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.