From the NY Post:
It's the grandaddy of all sweetheart deals.
First the city gave away land to a senior-citizens group linked to Assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez. Now the city pays sky-high rent to the Lopez-founded group for the same property.
"It's kooky -- the city is paying for something it doesn't have to," said a city official who looked into the matter.
The official said the rental agreement is part of mounting evidence that the city favors the politically connected Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, which is run by Lopez's campaign treasurer and his girlfriend.
For years, the city paid between $112,150 and $157,000 in rent -- on top of operating expenses -- to the Ridgewood group to run the Diana Jones Senior Center on Flushing Avenue.
But last year, Ridgewood reopened the senior center at the group's housing development on the old Rheingold Brewery site -- which the city had turned over to Ridgewood to develop with taxpayer money.
Since the move, the rent has more than doubled: Ridgewood started billing the city $408,000 a year in rent, according to data from the Department for the Aging.
The city negotiated the rent down to $360,000, still more than twice the rent the city paid for the old location, which was in a building the Ridgewood group didn't own and had to pay for.