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Pre-Schoolers Exposed To Dangerous Conditions At Brooklyn Facility

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A scathing new report released Thursday by City Comptroller Bill Thompson finds that some pre-school students are being exposed to dangerous conditions at a Brooklyn athletic center.

"After looking at the pictures, I was just stunned, shocked and angry," said Thompson.

Members of Thompson's staff were doing an audit on the club, the Paerdegat Athletic Club in Canarsie, when the conditions were discovered. Thompson said the conditions were so disgusting his auditors did not want to return.

"After seeing these pictures, I must admit, I'm absolutely outraged that the Parks Department has allowed these incredibly disgusting and perilous conditions to exist," said Thompson. "The city should demand that the facilities be kept safe and clean. There is no excuse to allow conditions like this to exist, especially around our children."

Among the comptroller's findings were moldy mushroom patches growing around an indoor track, exposed electrical outlets in "toddler-packed" rooms, dangling electrical wires, and blocked fire exits. Auditors and engineers also found evidence of wall and ceiling water damage and mold.

"Many of these conditions were found in areas routinely used and designated for children," said Thompson.

Along with the gym, the facility has two half-day programs for children between the ages of two and five, as well as a day camp.

Some members of the club that spoke with NY1 were shocked by the findings, while others already had an idea of the bad conditions.

"If what I'm seeing on the paper exists inside the building, yeah, that's pretty bad," said one member, who was shown photos taken during the audit.

"It certainly would make me think twice about coming," said one member.

"It's just a mess. Not clean. I've been coming here for like 16 years, and it's gone from bad to worse," said another.

"I don't think these issues exist, but if they do exist and people are seeing it and have an issue with it, there are plenty of other gyms in the area," said a third. "I've been coming here for 15 years. I've never had a problem."

Thompson said his office has sent letters to the commissioners of the Buildings Department, Fire Department, Health Department, the Department of Children's Services, the Department of Education, and the Parks Department notifying them of the conditions.

The city-owned property is run by a company called Fitmar Management, LLC. The company's president, Richard Marshal, said he has heard from the city about six violations and that they all will be addressed immediately.

He went on to say: "We do run a very good facility. We have a couple of areas that need to be repaired and we are repairing them."

The Parks Department says it is reviewing the material submitted by the comptroller. Both the Parks and health departments have sent inspectors to the club.
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