Kings County Politics
The city attempted to take all the properties under the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) Third Party Transfer (TPT) program, and in which KCP has been doing an ongoing investigative series.
Under the TPT program, the city seizes properties they deem “distressed,” and give them to the public/private non-profit Neighborhood Restore, who in turn give the property for a nominal fee to a qualified non-profit or for-profit developer. The program was created in the late 1970s, when the city had a large number of abandoned and neglected buildings.
However, with gentrification, these properties, and others in the same program, are now worth millions of dollars in market value. Almost all were completely paid for with no mortgage and located in traditionally black and brown neighborhoods, which are becoming increasingly gentrified.
When the city takes property under TPT, they give no equity to the property owners, who in many of the cases paid thousands of dollars in back taxes and water bills to the Department of Finance, which was never registered as being paid.
Partnow rulings were on six separate property cases that came before his court. Two of the properties – 25 McDonough Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and 19 Kingsland Avenue in Williamsburg/Bushwick were the subject of several of the KCP stories. The other properties Partnow ruled on were 1055 Bergen Street in Crown Heights, 972 Rutland Road on the Brownsville/Crown Heights border, 315 Harman Street in Bushwick and 463 Classon Avenue in Clinton Hill.
“The City has particularly targeted properties that are owned by minorities. The court recognizes that home ownership is an important means for families to build intergenerational wealth. While the Third Party Transfer Program was intended to be a beneficial program, an overly broad and improper application of it that results in the unfair divestiture of equity in one’s property cannot be permitted,” wrote Partnow in his ruling.
Partnow found several problems with the taking of all these properties including a lack of process in serving property owners that their property was being taken, and that the properties in questions never met the definition of being distressed.
But time and again, in each of the cases Partnow noted the city took properties worth millions of dollars without giving any equity/compensation to the owners.
“The transfer of the Kingsland property to Neighborhood Restore is also unconscionable and shocking in the conscience of the court based on the amount of the City’s lien versus the substantial value of the Kingsland property. In addition, since the Kingsland property is not a distressed property, the taking of it through the Third Party Transfer program would constitute an unlawful taking of private property without just compensation in violation of Kingsland’s HDFC’s constitutional rights under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Consitution and article 1, section 7, of the New York State Constitution,” he wrote.
Anyone seen the former HPD director Alicia Glen lately? Because her dirty vampire calimari hands are all over this.
Admin note: if anyone is not familiar with her background, she previously worked at Goldman Sachs in their Urban Investment Group dept., which this neighborhood would certainly meet it's qualification for "urban" and it's gentrification as "investment". As for my description, she sardonically replied in a Vanity Fair article about Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi's description of GS as a Great Vampire Squid by saying that her former employer are actually nice little calimari.
Long story short, this woman should be indicted and arraigned on punitive charges for what she did to these homeowners while running HPD.