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Man Hit With Beer Stein Dies; Longtime Roommate Is Arrested
By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM SEPT. 26, 2003
A 65-year-old man died early yesterday in Harlem after his 44-year-old roommate hit him over the head with a glass beer stein, the police said.
A neighbor said that the two men, who had shared the apartment at 454 West 141st Street for more than a dozen years, were close friends and that the younger man, Jorge Rendall, had helped care for the older man, Frank Sokolowski. The neighbor said Mr. Sokolowski owned the building and another building next door. He also once owned a Greenwich Village restaurant and a gay nightclub on the Upper West Side.
The men were arguing at 9:25 Wednesday night when Mr. Rendall attacked Mr. Sokolowski, the police said. Mr. Sokolowski was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he was declared dead at 4:30 a.m. yesterday, the police said.
''They got into a dispute, it got physical and the guy got whacked in the head with a beer stein,'' a police official said. ''They apparently were involved in a dispute about one of their cars.''
Mr. Rendall was first charged with assault, and after the older man died, prosecutors in the office of Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, began weighing additional charges, officials said.
The neighbor, Marvin Pough, said that the two men had been bickering earlier about a couch they had left at the curb in front of the building for pickup by the Department of Sanitation. But he said he was shocked to learn of the charges.
''George wouldn't harm Frank -- that would be the last person you would think would harm Frank,'' Mr. Pough said. ''Jorge took care of Frank for a long time. They were close, like two peas in a pod.''
Mr. Pough said Mr. Sokolowski, his landlord, was a kind man. ''For Frank to go out violent is a shame,'' he said. ''He wasn't a violent person. He was a good person.''
Mr. Sokolowski, who lost his nightclub and restaurant when he declared bankruptcy more than 10 years ago, bought and sold several properties in Harlem in recent years, according to real estate records and city filings. The two buildings on West 141st Street were owned by a company called GBNF Realty, which listed him as a managing partner.
He last came to public attention in 1990 when someone set a fire at one of the last 19th-century brownstones on Central Park West, between 84th and 85th Streets. Mr. Sokolowski, who was living there, had angered his neighbors by operating what he called a ''youth hostel'' and renting out rooms to transient drug addicts.
September 17, 2014
ARREST FOR SELLING CIGS
Police arrested Jorge Rendall, 55, for violating tax law at the corner of First Avenue and East 27th Street last Wednesday at 9:50 a.m. Rendall allegedly sold an untaxed pack of Newport Light cigarettes to someone for $8.