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Thursday, December 31, 2009

DHCR Commissioner/RIOC Chairperson VanAmerongen Resigns To Take Position With Affordable Housing Law Firm - What Does This Mean For Roosevelt Island?

Image of Deborah VanAmerongen From DHCR

A reader sent in this link to a New York Observer artcle reporting that Deborah VanAmerongen, the Commissioner of New York State's Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) has resigned to take a job with the Nixon Peabody law firm. In her capacity as Commissioner of DHCR, Ms VanAmerongen was also the Chairperson of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corportation's Board of Directors (RIOC). According to the NY Observer:
... Ms. VanAmerongen is jumping to the private sector ship, joining a firm that has an active affordable housing group and one that does significant work with Ms. VanAmerongen's agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, including deals this year. Of course this public sector-to-private sector shift is not all that uncommon—City Council Land Use Chairwoman Melinda Katz, for instance, is headed to the law firm Greenberg Traurig, which represents developers before the Council. A spokeswoman for the DHCR said Ms. VanAmerongen recused herself from decisions with the potential for conflict of interest.

Steve Wallace, a partner who heads Nixon Peabody's affordable housing group, said Ms. VanAmerongen, who is not an attorney, will be a "strategic policy adviser," offering guidance on affordable housing issues in New York and nationally...
There are currently and will continue to be affordable housing issues for Roosevelt Island particularly in regard to the ongoing privatization efforts at the Mitchell Lama Rivercross, Island House and Westview buildings. Be interesting to see what role, if any, Ms. VanAmerongen and Nixon Peabody have in the future for Roosevelt Island Affordable Housing.

UPDATE 1/6/10 - More here.


Anonymous said...

What it means for Roosevelt Island is yet another new DHCR Commissioner who won't know anything about R. I. or its issues.

Anonymous said...

VanAmerongen should disclose her business dealings with Nixon Peabody as commissioner. How well has this firm done during her tenure?

Anonymous said...

Good riddance. I am sure that the "official" word will be she recused herself from Nixon Peabody discussions when she knew she was going to work for them. How long was that period? Nixon Peabody and its clients got sweetheat deals from her when she was at HUD and DHCR. Guess it is payup time since VanAmerongen failed at getting the HPD Commisioner position she desperately wanted.

Anonymous said...

The NYS Public Integrety Commission should investigate this one; it stinks!

Anonymous said...

You guys have all the answers, but don't know squat. At least Ms. VanAmerongen made her meetings with the RIOC Board of Directors. Her predecesor and the person who comes next .... No Shows. You'll see. All of you want to throw stones and nit-pick.

I worked with her and she has integrity. Good for her that she's moved on to a higher paying job. Public Service is a thankless job. If any of you could do it, you'd all jump to make more money for you & your families too.

Anonymous said...

I always found her pleasant and willing to listen. I wish her luck in her new endeavor. I hope the next Commissioner doesn't forget about Roosevelt Island.

Anonymous said...

It is great for one to seek advancement but Ms. VanAmerongen always talked about transparency and ethical conduct. It does seem a bit hypocritical, and possibly unethical, to gain employment with a firm who did a great deal of business before your own agency. Didn't she "strenghten" regulations to eliminate this type of questionalable conduct? Do as I say, not as I do.

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