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Syracuse landlord ordered to pay $175,000 for failing to address lead paint hazards

A city street with houses on each side.
Isaiah Vazquez
Most of Syracuse's housing stock was built before 1970, when lead paint was outlawed in New York.

The state attorney general’s office has reached a $175,000 settlement with a Syracuse landlord who repeatedly violated lead safety laws at his rental properties.  It’s the latest in a series of settlements with landlords who refused to mitigate lead paint and poisoned young children.

In a release, AG Letitia James says Todd Hobbs will pay $55,000 toward a tenant relief fund that will provide payments to the families of at least eleven children who were poisoned by lead paint while living at his properties. The rest of the money will also be used to identify and resolve potential lead hazards at Hobbs’ 19 properties with a history of lead violations. Over the last eight years, James says there were more than 400 lead violations at those properties.

"Todd Hobbs put families’ health and well-being in danger and betrayed their trust,” said Attorney General James. "In Syracuse, throughout New York, and across the nation, children of color are poisoned by lead paint at vastly disproportionate rates, and more must be done every day to protect them from the preventable dangers of lead."

The settlement stems from a 2023 lawsuit filed by James, Mayor Ben Walsh, and County Executive Ryan McMahon, alleging that Hobbs persistently violated lead safety laws. In the release, Walsh says the settlement addresses three priorities.

"It holds Todd Hobbs accountable, directs resources to reduce dangerous lead hazards, and provides assistance to tenants," Walsh said. "It also sends a message to rental property owners: you must provide safe, quality living conditions for your tenants."

Under the settlement, Hobbs will be barred from selling any of the affected properties without the attorney general’s approval until all lead hazards are resolved. In all, James says Hobbs has owned and managed at least 62 rental properties with at least 91 units over the last decade. All of them were built before 1960, and can be presumed to contain some lead based paint.

The agreement with Hobbs is the latest in James’ effort to hold landlords accountable. Just last month, the AG’s office reached a $310,000 settlement with another Syracuse landlord William D’Angelo for violations of lead safety laws at nearly two dozen properties. And in 2022, James shut down Syracuse landlord John Kiggins and his company for the same reason.

Children under age six exposed to even low levels of lead paint chips or dust are at especially high risk for neurological and physical problems during their development.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at