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Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

St. Pete landlord pleads guilty to withholding lead-paint warning


Published:

A man once called a “problem landlord” by a St. Petersburg city council member has pleaded guilty to federal charges of failing to warn a tenant that lead paint was used on his property.

Michael Shimshoni, 56, of Tierra Verde, admitted Friday he did not provide a federally approved hazard brochure to a tenant in 2009, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Shimshoni faces a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison and a $25,000 fine for each day of the violation, the Justice Department said in a news release.

As part of a plea agreement, Shimshoni also agreed to pay $50,000 restitution to the Environmental Protection Agency before his Nov. 7 sentencing. That is to cover costs incurred by the EPA to remove and replace lead-contaminated soil at property.

According to court records, Shimshoni served as a property manager and lessor of properties through Pinellas Properties, Affordable Realty and Property Management and other entities.

As part of this business, Shimshoni leased various rental units at 1075 17th Ave N., prosecutors said. The property and rental units qualified as “target housing” under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Lead Hazard Reduction Act, and related federal laws and regulations.

Lessors must provide a federally approved lead warning statement to prospective tenants of target housing before the tenant is obligated under a lease, the Justice Department said.

In March, council member Darden Rice used Shimshoni as an example while proposing a city registry of “bad apple” landlords, those who repeatedly run afoul of city codes.

Her proposal called for preventing landlords on the list from applying for city incentives such as grants to improve properties.

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