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Improper-ty! McMansion has more than $100K in city fines!

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The owner of an ever-expanding Manhattan Beach McMansion has racked up more than $100,000 in violations for illegal contruction over the past eight years — and now the additions are intruding on neighbors’ property.

Michael Tropp, who lives on Norfolk Street between Shore and Oriental boulevards, didn’t bother to apply for a permit nine years ago when he connected two neighboring houses to make one huge home. He has since improved the house in numerous ways — all the while racking up fines for illegal work and ticking off his neighbors.

“His house is illegal and he’s out of his mind,” said Oriental Boulevard resident Flori Kostoff of the contentious property owner. “He’s building on other people’s property.”

On top of that, he hasn’t even paid most of his fines.

Most recently, Tropp was fined $25,000 in November for building a brick walkway between the two formerly separate homes. The city scheduled a hearing for Jan. 3, but Tropp didn’t show up, according to city records.

The city has also taken issue with his illegal raised wooden deck and above-ground pool, for which he was fined $4,000 last January.

“His back deck is sitting right above my fence,” said Susan Yellin, who lives behind Tropp on Oxford Street. Yellin added that Tropp even tore down her backyard’s fence to put up his own without permission.

Another Oxford Street dweller, Cy Schoenfeld also claims that Tropp’s two-story-high deck stretches eight inches into his backyard.

“It’s as if no one can stop him,” said Schoenfeld, whose backyard now faces Tropp’s construction site and a sign warning that he has the lot under 24-hour surveillance.

The city sure hasn’t been able to stop Tropp, but the Department of Buildings plans to keep fining him. And the agency may take him to criminal court if he doesn’t pay up, said spokeswoman Jennifer Gilbert.

Schoenfeld added that he and his neighbors want to take Tropp to civil court, and legal experts say that they might have a case.

“Neighbors can force the city to take action or sue in their own right.” said attorney Stuart Klein, who often represents Southern Brooklyn residents in building-related issues.

Tropp could not be reached for comment, but the woman who answered the phone at his house said that he would not be interviewed for the article.

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Reader Feedback

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Considering on-street parking is prohibited in the summer in this neighborhood, I think these entitled buffoons and their mini-castles all deserve each other. On the otherhand, I'm always shocked how toothless the Dept. of Buildings is.
Jan. 31, 2011, 5:14 pm
Michael from Park Slope says:
It really takes the saying "my house is your house" to new heights of absurdity. In any event, I'm always fascinated by the impotency of the Department of Buildings in such cases. They'll impose fines and demand that those fines be paid for the most trivial violations; if not, they'll call in the riot squad. However, when a maniacal expansionist (like Tropp) decides to build all over the place, this same department suddenly becomes grossly ineffectual.
Feb. 2, 2011, 5:44 pm
Sam from Bk says:
Just move to long island if you want a house like this.
Feb. 4, 2011, 6:32 pm
Tristan from Park Slope says:
So it turns out that Park Slope is not immune to the Mcmansion fever. The new owners of 627 3rd Street, Thomas Dolby ($$$$) and Andrew Frist, have decided to expand their beautiful early 20th century house into a Mcmansion. They are gutting the house, adding two floors down and a floor above the current roof.

The Slope's charm is its old houses and neighborly feeling. If they have so much money, why don't they just move to the suburbs or stay in their beautiful magazine style home in Long Island.
Nov. 11, 2011, 4 pm

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