Salt City Lead Hazard: Syracuse Landlord Can No Longer Own/Manage Rental Properties
A Syracuse-area landlord has been evicted by the New York State office of the Attorney General.
Landlord John Kiggins and his company Endzone Properties Inc. are permanently banned from managing or owning residential rental properties anywhere in the state of New York, according to a settlement agreement announced by AG Letita James on Monday.
The outcome follows a lawsuit brought against Kiggins and his company claiming that he repeatedly endangered the health of tenants, especially children, violating laws regarding lead paint in homes and for failing to address related hazards.
At least 18 children living at 17 different properties owned or managed by Endzone experienced lead poisoning, James said.
A probe of the lead exposure and poisoning came after a 2020 investigation that found at least 32 of approximately 90 properties owned by Endzone had been flagged by the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County for chipping, peeling, and deteriorating paint, along with 'other conditions' conducive to lead poisoning, the OAG's office said.
“Lead paint exposure is a dangerous scourge on New York’s communities that disproportionately impacts our Black and brown children,” James said in a news release announcing the settlement. “All too often, unprincipled landlords like Endzone disregard their duty to ensure their properties are free of lead hazards and its harms. I am holding Endzone fully accountable for their deplorable and illegal actions, and I will continue to use the full force of my office to uphold the laws that protect our children from lead poisoning.”
Of the 89 properties Kiggins and Endzone were involved with, all have either been sold or are under new management, James said.
For those who are not aware of the hazards surrounding lead poisoning, especially in children, the OAG summarized the dangers this way:
Lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause serious and irreversible adverse health effects. Children who have been exposed to even very low levels of lead are at risk for neurological and physical problems during critical stages of early development. In fact, no safe lead level in children has been identified. Children under the age of 6 are more likely to be exposed to lead than any other age group, as their normal behaviors could result in them chewing lead paint chips; breathing in or swallowing dust from old lead paint that gets on floors, windowsills, and hands; and lead can be found in soil, toys, and other consumer products.
While lead poisoning is a risk for children everywhere, statistics provided by the OAG show that 87% off all lead poisoned children in Onondaga County since 2012 were from Syracuse.