NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A house owned by New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll, listed for sale in 2013 but taken off the market at the end of the year, appears to have had work done without proper building permits. Some of the work was done by Mauro Zonzini, a City contractor with close personal connections to Carroll.
Online property and real estate records show that Carroll and his wife purchased 1 Melrose Drive in 2007 for $1,125,000. The property was listed for sale last April for $1,299,000. The price was later dropped to $1,250,000 and then taken off the market on in December.
A review of building records for 1 Melrose Drive, obtained under a Freedom of Information request, shows a Building Permit for a new lower deck at ground level, a hot tub, and new stairs leading to an upper deck.
The standard conditions for a building permit in New Rochelle apply:
- All work shall be executed in strict compliance with the permit application, approved plans, and the New Rochelle Zoning Code, New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, and all other applicable laws, rules and regulations.
- Construction must begin within 90 days of date of permit Issuance. The work shall not be suspended or abandoned for a period of 6 months. Otherwise, the building permit will be rendered null and void.
- Revisions to the work which deviate from the stamp approved plans shall be submitted to the Bureau of Buildings for approval before the changes are made.
- Electrical and Plumbing Permits must be filed under a separate application.
4/16/2008 BP-2008-0171 “new lower deck @ ground level and hot tub, new stair to upper deck”
Amendment to BP-2008-0171 for “shed” 8’ X 7” prefab
The documents raise several questions.
There is no date on the amendment document. The shed pictured on the property with weathered siding indicated the shed pre-existed BP-2008-0171. So why was this not legalized with a penalty?
Application for CO 10/25/2010. CO issued 11/4/2010
The documents raise several additional questions.
Why did it take 2 years and 7 months to build a deck and hot tub? Was an extension granted? If so, where is the documentation? Why is there no documentation on the hot tub itself? Why is there no brochure, brand, UL or size (2-4-6 person)?
More significantly, there are no plumbing or electrical permits. Why not?
There was a great deal of activity during an eight day period in the month of April 2008 where a lot of things seemed to happen all at once. There is a receipt for $246.20 dated April 8, 2008. The DPW sign-off is dated April 8, 2008. BP-2008-0171 is dated April 16, 2008 and approved on April 16, 2008 (so plans were submitted, reviewed and approved the same day).
It appears that there is no cost differential from the original plan and what was actually built in the Affidavit of Construction - despite the $800 shed amendment and possibly additional work.
First, the "As Built" site plan shows “new upper deck” which is not indicated on BP-2008-0171 which called only for a “new lower deck @ ground level”. There is no amendment for a new upper deck.
Second, the "As Built" site plan shows a driveway with the left edge flush with the North side of the house (the garage). The driveway appears to have been significantly widened, the area connecting the driveway to the public street widened by about double, additional widening with Belgian blocks edging the driveway and, most noticeably, the addition of a driveway turnaround area which extends about 15 feet past the North side of the house. The non-permeable surface of the front of the property has been increased significantly without a permit.
Not mentioned in any of the building department documents is the addition of a waterfall and coy pond.
In the backyard there is a small stream, created with an electrical pump moving the water up a hill which then flows down over stones and masonry works placed on the hill and into a stone and masonry works pond.
It is possible that the size and water volume of the waterfall/pond did not require a plumbing permit but likely did require an electrical permit. There is no such permit on file. In fact, there is no record of the construction of the waterfall/pond at all.
The work involved on the driveway, the waterfall and the coy pond -- all done without permits -- require a knowledge of plumbing and masonry work.
For many years Mauro Zonzini owned two companies, Zonzini Pipeline and Zonzini Masonry, both long-time contractors for the City of New Rochelle and the City School District of New Rochelle that do plumbing and masonry work.
Mauro Zonzini recently had his house in Mamaroneck on the market. The backyard features a waterfall and a coy pond built in a style similar to the less grandiose waterfall and coy pond built in the back of Police Commissioner Carroll's house.
Sources tell Talk of the Sound that Carroll was a regular visitor at Zonzini's house and expressed his admiration for the waterfall and coy pond and that it was Mauro Zonzini would designed and built the waterfall and coy pond at 1 Melrose Drive.
Mauro Zonzini is already well-known to Talk of the Sound readers following our six-part series detailing Zonzini's arrest in Rye, NY for impersonating a police officer, his connections to Police Commissioner Carroll and his seemingly contradictory hatred for police officers. Zonzini served for 15 years as a Director of the New Rochelle Police Foundation and was Vice President of the New Rochelle Police Advisory Board.
Zonzini is also a long-time contractor for the New Rochelle Board of Education. The full extent of his questionable transactions with the school district are part of a new Talk of the Sound series that is currently underway.
During an interview with Talk of the Sound in June 2013, Zonzini explained how he reconciled his avowed hatred for police officers and his longstanding involvement with the New Rochelle Police Foundation, created by Police Commissioner Carroll, and his appointment by Carroll to the Police Advisory Board.
Zonzini said it was all about having influence in New Rochelle.
"Just because I am on the Foundation doesn't make me love the police department," he said.
"You gotta understand something, I gotta crew of guys out there, I got trucks on the road, we open up streets. It's always nice to have a little clout to ease my work," said Zonzini.
"I do what I gotta do, give back to the community, to give back to the police department, give them their donation and to have a little power around town is good, it's a good thing," Zonzini continued.
"You know so the cop says Zonzini's over there, he's alright, he just bought us a new uniform, he just bought us a new bicycle, he just bought us a new microphone, you gotta work with these guys or they can make your life rough, real tough they can make your life so you give them a piece of the action, you hire them as a flag man, you hire them here, you make a donation, we all got work together in the same town, and that's how it works," he said.
"So, I belong to the Foundation? That doesn't mean I am a pro-cop, that I take cops sides in everything," said Zonzini.
"I hate fucking cops," he said. "I don't have any friends that are cops because in 5 minutes they'll turn on you because you know they're looking for that stripe on their shoulder."
The work done on Carroll's house at 1 Melrose Drive in New Rochelle raised a number of questions in addition to those raised above:
Did Mauro Zonzini do work on Carroll's house - the driveway, the waterfall, the coy pond -- for free, at cost or some other discounted rate in order to to curry favor and gain influence with Carroll so he could have the sort of clout he described in his interview last June?
Why are there no building permits for the driveway?
Why are there no building permits for the waterfall and coy pond?
Why does the original building permit for the deck not indicate the "upper deck"?
How was Carroll able to rush through the building permit process in April 2008?
Why was there no penalty for the existing shed?
Are rumors true that some of the work done at Carroll's house was performed by on-duty New Rochelle police officers?
And finally, does the Police Commissioner still have that nice Uncle Sam hat he wore at Mauro Zonzini's pool party?