Pols come to aid of I.P.N. tenants; demand appeal, reversal of court ruling

Tenants seeking permission to appeal a recent court decision that makes rent regulation optional for J-51 landlords, were joined by a slew of local politicians, including NYS Sen. Daniel Squadron (at podium) on Thursday, May 3. Photo courtesy of Sen. Daniel Squadron's office.

BY JOHN BAYLES | A slew of local politicians stood outside Independence Plaza North in Tribeca on Thurs., May 3 to decry a recent court ruling they deemed a critical blow to the future of affordable housing in New York City.

The press conference was spurred by a decision last month by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court that ruled in favor of I.P.N. developer Laurence Gluck. The court ruling said if a landlord receiving J-51 benefits decided to “retroactively” repay them, the apartments would no longer be rent-stabilized.

Last week, local politicians and I.P.N. tenants made their case for an appeal and reversal.

“Simply put, without affordability at I.P.N., our community would not be what it is today.  J-51 is not just meant to provide a tax break — it’s meant to ensure the kind of affordability and stability that I.P.N. has long provided and that makes New York the vibrant and diverse place it is today,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “A fair hearing is critical for I.P.N. and for the tens of thousands across the City who may also be affected. Thank you to the tenants and to my colleagues in government for standing up for affordability.”

“We are faced with an affordable housing crisis in New York City, and developments like [I.P.N.] are absolutely critical for low and moderate income families,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “The J-51 program has been a vital tool for maintaining affordability throughout the city and must be preserved. Moreover, owners who accepted tax breaks in exchange for a commitment to affordability should not now be given the opportunity to renege on that commitment.”

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called I.P.N. the “last bastion of truly affordable housing in Tribeca.”

“Let’s be clear, the intent of the J-51 tax abatement program was to shore up the physical condition of our local building stock and protect tenants by keeping their rents affordable,” said Stringer. “The State Supreme Court decision will have far reaching consequences beyond [I.P.N.] and it is imperative that the highest echelons of the State judiciary give this case the hearing that it deserves.”

NYC Council Member Margaret Chin noted the court’s decision would give a green light to landlords wishing to deregulate their apartments, and would allow them to “terminate their participation in the J-51 program by repaying the benefits they have received.” Chin added that the decision “has no basis in current law.”

“We were very disappointed by the recent court ruling against the tenants and concerned that it might lead to arbitrary rent increases and possibly eviction,” said Julie Menin, Chair of Community Board 1. “Keeping affordable housing in our district is a vitally important priority for us. We support the application by the tenants for permission to appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals and intend to file an amicus brief on their behalf.”

The April ruling upheld a decision by a federal court judge almost year ago, that said Gluck did not break the law when he deregulated the building and removed it from the Mitchell- Llama, rent stabilized housing program in 2004 while simultaneously receiving J-51 tax credits.

I.P.N.’s tenants association thought they had won the battle against Stellar Management, the company where Gluck serves as CEO, when in August 2010 a state Supreme Court judge ruled that the 1,328 units had been illegally deregulated.

However, Gluck appealed that ruling on the basis that the city Department of Finance was responsible for the mistake that led to the J-51 tax credits being issued after the building had been removed from the Mitchell-Llama program.

Gluck repaid the amount resulting from the J-51 tax credits, including interest, dating back to June 2004.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Pols come to aid of I.P.N. tenants; demand appeal, reversal of court ruling

  1. AS A RESIDENT OF TRIBECA I SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND URGE THE COURT TO ALLOW AN APPEAL OF RECENT COURT DECISION. STELLAR MANAGEMENT AND LAURENCE GLUCK RECEIVED J-51 BENEFITS AND IPN SHOULD BE RENT STABILIZED.

  2. Wow these tenants are greedy – does anyone really think that a guy is going to agree to keep his apartments (worth tens of millions) rent stabilized so he can save $7,500/year on his property taxes? u00a0Really? u00a0Do you really expect reasonable people to be on your side on this issue? u00a0These tenants are greedier than Gluck. u00a0They are ridiculous.

  3. charles Babbage

    How is it that 4 judges can hand over the homes of 1000's of New Yorkers to a landlord/developer who has demonstrated time and again unethical and illegal maneuvers against his tenants, not only at IPN but in several other apartment complexes in NYC? Occupy Stellar Management!

  4. I have been a tenant here for over 15 years with my partner. She died tragically of a heart attack last year so there are many issues for me with holding onto my "home," after all these years. Please understand that no one here is being unreasonable or greedy. We are the people who have been in the u00a0apartments through the first terror attack on the Towers, the loss of JFK Jr. (which I believe was the start of the escalation of interest in the neighborhood), and of course 911. We all watched in horror and were displaced and scared at what the future held, traumatized almost like being through a terrible war. We have all been affected permanently but more importantly, we should have enormous Federal sentimental support in that we lived with the fear and still do that we have been forever affected physically, spiritually, and now residentially by the profundity of the event. I feel very strongly in the united feeling that we all lived through something extraordinary which almost makes the bond stronger to question the greed of a new landlord who doesn't understand one bit what we all have been through. We stayed in our homes in spite of the terror, in spite of watching the area go from desolate to inhabitable, and then watch in horror as the rents around us were being raised out of the ballpark. Thanks to the marvelous community politicians and lawyers who dedicate their time and great minds to great causes for the people whose only power is the strength of many.u00a0

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