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June 10, 2006 / Brooklyn news / Development / Around Brooklyn

Man arrested, but law’s heat is still on Guttman

The Brooklyn Paper
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A homeless man was arrested this week for starting the massive fire that devastated a series of warehouses along the rapidly developing Greenpoint waterfront.

The arrest of Leszek Kuczera, 59, takes some — but not all — of the heat off building owner Joshua Guttman, whom many suspected had a role in the fire.

This week, District Attorney Charles Hynes hit Guttman and his son Jack, with 434 counts of failure to maintain property, one count for each day that the Guttmans failed to make repairs ordered by the city, Hynes said.

According to police, the May 2 Greenpoint fire started when Kuczera and another man tried to burn the insulation off copper wiring from the mostly abandoned structures. The buildings burned down in a fantastic blaze that raged for several days.

Other Guttman buildings have been damanged by fires, including a 2004 blaze that gutted 247 Water St., a now-vacant structure in DUMBO.

Unlike the Greenpoint fire, though, such blazes have not been solved. The Greenpoint Market, like Guttman’s building on Water Street, is slated for a lucrative redevelopment.

Guttman’s office refused to comment.

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