NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A week after a judge imposed a $1,000 a day fine on the owner of Seaview Lofts in Newport News, his attorneys listed several areas of progress in getting the 15-story tower back up to code.
Owner Ben Weinstein appeared in Circuit Court Thursday for the second time since last Friday before Judge Christopher Papile. Compared with last week, the status hearing this time has a much more cooperative and amicable atmosphere.
Outside the courthouse, attorney Josh David said, “we are doing everything we can to get these folks back in their homes”.
David said the fire alarm system has passed inspection, control boards for the two elevators have been ordered, Weinstein’s team would meet Thursday with city officials to iron out permits for the building’s boilers and HVAC systems, and an electrician would work on exit and entrance lighting issues.
“$1000 (a day) is a significant amount of money, but there are much more significant issues going on. We’re much more concerned about getting the building back, and getting people in their units,” David said.
David said he could not estimate a return date for the residents. “I don’t want to make promises and then have to break them,” he said.
Residents who’ve been out of their homes for more than a month and attended Thursday’s hearing talked about their hardship, but also expressed understanding for Weinstein.
Tasha Gayle has spent more than $1,600 on hotels. She’s one of more than 50 Seaview residents who are suing Weinstein. Gayle says it’s just business, nothing personal.
“I’m only suing because I’m on the street, but other than that, I have no problem with the guy.”
She’s hoping that he’ll reimburse as much of her hotel bill as possible.
“I’ll take what I can get. I’m not gonna pressure the man, I see what he’s going through.”
Linda Williams has lived at Seaview for 13 years and loves entertaining there with her view of the James River.
“It seems like (Weinstein) is trying, so I’m not going to badmouth him. I got to say that I got to give props to him – it looks like he’s trying.”
The next status hearing is set for a week from August 22.