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May 22, 2019

Queens man still sick years after AC unit was poisoned with mercury

November 29, 2018
Roman Pinkhasov, who testified today at Queens Supreme Court, said his family’s life was upended in 2015 when they discovered the toxic silver liquid in the air conditioning ducts of their Jamaica Estates home. November 28, 2018. (Esha Ray / New York Daily News)

Years after he accused a vengeful heating and air conditioning business owner of lacing his cooling units with poisonous mercury, a Queens homeowner said Wednesday that he is still feeling the symptoms.

Roman Pinkhasov said his family’s life was upended in 2015 when they discovered the toxic silver liquid in the air conditioning ducts of their Jamaica Estates home.

The man he holds responsible, Yuriy Kruk, faces criminal charges over the ordeal — yet Pinkhasov told jurors at Kruk’s trial that his suffering has not gone away.

“I’m not the same as I used to be,” Pinkhasov said Wednesday during testimony in Queens Supreme Court. “I still have some symptoms.”

Pinkhasov said he first met Kruk in 2004 when he and his family lived in Fresh Meadows. Pinkhasov needed an AC installed and found Kruk’s business through a newspaper.

“We got along well with him, we really respected him,” Pinkhasov said.

In December 2007, Pinkhasov moved to his current home in Jamaica Estates, and hired Kruk again to install another AC.

“We were very satisfied, very happy,” Pinkhasov said, and even recommended Kruk to his brother.

Pinkhasov noticed something wrong with the AC unit on the second floor sometime in 2008. Kruk fixed it and came by to add freon to the unit each year until 2015, when the unit stopped working again..

That time Pinkhasov said he was disappointed with Kruk’s repair job.

“I told him the job was poorly done, I’m not accepting it,” Pinkhasov said.

Kruk sent two of his workers to replace the unit, but the follow-up work was even worse, Pinkhasov said.

“My wife showed me a cup with some sort of silver liquid in it,” Pinkhasov said. “As far as I know the only liquid metal at room temperature is mercury, That’s what it appeared to be to me.”

Pinkhasov said he reached out to authorities after Kruk ignored his calls. A hazmat crew confirmed his fears, but by then, the damage done. Everyone in the home was sick — even the dog was throwing up.

The Pinkhasovs and their son tested positive for mercury levels above acceptable norms. All three victims complained of various symptoms associated with mercury poisoning, including joint pain, headaches and lethargy.

Four months passed before Pinkhasov’s home was finally cleared of toxins.

Kruk was charged with attempted assault and endangering public health, safety or the environment. Kruk’s lawyer, Marvyn Kornberg, suggested during opening arguments that someone else could have placed the mercury inside the unit.

Pinkhasov’s testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday.

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