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NYC’s ‘worst landlord’ gets punched in the face at Rikers: ‘God forgive me for laughing’

Resident cheered as the man dubbed the
Resident cheered as the man dubbed the

New York City’s so-called “worst landlord” was punched in the face and had to be briefly hospitalized within hours of being booked into Rikers Island on Friday.

And residents of Daniel Ohebshalom’s crumbling, rat-infested apartments can’t help but feel like he had it coming.

“I had to pay out of my pocket for the kitchen to be fixed because the rats were chewing their way in,” Nelly, a 37-year-old nurse who lives on the first floor of Ohebshalom’s building at 709 170th St., told The Post on Sunday.

“Him getting punched is karma … God forgive me for laughing!”

Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord,” has been jailed over his refusal to fix the squalid conditions in two buildings he owns in Washington Heights. Kevin Sheehan/NY Post
Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord,” has been jailed over his refusal to fix the squalid conditions in two buildings he owns in Washington Heights. Kevin Sheehan/NY Post

“He’s not a good person — he’s not nice, he’s a very crazy person,” added Yovanny Marte Lopez, 66, a 30-year resident of the same building.

“It’s good that this happened to him.”

Two other tenants — neither of whom spoke English — smiled broadly when a third resident explained in Spanish what happened to him. One even gave a thumbs-up.

A police source confirmed the Friday afternoon attack to The Post.

Sources told NBC New York that it doesn’t appear the unidentified inmate specifically targeted Ohebshalom, who may have broken some bones in his face, which led to a brief hospital stay.

Authorities brought him back to Rikers late Friday, the network said.

But regardless of motive, residents had no sympathy for him after enduring buildings that city housing officials say are rife with lead paint, roach infestations, blinking electricity and black mold, among other things.

Ohebshalom’s refusal to fix the nearly 700 open violations in his buildings at 705 and 709 170th St. have not only earned him the moniker of “worst landlord,” however.

They’ve also punched his ticket to a two-month vacation at Rikers and fines of more than $3 million, officials said earlier this month.

A resident named Nelly gave this photo to The Post that shows one of several holes in the kitchen wall of her first-floor apartment.
A resident named Nelly gave this photo to The Post that shows one of several holes in the kitchen wall of her first-floor apartment.
The squalid conditions are often dangerous to occupants — such as this ceiling that collapsed on a child’s bed at 709 W. 170th St. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association
The squalid conditions are often dangerous to occupants — such as this ceiling that collapsed on a child’s bed at 709 W. 170th St. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association

City officials secured a warrant for his arrest on March 8 for failing to comply with a February 2023 civil contempt finding.

“The reason we’re after this guy and his practices is because of the life people have been living there — it’s horrible,” Adolfo Carrión Jr., commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said at the time.

“People are dealing with mold, leaks, pests — rats and roaches — peeling paint, lead paint,” he added. “Their children are exposed, seniors are exposed. It’s time to stop this nonsense.”

Ohebshalom turned himself in on Thursday, according to authorities.

Carrion said it was justice being served.

Rat and roach infestations are also commonplace, city housing officials said. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association
Rat and roach infestations are also commonplace, city housing officials said. 709 West 170th Street Tenants Association
City housing officials secured a warrant for Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord,” earlier this month. He was arrested last week. WABC
City housing officials secured a warrant for Daniel Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s “worst landlord,” earlier this month. He was arrested last week. WABC

“Slumlords in New York City are officially on notice,” he crowed in the statement. “Landlords in New York City will not get away with putting our families in unsafe, unhealthy, and downright unlivable conditions.”

Several apartment dwellers told The Post they were thrilled to hear he was finally facing consequences.

“It’s been long overdue,” Sonia Peralta, a 73-year-old woman who has lived in 705 for the last 44 years, said shortly after the warrant was announced.

“He should have been arrested a long, long time ago.”

Her bathroom ceiling fell two years ago — which led to a shoddy patch job — and her walls are covered in soot from the broken boiler, she said.

Tenants of 705 and 709 W. 170th St. held a press conference to fight Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s worst landlord. Met Council On Housing
Tenants of 705 and 709 W. 170th St. held a press conference to fight Ohebshalom, the Big Apple’s worst landlord. Met Council On Housing
The conditions in the Washington Heights buildings are particularly horrific. WABC
The conditions in the Washington Heights buildings are particularly horrific. WABC

The heat and hot water fail constantly, rats and roaches have turned the building into a mini-motel and the broken lobby door lets homeless people in to wander around and shoot up, she added.

“We want to be treated like human beings,” Peralta said.

“We want to see him in jail for a long time.”

The city’s housing agency first took action against Ohebshalom in 2021 after its anti-harassment unit inspected and investigated the Washington Heights buildings, the statement said.

Last January, the city moved both buildings to its Alternative Enforcement Program — which helps officials enforce rules and hold owners accountable — so the city could make emergency repairs and address longstanding issues, according to the release.

It assessed more than $48,000 in fees against the property as the city agency did emergency work to fix leaks, remove mold and install self-closing doors.

Another photo obtained by The Post of a hole in a kitchen wall.
Another photo obtained by The Post of a hole in a kitchen wall.

But Ohebshalom failed to comply, leading to more litigation that included the housing agency’s request for contempt, jail time and civil penalties.

A housing court agreed, saying the landlord was in criminal and civil contempt of several court orders, consent orders and interim agreements.

The city is also pursuing legal action against Ohebshalom for squalid conditions in several other buildings, the agency said previously.

But that’s little comfort to some, who are still living in abysmal conditions.

Another hole in the same kitchen wall. Hicks/Fenton/Janoski
Another hole in the same kitchen wall. Hicks/Fenton/Janoski

“I have two children and my daughter is pregnant,” Lopez told The Post.

“My mom is 86, and it is very cold,” she continued. “We have no heat and no hot water, so no showers and no cleaning. One week and still no hot water! It’s very hard.”

Steve Lenis, a 45-year-old city sanitation worker who lives in the building, said Ohebshalom’s arrest was “a good start,” but echoed Lopez’s concerns about the residents’ welfare.

“OK, he went to jail, but what about us?” Lenis said, adding that the broken boiler means he can’t give his cancer-stricken, 81-year-old mother a bath.

“I’m afraid that because he’s in jail, they’re going to think he’s being held accountable — and nothing is going to happen,” he continued.

“It doesn’t help my mother, who doesn’t have any heat. They’re not fixing anything.”