See the Mold: Montclair’s Siena Owners Hold Open House Wednesday

The Siena Condos in Montclair have been plagued by reports of leaks and mold since they opened in 2007.

Vin Forbes and Raniya Kassem are holding an open house on Wednesday, Dec. 14th from 7:30 – 9:00 so people can see the damage for themselves.  Forbes writes:

I think that if people can see two uninhabitable units firsthand, they will understand why the council shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get something started. We welcome anyone in Montclair – but especially look forward to a visit from all the council members to experience firsthand the quality of construction and sense of ‘commitment’ (in response to a council member who is certain that Pinnacle is working very hard to remedy the problems) we have been shown by Pinnacle and Kohl.


Siena was built by The Pinnacle Companies, one of the groups chosen to be part of the green redevelopment plans for the vacant DCH auto facility located at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Valley Road and the Orange Road parking deck.  That Montclair tax dollars and subsidies are being used to help redevelop the DCH site is driving Forbes and Kassem to make sure the public sees the extent of the problmes in their units.

The Siena opened in 2007.   After residents suffered leaking stairwells and  rampant mold, the Siena Conominium Association filed suit this past June against the parties  responsible for the buildings’ development, design, construction and sale.  Kassem, who purchased her unit in July 2008, has filed her own suit.

The Open House is in Vin Forbes’ unit on the fifth floor.  The Siena is at the corner of Church and South Park in Montclair.



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  1. Barista will you send SJStreeter to shoot a slideshow and show it here Please. Some of us don’t have the time to attend and would like to see.

  2. Seriously, I think this is a great idea. It’s the antithesis to an open house that’s designed to showcase the glitz and glamour but that hides the ugly truth. Transparency in real estate!

  3. So – to anyone who would like to attend – we will be touring my unit which was recently vacated due to the mold and Raniya’s unit. Just come to the building and let the concierge know you are there to see Vin Forbes and he will send you up.

    Hope to see lots of people there so that in turn, you will all see what a HUGE mistake it would be to proceed with redevelopment without very thorough guidelines and expectations in place.

    Vin Forbes

  4. Water infiltration only augments if left un addressed and the steel structure corrodes more and more. It would be interesting to do monthly water meter tests to document the increase in deterioration over the winter. These units should loose their C of O if the water infiltration persists.

  5. The council is incompetent and irresponsible to move forward with Pinnacle. The quality of their design and construction is miserable.

  6. Sadly I can think of no more fitting “legacy” of Jerry Fried’s mayoralty than a crumbling Pinnacle crapshack as the gateway to Montclair.

  7. Sadly, I remember all of those Council Meetings leading up to the Siena and it was Mayor Remsen who we got this legasy from.(Mayor Remsen, who shall always (and ONLY) be remembered for the destruction of the Marlborough Inn and the rise of Crisco Court) I remember, (like a horrific nightmare) Councilwoman Michaelson cooing and touting that if the Siena had more floors, it would be a “BETTER BUILDING”.

  8. Remsen had me with his comment lamenting the rise in our property values, since they were making the town less affordable. This is priceless coming from a town official that could spend taxpayer’s money like the best of them. I see them all in the lowest circle of hell…

  9. Why on earth would any person of sound mind, whom was HONEST….
    Allow this builder to build anything ever again in Montclair ?
    I would never give them a permit to build. The first time, they did not know better…but now they know. If Sienna builders get the opportunity to build on the DCH site…. I’d rather invite DCH to return with a new car agency, at that site !

  10. Sandy, it’s worth knowing that Pinnacle, the builders of the Siena, are very active in charity work. It’s very simple. Cut some corners, allow the defective construction to introduce water into your fancy building, let mold grow.
    But by cutting said corners, Pinnacle can spin off some extra profits, not for their own high end luggage and jewelry, but rather, to give the profits to noble charities.
    You see, the residents of the Siena are suffering like the Old Testament Job for something greater than their personal comfort and health.
    And Pinnacle proves that ROC’s trickle down theory helps cancer victims and rabbinical colleges (see below ). Why a “progressive” local government would invite this cynical old skim routine to repeat itself is beyond me.

  11. I just don’t get people who don’t take pride in their work. Nor do I understanding how the governing body, knowing this builder’s past track record, would even think about hiring him again for future projects. Why?

  12. Probably kickbacks. Ms. “M”

    Personally I would not allow them to bid or build, until the fixed everyone’s apartment to their satisfaction.

  13. I agree with Sandy. Either kickbacks, or everyone has lost their mind. WHY would you take the risk of having the same thing happen in another building?

  14. Why should the township give Pinnacle approval for a PILOT program (whereby we end up paying Pinnacle would be taxes) while they are litigating the fraud accusation (in addition to defective construction) by the Siena Association? What is the township’s lawyer advice on THAT?

  15. It would be great if shame actually worked to extract an apology and compensation. Shame on you Pinnacle, shame on you.

    If that doesn’t work–Occupy Pinnacle!!!

  16. Bebopgun – already chatting with OWS – have exchanged a few email and they are interested in what is going on with Pinnacle. So – Brian Stolar may get even more publicity on how he has handled things – on a NATIONWIDE level!

  17. ROC, no doubt, the 99% and the 1% both would agree that “Made in America” should be a source of pride, not lawsuits and asthma.

  18. ROC – not for nothing – but if you were paying off an apartment for 30 years that you couldn’t live in, you might not think it was quite so funny……

  19. What is wrong with the tenant/owners ?

    1. Go to an Attorney and form a corporation
    2. Have every tenat/owner join the corporation
    3. Sue the owner/principle of the construction Corp.
    for a full refund of their money.

  20. Hey Sandy – there are currently multiple lawsuits agains Pinnacle/Kohl regarding this situation. We have been in litigation for close to three years – so we are doing everything we are supposed to do. As for Pinnacle – I personally feel that they should not be awarded any taxpayer dollars or subsidies in the upcoming project – they have very clearly displayed a lack of responsiveness regarding their work. I wouldn’t wish the heartache, potential physical harm and financial hardships that Pinnacle and Kohl have caused the people who trusted them to build them a home on my worst enemy.

  21. I am shocked and dismayed that my tax dollars will fund more shoddy workmanship, this time in the DCH building. I truly don’t understand. Is there NOBODY else qualified to do this work? The situation in the Siena is unforgivable. Is there a reason why our town is not siding with the condo owners here? It seems like pretty much a no brainer. Bad workmanship results in headaches, heartaches, physical illness and financial ruin for Montclair condo-owners–hmmmm. Whose side should the town take? hmmmmm. This is a tough one.

  22. It’s not a tough one, at all!
    Think it through ~~~ $$$$$$$$$$$$$ I would not let these crooks build my dog a dog house! Why would those in high places IN Montclair ever CONSIDER letting these sub-par ” builders ” build anything ? ?? $$$$$$$$ ??

    I’d invite DCH to return. They pay their taxes, and as far as I know they are good “neighbors” It is their building, too.How many high-rises does montclair need in the the town’s center anyway ????????

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