East Hampton House Had 32 Occupants, Town Says

A warrant was executed at a house on Railroad Avenue, off Abraham's Path, in East Hampton shortly before 6 a.m. on Sunday. Christopher Walsh

East Hampton Town announced on Monday that 32 unrelated people were found to be occupying a single-family house at 38 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton, off Abraham's Path, after a search warrant was executed there on Sunday morning.

The East Hampton Town Police Department, along with the town's Ordinance Enforcement Department, building inspectors, and fire marshals, executed the warrant shortly after 6 a.m., according to a release issued by the town. Eighteen of the people at the house were sleeping on mattresses on the basement floor. 

The town code prohibits multifamily occupancy in single-family residences, as well as rental or occupancy of less than the entire residence. Language in the code also addresses overcrowding and excessive turnover.

Additional code violations included a gasoline generator and storage tank in the basement where the 18 occupants were sleeping, according to the release. Use of the generator could have created lethal levels of carbon monoxide, police said, and the basement was equipped with neither smoke nor carbon monoxide detectors. 

The town said the property's owner was Evan Davis of Jamaica, Queens. Mr. Davis, who was not at the property at the time the search warrant was executed, will be given an appearance ticket once he has been located, according to the statement from Town Hall. Braham Elorda was identified as the house's manager. He was issued an appearance ticket to appear in East Hampton Town's Justice Court. 

The majority of the occupants are not from East Hampton, according to the release, but are employed by local businesses. They told investigators that they pay Mr. Elorda between $100 and $150 per week in cash to live in the house. Some had just arrived to stay there, and others had been in residence for longer.

The multiple code violations could result in fines totaling tens of thousands of dollars, according to the release. 

"Overcrowded housing such as this not only places residents in dangerous conditions but poses a risk to public safety and the environment when septic systems are overtaxed, and diminishes the quality of life for others in neighborhoods designed for single-family residences," Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in the statement. "The town will continue to actively enforce our codes to ensure the safety of all our residents."

Execution of the warrant followed an investigation into the property initiated by the town's Ordinance Enforcement Department. The investigation is continuing.