It takes a lot to shake Pino Morales.
On the afternoon of Aug. 31 — by his account — someone had just pulled a knife on him. But his face showed nothing but a look of calm determination.
The incident reportedly happened as Morales, a porter at 5530 Netherland Ave., was checking on a coworker mowing the lawn at the complex. A tenant with whom Morales says he has had frequent issues, approached the two of them.
The man hurled racial slurs, Morales said, mocking them for mowing and watering the grass together.
“He said, ‘It takes two idiots to water lawn,’ so I said, ‘What did you say?’” Morales recalled. “He came toward me and he pulled out a knife from his back.”
Morales told the tenant a knife wouldn’t scare him, he said, before the man retreated back to his apartment. That’s when Morales called police.
The officers who arrived told The Riverdale Press it wasn’t the first time they’d been called to 5530 Netherland. In fact, one of them even muttered under his breath police were there “all the time.”
The tenant, identified by Morales as Jordan Hack, has had repeated issues with employees in the building, which is owned by A&E Real Estate Holdings. Morales said Hack, 28, punched one porter in the face, leaving him with three stitches. He threw another’s phone into the street.
“They have arrested him in the precinct before, but I don’t know how he gets out in like four or five hours,” he said. “He even told me, ‘I have a hit list on you guys.’”
According to police reports of the incident, Hack allegedly left his apartment by the time police arrived, so no arrests were made.
Hack did not respond to repeated attempts to reach him, and neither did A&E. However, court records show the company filed a lawsuit against the Yonkers native Aug. 21 — the reasons for which are unclear— although civil records suggest it may be an eviction case.
Despite these numerous reported problems with the building’s staff, another porter, Zef Shyti, said the company planned to simply not renew Hack’s lease when it expired later this year. If true, that leaves open the question about why so little was done to protect employees and tenants.
One tenant, who requested to remain anonymous out of fear for her safety, said she felt unsafe living in the same complex, and had even written to A&E asking that Hack be removed from the building.
“I sent them a letter a month ago, and they said they’ll use it in court,” the tenant claimed. “I don’t know what they told Pino, but what they told me was that they were doing their best to get him out and that he was supposed to be out at the end of October.”
But it’s possible after last week’s incident Hack might finally be out. The tenant said she saw him loading his belongings into a moving truck that same night.
But even that is cold comfort, she said, if there is no guarantee Hack doesn’t seek some sort of help she claims he needs for these reported incidents at 5530 Netherland.
That help, in general, is hard to provide, 50th Precinct deputy inspector Terence O’Toole said, not specifically referring to the allegations against Hack.
“You know we have in the neighborhood what we call the regular crazies,” O’Toole said. “We can refer them to mental health services, but we can’t make them go, and we can’t make them get help.”