Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein report in the New York Post that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is attempting a Soviet-style takeover of 1,200 privately-owned co-op buildings in what critics charge is a blatant effort to artificially boost his affordable-housing numbers.
The Stalinesque secrecy of the plot — developed over two years behind closed doors — has alarmed some lawmakers, who wrote to the city last week to put the plan on hold.
The private co-ops were once derelict buildings in neighborhoods like Harlem, Washington Heights and the Lower East Side that the cash-strapped city sold to residents beginning in the 1980s for as little at $250 per unit. The city was happy to off-load the headache properties, which had been abandoned by absentee landlords or seized from tax deadbeats. They resembled urban war zones, with blown-out windows, no doors, heat or running water and junkies overdosing in the hallways. Over the years, the homesteaders banded together to create livable apartments, and at the same time revitalized blighted neighborhoods.
Now, the city wants to seize control of what have become valuable assets, and livid residents are preparing for a legal war to stop it.
“Clearly, the city is attempting a land grab and it’s not progressive because [it is] … while attacking the property rights of low, moderate and middle income people and trying to take the only thing that they have in the world,” said John McBride, a co-op owner and a leader of the opposition. Read more at the New York Post.