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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is DHCR Waging War Against Roosevelt Island's Rivercross Tenants? Tenants Will Fight Back With Lawsuit!

Image of Rivercross Complex Cowl Vents from Brian Patrick

This earlier post described DHCR's plan to increase the surcharge on Mitchell-Lama Rivercross Co-op residents whose income exceeds the maximum allowed for the building. The DHCR is attempting to impose this increase despite opposition by the Rivercross Board of Directors and knowledge by Commissioner Van Amerongen's that any rent surcharge increase will result in a lawsuit. That lawsuit by the Rivercross Tenants Corp. will now be filed according to the memorandum below.

A reader sends the following memo announcing that the Rivercross Tenants Corp. will bring a lawsuit against DHCR alleging an illegal order by DHCR increasing the surcharge and abuse of governmental power.

Read this document on Scribd: rivercrosssurchargememo

It will be interesting to see how the DHCR seeks to justify overruling the business judgement of the Rivercross Board. After all, as the Main Street WIRE reported in a prior 2001 case involving a Rivercross rent surcharge increase agreed to by both DHCR and the Board, the Appellate Division of the NY State Supreme Court ruled:
DHCR rationally construes the PHFL [Public Housing Finance Law] to allow Mitchell-Lama cooperatives to be responsible for creating their own individual surcharge schedules, in recognition of the business and practical factors unique to each..."
Now, on this issue of a rent increase surcharge the DHCR and Rivercross Board disagree and DHCR is seeking to overturn the business judgement of the Rivercross Board. A reader comments:
Seems like DHCR might be in an interesting position, having at one time argued that it could leave decisions to the cooperative board(and won!) and now ordering that same cooperative board to impose a higher surcharge?
Another reader comments:
DHCR is waging war against Rivercross. I didn't see any righteous indignation when they let Eastwood (with deep subsidies and truly poor people) out of the Mitchell Lama program. Now DHCR is "saving" Rivercross for who? The vast majority of the building has voted to explore leaving the program 3 or 4 times now. Apparently DHCR knows better...
I don't know if the rent surcharge increase is justified or not but the issue is who decides? Is it the buildings shareholders and Board of Directors or is it Commissioner Van Amerongen , DHCR and the State of New York?

Here is January 2008 interview with DHCR Commissioner Van Amerongen conducted by the Main Street WIRE and January 2008 statement by Assemblymember Micah Kellner on Tax Equivalency bill for WIRE buildings including Rivercross.


Anonymous said...

The increase sure is justified. Those folks make more than the maximum allowed household income. This is a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

The above comment is made from a standpoint of ignorance. Shall we means test the tram as well? How about tomatoes at Gristedes? Co-ops on Park Ave. don't charge maintenance based on income, why should Rivercross? Successive DHCR administrations have persecuted Rivercross because they're a square peg that does not fit into the DHCR hole - and a hole it surely is. The good Mitchell Lama buildings have left or are leaving the program, leaving the dregs. The more good ones that leave, the more the remaining porfolio looks bad. The whole ML co-op concept is flawed: do you really own your own home when it's value is limited to less than the price of a Toyota Corolla? Successive administrations do not seem to want to recognize the provisions of Article II of the Private Housing Finance Law, and have to be taken to court so that the PHFL is properly adhered to. It's a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Most people in NYC pay market rate prices for their apartments. I understand the need for low and middle income housing but there is also a need to put a cap on how much one is allowed to make a year in order to be qualified. Once you exceed it make room for somebody else who needs a cheap apartment more urgently than you. That's how YOU got into your place in the first place as well, no?

Anonymous said...

Nobody got into Rivercross out of urgency or dire need. Before DHCR forced Rivercross to use a Soviet-style waiting list, it was an open system, and the seller chose the buyer. Rivercross was NOT originally marketed to those in need in ANY sense of the imagination. The original 4 WIRE buildings were conceived to have income DIVERSITY, and as such, Rivercross invited those with considerable incomes. The late Buddy Hackett odwned an apartment, for instance. DHCR wasn't even in existence when the WIRE buildings were opened; the predecessor agency was much less zealous and doctrinaire in its approach. Thus, it is inappropriate for various individuals today to in any way villify the unit owners or the Board of Rivercross. All of Rivercross' privatization plans from the outset have always intended to make sure that ALL its current unit owners are able to remain in the building - these are not units to be allocated by DHCR to indigents. And if you think DHCR does a great job supervising "affordable" properties in NYC and NY State, read last year's IG report and look up some properties and go check them out. Many are quite affordable - and there's plenty of room for you!!

Anonymous said...

Are there income restrictions on the roommates these Co-op owners are adding to their apts? Because I see a lot of them advertising for roommates on the Internet and the rents they are charging seem high. What is the rule on that with a Mitchell Llama building?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line...I agree also the increase is justified. While there are people out there who are looking for affordable apts. People who are beyond the income eligibility are taking those spots needed so they should pay the increase or move out since they do not meet eligiblity requirement. They surely can afford to live elsewhere. The person who first posted is not ignorant but speaks the truth. The person who posted the second post is the true ignorant. We live in the 20th century not in the past so as standards of living increase and income increases so do rents. If you exceed the eligibility requirement you should pay the increase instead of rob people who need affordable housing out of their fair share to live affordably. Here is some advice...if you have a conscious...if you exceed the eligibility requirement pay the increase or move the hell out. People have the right to have affordable housing and your just abusing that right by robbing others of affordable housing.

Anonymous said...

I live in Eastwood and wish DHCR would do something about the Bedbugs on the 7th floor.