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In the Matter of the Application of STEVEN P. ROMBOM License # CB 361767 PR 100039747 For a hearing and determination pursuant to Title 38, Chapters 5 and 15 of the Rules of the City of New York:
Hearing ,# 0020/05 Tape # 59 Side A
The Licensees timely sought an administrative hearing to appeal the License Division's August 1, 2005 decision canceling his Carry Business pistol license. A hearing was held on August 17, 2005 before Hearing Officer Ariynne Lowell, Esq. Steven P. Rombom appeared and waived counsel. Sergeant Lloyd Rund testified on behalf of the License Division's Incident Section. Having considered the testimony, the investigative file and all the proofs, the undersigned makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Steven Rombom was issued a Carry Business pistol license on or about 1992. He also holds a Premises Residence pistol license (PR 100039747) which is still active, 2. The Licensee submitted a letter with his 2004 -2007 Business Carry Renewal application that he had previously submitted to the License Division in 1997. The letter was dated December 23, 1997, written on the law firm stationary of Goldberg &,Lustig and signed by Ha^ located atv 188Montague Stteet, Brooklyn, New York, and that there are no separate utility bills paid by Steven Rornbom or Pallorium, inc., because all are included in the leasing cost. In addition the Licensee submitted a bank statement from Bank of America addressed toPallorium Inc. PO Box 460, Brooklyn, NY 3. Sergeant Rund testified that on March 10, 2005 he conducted a Field Inspection to verify the address that the Licensee listed for his business on his 2004—2007 Business Carry Renewal application, 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY Suite 500. When he arrived at this location he found that it was the law firm of Goldber & Lustig. The Licensee's name or business, Pallorium, Inc., was not listed on the building directory in the lobby. He went to Suite 500 and spoke to Mr. Goldberg, one of the partners. Mr. Goldberg became annoyed and did not want to volunteer any information about the Licensee pertaining to any arrangements he might have in his office. He referred all inquiries to his partner, Harvey Lustig.
4,. Sergeant Rund -contacted Mr. Lustig and interviewed him over the telephone. He asked if the Licensee had a permanent office or desk, a dedicated telephone line, fax machine, computer or other indicia of a permanent office at 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY Suite 500. He was told that the Licensee did not have any specific dedicated space in his office. He explained that he and the Licensee have been friends for approximately fifteen years and he allows the Licensee to have mail forwarded to his office. He also indicated that the Licensee visits his office once or maybe twice a month to pick up his mail. 5. A letter dated March 28, 2005 was mailed to the Licensee informing him that his pistol license was cancelled because the field inspection revealed that the address stated on his Business Carry renewal application-was not the location of the Licensee's business. Testimony of the Licensees 6. The Licensee testified that he is a Private Investigator licensed by the New York State, Department of State, Division of Licensing Services. He is also the Director of his corporation Pallorium, inc. He maintains two offices in Brooklyn, New York, .one located at 188 Montague Street, Suite 500 and the other 3^jffffffffjjjfeThe address on his Private investigators license is 188 Montague Street, Suite 500, Brooklyn,.NY. • 7. The investigative file contained a letter from Goldberg & Lustig, Esqs. dated September 2, 1992 confirming that Pallorium, Inc. is leasing office space for the operation of an Investigative and/or Security Agency. The Licensee provided a copy of a. $250.00 check dated September 2, 1992 written to Goldberg & Lustig for rent covering 1992-1993. In a letter dated October 5, 1992 the Licensee informed the License Division that he was relocating his office to 188 Montague Street. The only other letter in the file was from Goidberg & Lustig, Esqs. dated December 23, 1997 confirming that Pallorium, Inc. (Steven Rombom) continues to sublease office space and that there are no utility bills because utilities are included in the leasing costs. Three phone bills were also submitted into evidence. One from New York Telephone (account number 718 858-4250 054 220) dated September 25, 1992, billed to Harvey Lustig at 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201; Another from Bell Atlantic (account number 718 436 - 3000 936 224;) dated September 7,1^ Midwood Station Brooklyn, NY and a third fr6m Verizon dated Ma^ch 7/2003 billed to * Pallorium at their post office box number, 8. The Licensee further testified that over the years the sublease arrangements he had with Goldberg & Lustig, Esqs. grew less formal. However, he either paid rent or did work in kind which involved doing investigations for the law firm. During the hearing the Licensee was asked to provide documentation of rent paid for the last two or three years/ The Licensee testified that he could not provide this type of documentation because he had done work in kind during this period. He further testified that when he was given cases by the firm, he gave them investigative reports regarding his findings. He was asked if he could provide records regarding cases that he has worked on for the firm and he was given till-September ^30, 2005 to present this documentation. It should be noted that although the Licensee submitted additional materials on that date, none were documents relating to any work done .for this law firm.
9. The Licensee testified that he had asked Goldberg & Lustig, Esqs. to provide a letter to the License Division confirming their business arrangement, however, they refused. At the present time they want him out of their office because they do not want visits from the police. The business arrangement he previously had with them is no .longer viable. 10. The Licensee further testified that he maintains a fully equipped office at V | H H His subsidiary corporation, Palltech, an online service providing services to law enforcement and investigative agencies is located there. He. has had the I H H B Bf office since 1991. He submitted into evidence the first page of a lease from P. .KM.. Management Company as landlord, to Palloriurn, Inc., as tenant, for the basement 1991 to September 30, 1996 . H^ -also ™n n \ tied "a" i ™K ' ™ i^Paiiori um , Inc. dated November 1, 2004 paid to PHM Management for a lease term ending October 31, 2013. 11. He did not want to have the address of this company publicly available because computers are located there and he is concerned about security. He has no employees working at this site and he subcontracts the programming work to another company. He • doesn't go to this office more than once or twice a month. However, he feels that this location would meet the criteria of his Business Carry license and requested that the License Division conduct a field visit there. At the time he initially applied for his Business Carry license, he was under the impression that the business location given to the License Division had to be the same location that was on his New York State Private Investigator's license. This license was under 188 Montague Street and that is why he continued to use this address at the License Division. 12. Until this incident .occurred he was not aware that it was a condition of his license to actually have an office where he meets with clients and have his business name on the door. His business is international in scope and does not require an office in the traditional sense. He is on the road or out of the United States much of the time and a large portion of his business is conducted over the Internet. He can be contacted with a phone number that reaches him wherever he is located. He currently has Business Carry pistol licenses in approximately six states. 13 ; The Licensee submitted ^ has investigated. He also suBrtiitted th on his '*' computer and testified that he has also received threats over the telephone. He was asked if he has any complaint reports filed with the New York City Police Department regarding these threats. He testified that the last report that he filed with the police was in Detroit about four years ago. He has not filed any reports in New York since the 19901s around the time that he relocated h'is office to its5 current location. Many of the threats made come from out of state and he was advised to contact the Secret Service. He further testified that because of the nature of his work and the types of cases he investigates he continues to be very concerned for his personal safety.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
14. The rules for the possession of pistol licenses are found in Title 38 of the Rules of the City of New York and licensees must become thoroughly familiar with them. [38 RCNY §§507(d), 5-331 15. All incidents are reviewed and evaluated by the License Division and if necessary it may suspend or revoke a'licerise. [38 RCNY §5-30(e)| Even the dismissal of criminal charges does not preclude the review of the underlying facts during the administrative action and could serve to support a license revocation. In Re Zaimanov v, Bratton, 240 A.D.2d 173, 657 N.Y.S.2d691 (First Dept. 1997) and Matter of .St. Oharra v. Colucci. 67 A.D.2d 1104,415 N.Y.S.2d 142. Given the questions regarding the authenticity of Pallorium Inc.'s New York City business address, 188 Montague Street, the License Division properly cancelled the Licensee's Carry Business pistol license. 16. The Licensee held a Carry. Business pistol license. This is an unrestricted form of handgun license that permits the carrying of a concealed handgun anywhere in the City of New York and at any time. [38 RCNY § 5-01.(b)j An applicant for any pistol license must satisfy all. of the requirements in Section § 5-02 of the Rules of the City of New York. Under 38 RCNY § 5-02 (g) one of the requirements in the issuance of a pistol license is that the applicant resides or maintains a principal place of business within the confines of New York City. Satisfying the criteria of 38 RCNY § 5-02 (g) is the first prerequisite that has to befulfilled in order to be eligible for a pistol license. 17. An applicant seeking a Carry or Special handgun license also has to demonstrate "Proper Cause" pursuant to Penal Law 400.00 (2) (f ) of the -New York State Penal Law. "Proper Cause " is determined by a review of all relevant information bearing on the claimed need of the applicant for the -license. For example, exposure of the applicant by reason of employment or business necessity to extraordinary personal danger that requires authorization to carry a handgun. (38 RCNY § 5-03) 18.. Before a license is issued -or renewed, there shall be an investigation of all statements required in the application by the duiy constituted police authorities of the locality where such application is made [Penal Law 400. 00 (4)]
.1:9. TfreTillfj^ toy ,:; the Licensee!', fw^Wontag^ NY, Suite 50D was the law firm of Goldberg & Lustig. The Licensee's name or business, Pallorium, Inc. was not listed on the building directory in the lobby. Sergeant Rund conducted a telephone interview with Mr. Lustig. He was informed that there are no office facilities used by the Licensee at his office. He allows • the Licensee to have mail forwarded to his office and the Licensee picks up his mail once or twice. a month; 20. Mr. Lustig's statements to Sergeant Rund contradict the letters he wrote in 1992 and 1997 to the License Division on behalf of the Licensee. The Licensee also been registering his Private investigators license to Mr. Lustig's office and has continued to do so for a number of years. Although the Licensee produced a $250.00 check for rent covering the year 1991 - 1992 payable to Goldberg & Lustig, he was unable to produce any other financial documentation or any documents to substantiate any work for kind relationship that
he may have had with the law firm. 21. The only inference that can be made from the documentation presented is that after 1997, there is no evidence that Paliorium, Inc., maintained a business at 188 Montague Street, Suite 500 other than using it to maintain the Licensee's Private Investigator's license in New York State and Carry Business license in New York City, There is also a strong // W possibility the 1997 letter Mr, Lustig wrote to the License Division on behalf of the Licensee [/ | did not really reflect the reality of their business arrangement. 22. The Licensee testified that Paliorium, Inc. does not utilize an office in the traditional sense. All investigations take place in the field and client contact is made over the Internet or at the client's location. The Licensee's business structure does not mandate a separate full service office. However, pursuant to 38 RCNY § 5-02 (g) it is the expectation that the documentation received by the agency, be reflective of a functional, legitimate business organization located in New York City, not just a mailing address! Licensing of firearms is a highly regulated area. The laws governing pistol licenses require a strong'nexu.s to New York 'City. 23. I find that the office of Paltorium inc. located at 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY Suite 500 does not meet the criteria of "principal place of business" set forth in 38 RCNY § 5-02 (g). The criteria of 38 RCNY § 5-02 (g) has not been satisfied therefore an evaluation pursuant to Penal Law 400.00 (2) (f) is not mandated in this case, 24. Prior granting of a pistol license does not give a vested right to retain it. Application of Sherwood. 1975, 80 Misc2d 215, 363 N.Y.S.2d 71 25. The issuance of a pistol license is not a right but a privilege subject to reasonable regulation. The Police Commissioner has broad discretion to decide whether to issue a license. (Sewell v. City of New York, 182 A.D.2"d 469, 472 [1st Dept. 1992]. 26. The terms and conditions of issuance of a handgun license provide that it is revocable at any time and any. misuse or misconduct on the part of the licensee constituting just cause wili result in the suspension or revocation of the license. [38 RCNY §§5-22(a)(1)&(15)J
^ Based on the foregoing findings of fact and conclusions of law, it is hereby recommended that the Business Carry license previously issued to Steven Rombom at 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY Suite 500 remain cancelled. Dated: November 22, 2005 ARI^YNNE LOWELL, Esq. Hearing Officer
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