Since Sharok Jacobi once again failed to show in Village of Great Neck court last Wednesday evening, Nov. 20, Judge Jon Mostel sentenced him “in absentia.” Jacob, who had been convicted of 17 potentially life-threatening violations of health fire and safety codes, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and ordered to pay $17,050 in fines. While Jacobi’s attorneys, who were at the court proceeding, will seek an appeal and a stay, the judge stated that if Jacobi does not return to the United States and surrender to the Nassau County Marshal’s office within 30 days, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest.
Should a stay be granted, the bench warrant cannot be issued.
A bench warrant would preclude Jacobi, who is currently in Tel Aviv, Israel, from freely entering the U.S. With a bench warrant, should he attempt to re-enter the U.S., he would be detained and arrested at the airport.
Jacobi was subsequently found guilty and sentenced as the owner of property at 127 Steamboat Road in the Village of Great Neck. According to the findings of the court, enumerated at the March 2012 court date, lives were at risk due to the violations of electrical, fire and housing codes. There were eight illegal apartments in the dwelling with one tenant in a locked closet. Insufficient light or ventilation and conditions that were described as “nearly uninhabitable” were found. Three small children were exposed to unsafe environmental conditions, including mold in the air and on the walls of the property.
At the March 2012 court hearing, Judge Mostel said he would sentence Jacobi to 15 days on seven counts, but would consider having them served concurrently in the event Jacobi corrected all the violations by June 13, 2012.
At the Oct. 16 court date, Jacobi failed to show. His attorneys, Simon Schwartz and Jeffrey Bitterman, announced that Jacobi had left the country. Mostel then said that Jacobi must appear in court on Nov. 20 or he would sentence scofflaw “in absentia.” At that time Dennis Fromigia, village building inspector, indicated that the violations had been mostly corrected by the June 2012 date, but then the building reverted to the original violations.
At the Nov. 20 hearing, following the attorneys’ lengthy arguments, Judge Mostel said that Jacobi’s sentence was for fines of $17,050 and 45 days in jail. If he doesn’t show, a bench warrant will be issued.