Rezoning Projects by the Books in Crown Heights, Hardly… Judge Halts Project

Arrested development: Judge halts controversial Crown Heights project amid legal battle

A Kings County Supreme Court judge slapped a controversial mixed-use development with a temporary restraining order on April 17, after local anti-gentrification advocates claimed the developer used every trick in the book to avoid having to preform a state-mandated environmental-review process, while the city let them get away with it to pave the way for more affordable housing.

We fought the Department of City Planning, and watched our elected officials allow the developer to lie on their applications, so they did not have to be held accountable for creating the largest residential complexes in Brooklyn,” said Alicia Boyd, founder of anti-gentrification group Movement to Protect the People.

The city awarded developers Cornell Realty and Carmel Partners the rights to build two 16-story towers near Franklin Avenue and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 40 Crown St. and 931 Carroll St. following a rezoning process that capped off with a December Council vote, where Crown Heights Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo wielded her key vote as the area’s representative to green-light the project, in exchange for the developer’s promise to expand the project’s affordable-housing component from 140 to 258 units.

But Boyd’s suit — which names the Department of City Planning and Cumbo as co-defendants, in addition to Cornell — alleges that the developers lied on re-zoning and building documents to underplay the scope of their proposed mixed-use project, misstating the amount of new residential units included in the development and ignoring vast swaths of affected land in a preliminary assessment of the project.

And fudging the numbers allowed the developers to illegally circumvent a much more thorough environmental review of the project, which the advocates claim would have demonstrated a serious strain on local sewers, roads, and schools as a result of the towers and the influx of new Crown Heights residents they would attract.

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Democratic Political Power and Massive Profits for Housing NYC’s Homeless

Landlords Under Fire for Raking in $188.7M for Housing NYC’s Homeless in Leased Properties

It was recently reported that New York City landlords, Jay and Stuart Podolsky are raising millions to house homeless New Yorkers after selling over 20 buildings to the city for a total of $173.5 million — more than the appraised value.

By: Marcus Tentrite

Financial documents show that the Brooklyn born brothers raked in approximately $188.7 million through the leasing of various properties over the last five years.

After selling 21 buildings to the city above market value, they will retain seven buildings to house the homeless — taking in millions of dollars.

New York City officials told the New York Post last Thursday that the program will cease to exist by December of 2020.

“As we continue our shelter transformation plan, we are phasing out all of their remaining shelter locations by the end of next year,” Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for the City’s Department of Homeless Services, told The Post.

The brothers raked in massive profits by providing space to the city for the purpose of providing shelter to the city’s homeless population under two different programs — traditional shelters and “cluster” units.

The City’s purchase of the 20 plus apartment buildings in Brooklyn and the Bronx formalized the acquisition of the clusters that were owned by the Podolsky brothers and earned $48.6 million between July 2013 and June 2018.

The pair also leased eight buildings as additional shelters, where they made a larger profit — $140.1 million over the same five-year period of time.

Someone who is employed by the City of New York told The Post recently that they shut down one of the Podolsky standard shelters in December 2018, reducing the number of shelters owned by the pair to seven.

New York’s Department of Homeless Services never entered into an agreement directly with the brothers, but, rather signed contracts with nonprofit organizations which rented space in buildings owned by the pair and then billed City Hall for reimbursement.

The unusual payment relationship hid the amount of money which the brothers made in a relatively short period of time.

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2000 Pages, a Political Power Broker,$26M in Faulty Rent Assumptions and de Blasio

City overvalued Podolsky portfolio by $26M, uncovered docs show

The city’s $173 million purchase of 21 buildings from the Podolsky brothers has attracted scrutiny because of the sellers’ past, their political connections and the price tag itself. A late Monday document dump is poking even more holes in the official version of events.

According to 2,000 pages of documents subpoenaed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Hall overvalued the buildings by $26 million using faulty rent assumptions, the New York Post reported.

The city’s $173 million purchase of 21 buildings from the Podolsky brothers has attracted scrutiny because of the sellers’ past, their political connections and the price tag itself. A late Monday document dump is poking even more holes in the official version of events.

According to 2,000 pages of documents subpoenaed by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Hall overvalued the buildings by $26 million using faulty rent assumptions, the New York Post reported.

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NYC Power Brokers, NYC Slumlord Buildings and Disingenuous Valuations

Bill de Blasio

City overpaid for slumlord buildings, assuming rent would cover cost

City Hall inflated the value of the 21 buildings it bought off two notorious, politically wired slumlords for $173 million by assuming they will generate far more rent than they’ll actually receive, documents released late Monday show.

The 2,000-page document dump came in response to a subpoena issued by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, a fierce critic of the purchase.

“It’s a shame that it took a subpoena from the Comptroller’s Office for the City to release what should have been public information about a multimillion dollar deal,” said Stringer spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays.

City Hall bought the buildings — 17 in the Bronx and four in Brooklyn — from Jay and Stuart Podolsky, brothers who pleaded guilty of felonies from a tenant harassment scheme in the 1980s.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly argued the price was fair, considering the circumstances and a desire to avoid a legal fight.

“We attempted in negotiation with that threat on the table and what became clear was that the actual market price was higher than we would have liked it be; but that was the market price,” he said on NY1 last week.

However, the documents dumped cast new shadows on that claim.

De Blasio’s defense rests on the city’s most generous evaluation, which pegged the value of the buildings at $143 million.

The records show the Law Department appraisers arrived at that figure by assuming roughly half of the units would qualify for lucrative rents through a Department of Social Services program. That’s despite DSS having no plans to put clients in the buildings, officials acknowledged late Monday.

Instead, officials plan to use the 729 apartments for rent-stabilized housing. That usage cuts the buildings’ value to just $117 million.

At one 25-unit Bronx building, the Law Department’s appraisal assumes that DSS subsidized one-bedroom apartments will generate $1,637 a month in rent for 13 apartments.

The building’s eight other one-bedroom apartments will fetch an average of just $991 a month under rent stabilization.

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Politics, Not…. Well… As Usual – Rockland County, NY, Political Favoritism, Nepotism, Corruption and a DA’s Race

Rockland Democratic District Attorney Candidates release joint statement on Zebrowski campaign

 

JOINT STATEMENT RELEASED FROM ROCKLAND DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT ATTORNEYS CANDIDATES – ALFIERI, GUNNING, AND WALSH.

Zebrowski Tries to Boot Democratic Opponents from Election

In an effort to distract from the issues, Ken Zebrowski and his campaign filed objections to the petitions of the only two former prosecutors in the race to be Rockland District Attorney. Zebrowski supporter and neighbor, Ronald Hanna, filed objections to both Patricia Gunning and Victor Alfieri’s Democratic petitions to get on the ballot for the June election. Despite Zebrowski’s self-professed legal experience and skills, even his petition challenges are replete with mistakes, duplications of objections, and frivolous claims. So despite paying out-of-county canvassers for many of the signatures and strong arming Democratic committee members to collect the rest of the signatures on his behalf, Ken Zebrowski is seeking to throw out hundreds of valid Democratic signatures, all in an effort to reduce the field of qualified candidates. In filing these frivolous challenges, weaponizing the very election law loopholes he’s helped shape in Albany, Ken is seemingly displaying a remarkable level of contempt for the very voters whose support he seeks.

“I am not a politician. I entered the race with the hope that the campaign would be about the merits – each candidates’ qualifications, each candidates’ vision for the office,” said Patricia Gunning. “When I announced my candidacy, I had respect for my rumored and announced opponents. Now, I know that respect was misplaced.”

“The Office of District Attorney is not a place for legal lightweights. This is a job that demands experience and expertise,” said Victor Alfieri. “As someone who does not even practice criminal law in his private practice, Ken Zebrowski would need to be taught the ropes and is simply unprepared to be District Attorney. That is why he wants two candidates with real world experience in a courtroom as prosecutors off the ballot.”

“As the first woman to run for District Attorney, Ms. Gunning is clearly a qualified candidate who deserves to be on the ballot.

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