Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Republican Coup in State Senate Jeopardizes Tenant Bills

Landlords said they were "pleasantly thrilled" (NY Daily News) when State Senators Pedro Espada (facing ethics charges) and Hiram Monserrate (facing criminal charges for domestic violence) threw their lot with the Republicans, upsetting the Democrats' 5-month-old control of the NYS Senate.

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Money seems to have been the main issue.

According to Crain's New York Business.com,

[Former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm] Smith’s spokesman, Austin Shafran, said on the New York Post’s Fred Dicker’s radio show Tuesday morning that the Democratic leader’s refusal to approve Mr. Espada’s requests for funding was what drove the Bronx senator into the GOP’s arms. “He was trying to give $2 million to sham groups,” Mr. Shafran said.


For one organization, called Bronx Human Services, Mr. Espada provided an address that proved to be the home of the counsel to his committee, Daniel Pagano. Another address he gave was traced to Soundview HealthCare Network, which Mr. Espada used to run and is now being investigated by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.


A third organization, Green Eco Energy, was submitted by Mr. Espada with the East Meadow, N.Y., home address of Soundview’s medical director. “We have some pictures of it,” Mr. Shafran said.


When Mr. Espada’s requests were flagged, the spokesman said, the senator altered the addresses. “He was trying to cover up where the money was going,” Mr. Shafran said. “Malcolm Smith would not give in to it. Sen. Smith prevented him from doing this. He stood on his principles, knowing that this was something that could likely cost him the support of Pedro Espada.”


Mr. Smith stripped Mr. Monserrate of his committee chairmanship and its $12,500 annual stipend after his fellow Queens senator was indicted for allegedly cutting his girlfriend’s face with a broken drinking glass. Mr. Monserrate has pleaded not guilty. He would be expelled from the Senate if convicted of a felony.


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The lawsuit that landlords brought to overturn the state housing agency's regulations is now even more important. Gluck and other landlords sued the Division of Housing & Community Renewal to overturn the November 2007 regulations that say that just leaving Mitchell-Lama is not a "unique or peculiar circumstance" justifying an increase in the starting stabilized rent.


Hear all about the June 3rd hearing at our tenants' association meeting this


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10th at 8 PM in the Community Room.


Other items on the agenda are

  • our new building manager
  • what we've won so far through our DHCR complaint on reduction of building services
  • finances
  • Rent Guidelines Board hearings
  • and more!
BRING A CHAIR AND A NEIGHBOR !

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