Recess is over, kids. There is an ungodly mess to clean up.
A faulty plumbing system at a Dallas barbecue joint above a Brooklyn Tabernacle Church entertainment area near the Fulton Mall is leaking bacteria-filled water from heavily-used plumbing fixtures. obstructed pipes located under the restaurant’s kitchen, according to a motion filed Tuesday in Kings County Supreme Court. Liquids frequently flow into large puddles in a meeting room designed to seat 50 people and in a gym, both used primarily for children’s programs, said Pastor Brian Pettrey.
The injunction request requires a court order requiring Dallas BBQ, as well as the LLC that owns the space where it operates, to clean or replace the grease-filled cleanouts, traps and pipes.
On many recent Sundays, the space is filled not with laughing children, “but with vile liquids containing grease, bits of what appears to be human waste, and bacteria counts matching those of wastewater,” according to the motion.
Pettrey adds that the organization hires hazardous waste specialists to clean it, charging hundreds of dollars per job — and the room still stinks for days.
“Luckily no one got this thing hit on the head, but it certainly affected our services,” he said.
Tuesday’s filing is the latest update in a lawsuit first filed four years ago, when similar leaks occurred while the church’s recreation center at 180 Livingston St. was under construction . The suit addresses additional issues related to the building’s construction and seeks more than $10 million in damages, said Leah Vickers, an attorney with Mandel Bhandari LLP, who is representing the Tabernacle in the suit.
(Attorneys for Dallas BBQ and Thor 180 Livingston LLC did not respond to comment at the time of publication.)
The massive church is known for its six-time Grammy Award-winning choir and has more than 10,000 worshippers. Its adult worship services are held at 17 Smith Street, but additional space was needed for activities, events and performances. Its location on Livingston Street has a gym and a stage with lighting and sound.
In 2019, the church purchased a former condo beneath the restaurant, which leases part of the first floor of the building above to Thor 180 Livingston LLC, an entity of real estate development company Thor Equities.
The problem was resolved for a while, but it has resurfaced over the past year with increased frequency and severity, according to the latest motion. There have been at least 12 leaks in recent months, forcing the church to close the center for three weeks at a time.
With each closure, the organization rushes to relocate its programs, also aimed at teenagers and seniors, to other spaces scattered around the neighborhood, Pettrey explains.
In one case, the church nervously invited 300 kids to take a free day and take a look.
“People from the community come in and, at first glance, wonder, ‘Why does it smell in here?’ ” “, did he declare. “That’s not a good look.”
To inspect the situation, the organization hired Howard L. Zimmerman Architects & Engineers, DPC (HLZAE) in June.
“The grease levels observed in these locations are some of the worst grease accumulation conditions I have seen,” HLZAE engineer Jon Colatrella said after sending a camera to patrol around the mud, according to his filed affidavit. Tuesday.
Even more alarming, the water is flowing into the recreation center’s floor drains, from where it flows into the city’s sewer system, a violation of environmental code, documents show.
The city Department of Environmental Protection is aware of the problem and ordered the Dallas barbecue site to update its grease interceptors, which prevent waste from going down the pipes, in March 2020, a door said -speech.
The restaurant did not comply, resulting in seven subsequent summonses. A restraining hearing for the most recent summons was scheduled for April but was adjourned until Tuesday, the spokesperson added. The results were not yet published at press time.
Pettrey sent the engineer’s findings to Dallas BBQ and Thor 180 Livingston LLC on July 6. The church’s lawyers forwarded them to their legal advisors a few days later in the hope that the entities would immediately rectify the situation, Vickers adds.
“To date, we have not received any response from Thor or Dallas BBQ,” she said. “At this point, there is no indication that they intend to do what needs to be done to stop these leaks.”
In the meantime, Pettrey says the church is trying not to lose members.
Daniel Arbeeny, a 30-year-old churchgoer, says event relocations leave parents confused about where to drop off and pick up their children, some of whom have special needs.
But it beats the alternative.
“It’s a horror show,” Abeerny said. Her four children participated in Church programs from an early age through their teens. “We have wastewater mixed with food wastewater. Not only is it disgusting, but how dangerous is it?