‘Mr. Weinstein will be here,’ Newport News judge says as Seaview Lofts apartment building fails inspection again – Daily Press

Seaview Lofts failed inspection again Friday, prompting Newport News Circuit Court Judge Christopher Papile to demand the owner of the company come to the next hearing.

The property has been condemned for over a month because of issues with the elevators that as recently as Friday failed inspection again. The 15-story apartment complex is owned by Seaview Lofts LLC and managed by New Jersey based BlueRise Group, which is headed by Ben Weinstein.

“Mr. Weinstein will be here,” Papile said to Seaview’s lawyer, Kaitlin Baxter, of the Newport News firm David, Kamp and Frank.

Papile previously held Weinstein in contempt for failing to show up to court on July 8 and has required Seaview Lofts LLC to compensate the city for the hotels it provided for the condemned building’s displaced residents that month. His lawyers said he was unable to attend the hearing because of traveling abroad due to the death of a family member.

Monday’s court hearing was the third Circuit Court hearing on the case since July 8.

In court, Baxter said she did not know Weinstein’s schedule so could not confirm if he would be able to make the Friday hearing.

City staff found more issues, including flooding on the 15th floor and in the stairwell, when they visited the property Friday for inspections of the elevators, which were unable to be completed, city staff told Papile on Monday.




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The inspections could not be completed due to the temperature of the machine room, which was so hot it was disrupting the machinery. City staff told Papile either the ambient temperature in the building needs to come down or the building’s cooling system needs to be fixed or a new unit added. The building is supposed to have two chillers but only has one, city staff said.

City staff recommended a five-year inspection be performed to ensure all the elements of the elevator systems are working properly.

Baxter said the property owner would spend whatever was necessary to bring the elevators up to code this week. He declined to comment after the hearing.

The building was condemned due to problems with the elevators, though the structure also has other issues. More than 100 units were occupied at the time.

Seaview Lofts LLC has been charged with multiple criminal charges, including more than a dozen from the fire marshal’s office and one from the city codes and compliance office for issues with the building that included water in the stairwell and not maintaining the fire detection and alarm system.

Each is a class 1 misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of $2,500 — either based on each day they are out of compliance or $2,500 total. Shannon Manning, Newport News assistant Attorney, said Seaview Lofts has only been charged for one day, $2,500, though it could be amended. She said the city wants Seaview to prioritize fixing the elevators.

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