, but it is clear that Paumeres cannot possibly get
    extortion done by themselves! Argo Paumere proud to inform Supreme Civil
    Court that despite full stop work order on his construction he got no fees to
    pay! Paumere almost finished construction during full stop work order! Who
    would be permitted to do so?! Also Paumeres were approved to build by
    taking Hockenjos’ land over 4(!) times meaning that Department of Buildings is
    severely corrupt! If you would be a witness of never happened crimes like
    Paumere and police officers who were putting innocent Hockenjos’ in jail done
    -would you be a free Man? The answer is no. You would of be in jail for
    decades! Argo Paumere and police officers get away from any punishment as
    political favor! Do you or your neighbors have this kind of power? Absolutely
    not! John Hockenjos’ has no power even to protect his only home, his
    survival being naturally born U.S. Citizen but Emigrant s Paumeres from
    small Estonian Village have unconditional power! How that possible? Only one
    way -corrupted NYC Administration has unconditional power in the City of NY-
    that is the horrible truth! So, it is not “the
    neighbors” by themselves but by NYC powerful corrupted Officials openly
    destroying the Hockenjos’ abusing power of Authority.

    Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri was appointed without professional license not without a reason as this story is demonstrating!

    Now if even Paumeres continue “accuse the accuser” tactics against the Hockenjos’as as they done till today and put possible and impossible dirt and false accusations on the Hockenjos’ even a child understands that it is not the
    “neighbors” controlling NYPD and ordered Hockenjos’ false arrest,
    imprisonment for 7 years. It is not Paumeres themselves approving illegal
    construction same way to take over the Hockenjos’ property but Paumeres
    found very powerful corrupted connections that permitting to destroy the
    Hockenjos’ and get all Hockenjos’ own being stolen-extorted to
    Paumeres private gain! According to NY Penal law Art 155.00 it is Grand
    Larceny. But crime is not getting stopped or punished at all.
    Even Presidents of U.S. getting investigated but this case and similar case
    with another family which is like the Hockenjos’ getting extorted the
    same way by Department of Buildings, NYPD and State Court not
    getting protected by any law enforcements. It is significant and very
    dangerous for targeted families! This case is not between powerful above the law Estonian Emigrants Paumeres and U. S. born John Hockenjos who have no basic Human Rights, no Constitutional Rights, no Civil Rights, but between innocent homeowners and severely corrupted NYC Administration that delivering extortions of real property, life savings to people who agree to be part of extortion-stealing and unlawful gain recipients which is clearly not innocent
    “neighborly” actions.

  • nyckat

    Let me move into the Hockenjo’s home for a few month- I promise to leave it in pristine shape and make the jerk neighbors run for the hills! Nothing an animal rescuer can take care of! Lots of barking and biker friends rev em up- move em out! what jerks! Get a few big ole pit bulls guys leave them in YOUR private fenced yard- oh yeah fence in YOUR drive way too!

    • thefinalstand

      If anyone reading this is as incensed as I am and can afford it, perhaps they could make a cash donation to the Hockenjos. We are seriously considering it.

  • bodica

    Ari Kalimian got off a flight from Iran in the seventies, bought my late husband’s apartment building and proceeded to systematically destroy it in order to quadruple the number of tenants.
    He gave toy thermometers to elderly tenants to tell them they were only ‘imagining’ the heat was turned off.
    He’s now one of the largest slumlords in Manhattan, and his ‘pitbull’ lawyer is now a judge on Manhattan’s Housing Court – God help tenants seeking redress! Corruption, Corruption, Corruption! Building Inspectors did squat… Hah!

    It’s outrageous that this lovely couple should be fighting for their home instead of enjoying their golden years! Perhaps they should sell their home – to an anti social lawyer with a collection of pit bulls and go somewhere pleasant. Noo Yawk aint’ fit for ‘human consumption’ any more! It’s corrupt, lawless and dangerous – and devoid of personality, something like Bloomberg (the devoid of personality bit!)

  • Pingback: After Fighting For Freedom From False Arrest, Sheepshead Man Battles To Keep His Property | NY STATE SUPREME COURT KINGS COUNTY JUDGE LARRY D. MARTIN OPENLY BREAKING THE LAWS AGAIN BY RULLING TO FINALIZE STEALING - EXTORTION UNDER COLOR OF LAW HOCKENJOS