SI Man Who Used Build it Back Program Says His Home is Plagued by Problems Despite More Than $300K in Repairs

The city's Build it Back program to repair and storm-proof homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy has come under fire for being over budget and over deadline. Now, a Staten Island man is joining the criticism, saying his home is plagued by problems despite more than $300,000 in repairs. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report. 

This is Vladimir Libkind's home after $381,000 in taxpayer-funded repairs. There is no sign of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and the home now sits on new cement piles to protect it against future storm surges.

At first glance, it appears almost like new. But Libkind says looks can be deceiving.

"My corners, not straight. House is not straight," he said. "If you look at any house around, neighborhood, they have straight, straight." 

Look carefully, and it becomes clear what Libkind is talking about. In many places, the lines and angles of the building appear off, like where some siding meets an edge of the house.

Build it Back, the city's storm rebuilding agency, began work on Libkind's home in September 2014. After he moved back in almost a year later, a contractor working nearby told him the sides and edges of the home were not in alignment.

Contractors NY1 spoke with off camera say imperfect corners could be a cosmetic issue, or they could signal a serious structural problem.

"Lousy and unprofessional work," Libkind said.

There are problems inside, too. Most concerning is that a level shows the floor is uneven. 

Libkind's also had plumbing issues, then no hot water, then no cold water, then discovered the home lacked a layer of  fireproofing beneath the ground floor.. 

Build It Back says it addressed the plumbing and fireproofing problems but was not aware of any structural problems.

The agency assumes responsibility for any defect that emerges within a year of the final inspection of repair work. After that, any problems that come up are the residents' problem. And that leaves Libkind just about out of time to get the city to repair any structural defects that exist. 

Build it Back says he can still report the issue and an inspector will be sent out to see if more work is necessary. If it is, this would not be the first Build it Back home that needed repairs to the repairs.

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