BY ROBERT KNIGHT
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
The owners of Pearl River’s infamous “Party House” have been fined $1,000 by the Orangetown Justice Court to satisfy two tickets they received for operating an illegal bed and breakfast operation and for allowing commercial filming of some of the parties without obtaining a filming permit.
The fine was imposed by Town Justice Richard Finning last Thursday morning in public court at the Town Hall in Orangeburg, about two weeks after the charges were brought against homeowners Gevork (George) and Amen Khrimian of Suffern. The charges had been filed by Orangetown Building Inspector John Giardiello after weeks of complaints to town officials by annoyed neighbors of the party house at 7 O’Grady Court, off Sickletown Road in Pearl River’s upscale Nauraushaun section.
Court personnel confirmed the amount of the fine, but said they could not disclose any further information about the case without receipt of an official FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) form and a review by town court, legal and other staff before an opinion could be rendered.
Specifically, court clerks declined to say whether the Khrimian brothers had both been charged, whether they had pled guilty to the two charges, whether they were represented by an attorney, whether the fine was actually paid that day, and by whom, or any other details of the controversial case.
Party House Closes
Regardless of the outcome of the court case, the Khrimian brothers appear to have closed down the open public rental of their luxurious two and a half-story brick, mortar and stone mansion overlooking the LakeTappan reservoir. Neighbors report little to no activity at the home over the past two weeks and the Khrimian’s ads for its rental on Airbnb, Homeaway.com and other websites have been removed. The large “For Sale” sign in the front lawn has also been removed, leaving the current and future status of the three-year-old home in question.
The Khrimian brothers allegedly built the house but reportedly never lived there, having separate homes in Suffern. Instead, they listed the house for rent by the hour, day, weekend or week on various websites, and reportedly had it rented for a majority of the past two or three months.
Many of the rentals were for private parties, while several others were for photo shoots for a variety of independent and small studio filmmakers. Neighbors claimed both the private parties and the film shoots drew scantily clad young women to the house, and allegations that many of the activities centered around private consensual sexual orgies, some of which were filmed or videotaped.
The Khrimian brothers and their supporters, including at least one neighbor, disputed the accusations, however, and claimed all of the rentals were transactions for bed and breakfast-type use of the huge $2 million, 7,000-square-foot home, which includes a swimming pool, six “official” bedrooms and sleeping accommodations for up to 32 guests at a time.
Giardiello and other town officials said they were not as upset about the activities of the guests at 7 O’Grady Court as they were over the fact the house was being rented commercially when that is not permitted under town law. Orangetown also requires film companies to obtain a permit from the Town Clerk’s office for any commercial filming that takes place within the township.
Town Clerk Charlotte Madigan has said no one has ever requested a filming permit from her office for that particular location, and none has been issued. According to Giardiello, a private one-family home in Orangetown may be occupied by the owner and their family, or may be rented on a monthly basis to another family, if the owner lives elsewhere.
Such a house cannot be rented by the hour, day, weekend or week however, Giardiello said, since that makes it a commercial rather than a residential use, which violates various town building, zoning and use codes. Giardiello further explained that most towns and villages in Rockland County forbid such rentals, because they fear daily rentals will lead to the creation of SROs, or single-room-occupancy hotels, which are specifically prohibited everywhere in the county.
For that reason hourly or daily room rentals in private homes are forbidden, he added, and are closely regulated at hotels. As further details of the status of 7 O’Grady Court and the court case against the Khrimians becomes available, we will report on those updates as they occur.