New York City Council Loses Lawsuit Against NYCHA

By Kristen Meriwether, Epoch Times
December 5, 2013 Last Updated: December 5, 2013

NEW YORK—The New York Supreme Court ruled against the New York City Council in its lawsuit against NYCHA, according to court documents filed Wednesday. The Council, along with the Baruch Houses Tenants Association, was trying to prevent luxury condos from being built on NYCHA property.

In 2013 NYCHA unveiled a proposal to sell parcels of the publicly owned land in Manhattan to private developers. The money raised from the sale would help to reduce the $6 billion in capital debt NYCHA faces.

Only 20 percent of the units built would be considered “affordable housing,” with 80 percent being market rate. Tenants groups objected, saying the plan was being rushed and that the public land should be used to create more affordable housing, not luxury spaces.

In the ruling, which was issued on Dec.2 but not filed until Dec. 4, the court argued that NYCHA did not violate the Housing Act by not being forthcoming with plans.

“Today’s court decision is about timing—not an affirmation of NYCHA’s authority to implement the land lease initiative,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said in a statement. “This ruling does not prevent the City Council from returning to court on the merits if and when the NYCHA Board approves a developer.”

Quinn will leave office at the end of the year, along with 21 Council members. The Council will vote for a new Speaker in early January and it is not known if they will continue with another lawsuit.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has said he would not keep NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, but de Blasio has been non-committal as to whether he would continue with the plan.