Settlement reached in connection with deadly 2015 Schenectady fire

June 12, 2019 08:04 PM

SCHENECTADY - Over a dozen people affected by the fatal fire on Jay Street in Schenectady back in 2015 will be getting a piece of the lawsuit settlement.

Court documents filed last month say Ted Gournaris Inc. (TGI), the property owner and Ideal Property Services (IPS), the apartment management company, have agreed to a $1,000,000 payout to the 13 people suing them.


The fire killed four people, sent seven to the hospital and left about 60 people homeless. Some business owners in that area are still getting back on their feet.

Kenneth Manmohan owns the Executive Lounge, a Caribbean-American restaurant right next to where the fire happened. He said he pretty much had to gut the place because of all of the damage.

"The roof had holes in it and the whole building was soaked - all my floors, the whole inside, my basement was filled with water it was flooded," Manmohan said. "So I had to redo all of my furnace, my electrical panels, my walk-in coolers my kitchen, I had to replace everything in my kitchen."

Manmohan has invested significantly in re-opening the lounge. In all, he said he's spent $200,000 in re-opening the building.

He said it took about two years, but his insurance paid him about $97,000 on his claim. If split equally, the settlement from TGI and IPS, will net him about another $76,000. However, that would still leave him short about $25,000 in making up his initial investment.

Manmohan said though we wants his business to do well, this is about more than the money.

"It still gives me nightmares," he said. "It was a tragedy. It's very sad still up to this day."

He said he wanted to stay in the same location because it's the only place to get Caribbean-American food in Downtown Schenectady.

In taking part of the $1 million settlement, the plaintiffs are agreeing to not attempt to collect any more from the building owner and manager in relation to the fire in March of 2015. However it's still unclear exactly how that money will be broken up.

Jason Sacks was the property manager at 104 Jay Street. As NewsChannel 13 reported previously, Sacks canceled the alarm monitoring contract months before the fire, which authorities say created an unsafe place where four people died.

In January 2018, Sacks pleaded guilty to four counts of criminally negligent homicide, admissions that will land him in state prison for one to three years.

Kenneth Tyree, a former city building inspector who inspected the Jay Street property the day before the fire, was acquitted of negligent homicide charges in March 2018.


WNYT Staff

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