By JOHN ELIGON
A Manhattan appeals court upheld a decision on Thursday that essentially prevents the famous — to some, infamous — local architect Robert M. Scarano Jr. from doing business in New York.
An administrative judge ruled last year that Mr. Scarano had made numerous false statements to the city to avoid zoning laws in construction projects. The ruling led the Department of Buildings to ban Mr. Scarano from filing any building documents, including permit applications and construction plans, with the city.
Mr. Scarano, who for years has been known to push the envelope with designs that can transform a block or a neighborhood, appealed the decision.
But a five-justice panel from the appellate division in Manhattan agreed with the administrative judge’s ruling on the action taken by the Department of Buildings, or D.O.B. It wrote in its decision that allegations of Mr. Scarano’s misconduct “are supported by substantial evidence and warrant the finding that D.O.B. can no longer rely on him to submit honest paperwork. Thus, there was a basis for prohibiting him from submitting further documents to D.O.B.”
The department praised the ruling for vindicating its stance against what they said was Mr. Scarano’s misleading tactics.
“New Yorkers depend on licensed professionals to follow the law and ensure the quality of life of our neighborhoods is protected,” Robert LiMandri, the buildings commissioner, said in a statement. “Mr. Scarano betrayed that trust, and this decision sends a clear message that there are serious consequences for filing false documents in New York City.”
But Mr. Scarano’s company, Scarano Architect P.L.L.C., released a statement saying that he would continue to serve the numerous clients he has in New York City. Most of his clients are in the city, according to a colleague of Mr. Scarano.
“We are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling and we are going to examine all legal options available to us,” Mr. Scarano said in a statement. “Despite this decision we plan to continue working hard to serve our clients and to maintain the high quality of architecture for which our firm is known.”
Mr. Scarano, whose firm is more than two and a half decades old, is based in Brooklyn and focuses on projects mostly in the outer boroughs. He works on a range of projects from residential apartment buildings to multifamily housing units to commercial buildings.
The Buildings Department first brought administrative charges against Mr. Scarano in 2008 based on what it said were misleading documents he provided on two projects.
One was at 145 Snediker Avenue in Brooklyn. In that case, the department ruled that construction could not begin until a utility pole was removed from the path of a driveway. In October 2008, according to the department, Mr. Scarano submitted documents indicating that the pole had been moved, but the documents were misleading as to the actual location of the pole.
In another project, at 158 Freeman Street and 1037 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn, Mr. Scarano failed to accurately represent in documents that a building already existed on the L-shaped lot on which he wanted to build, according to the department. On two occasions, Mr. Scarano submitted plans to try to get approval to build a building that was too large for the lot, according to the department.
After reviewing those two cases, the administrative judge, Joan R. Salzman, in a ruling in March 2010, found that Mr. Scarano was “deliberately overbuilding” and said some of his filings were “so deceptive that they call to mind out-and-out fraud.”
Judge Salzman added, “False filings lead to chaos.”
Mr. Scarano appealed to the appellate court, challenging the constitutionality of the city code that allowed the buildings commissioner to bar him from filing documents. Mr. Scarano also questioned whether his due process rights were violated. The appellate court rejected both arguments.
Mr. Scarano can appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, though it was unclear whether he would do so.