From the NY Post:
A federal housing scandal that left thousands of New Yorkers living in ramshackle homes turned out to be a pot of gold for a not-for-profit group closely linked to powerful Assemblyman Vito Lopez, The Post has learned.
The agency founded by Lopez wound up buying 25 of the abandoned buildings from the feds for a miniscule $10, property records show. And if that wasn’t enough of a deal, the feds threw in $24 million to pay to repair the dilapidated buildings.
Now, the Lopez-backed Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council is hauling in federally subsidized rent from 100 apartments, plus rent from four storefronts in buildings scattered around a steadily gentrifying Bushwick.
The not-for-profit, which was founded by Lopez in 1973, wound up with a total of 49 buildings that were among the sites abandoned by unscrupulous flip-and-run scam artists a decade ago.
In addition to the 25 rental buildings, the RBSCC wound up redeveloping another 18 into affordable co-op buildings, with six more still waiting to be renovated. For that project, the not-for-profit received another $16 million from Washington.
"Outside of the Housing Authority, Ridgewood Bushwick is the biggest not-for-profit landlord in the neighborhood," said longtime housing activist, the Rev. John Pawis, retired priest at St. Barbara’s Church in Bushwick.
Pawis, who has led tenants in the fight to redevelop their own buildings, said Lopez uses his political influence to steer all the projects to his not-for-profits.