Friday, April 1, 2016

Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation 667


Last Week True News Reported That Allure Closed A Second Nursing Home In Brooklyn Today the AG Issued Subpoenas 
AG investigating nursing home operator to see if itmisled health officials before it turned Bedford-Stuyvesant property intoluxury condos (NYDN) The nursing home operator under scrutiny for a deed-switch that turned a Lower East Side nursing home into luxury condos is now the subject of another investigation in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas Wednesday to investigate whether Allure Group misled state health officials to turn a Nostrand Ave. nursing home into residential apartments in gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant, where rents are rising dramatically. That same day, the city Buildings Department issued a stop work order at the site becuase of a "commissioner’s re-inspection" of the permit applications. The city wants to know whether it was lied to in granting permits for apartments on a property that was being used as a nursing home. The allegations are similar to the switcheroo Allure allegedly pulled to get a deed change allowing them to sell a Rivington St. building restricted for use as a nursing home to a luxury condo developer for a quick $72 million profit. The Bed-Stuy deal involves a four-story nursing home at 270 Nostrand Ave. that Allure Group's principals bought from the nonprofit CABS Nursing Home on June 30 for $15.6 million. The nursing home operator under scrutiny for a deed-switch that turned a Lower East Side nursing home into luxury condos is now the subject of another investigation in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas Wednesday to investigate whether Allure Group misled state health officials to turn a Nostrand Ave. nursing home into residential apartments in gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant, where rents are rising dramatically. That same day, the city Buildings Department issued a stop work order at the site becuase of a "commissioner’s re-inspection" of the permit applications. The city wants to know whether it was lied to in granting permits for apartments on a property that was being used as a nursing home. The allegations are similar to the switcheroo Allure allegedly pulled to get a deed change allowing them to sell a Rivington St. building restricted for use as a nursing home to a luxury condo developer for a quick $72 million profit. The Bed-Stuy deal involves a four-story nursing home at 270 Nostrand Ave. that Allure Group's principals bought from the nonprofit CABS Nursing Home on June 30 for $15.6 million. hat same day, Landau notified the health department he'd completely reversed course and now planned to close the nursing home. On Feb. 12, the Health Department approved the transfer, and Schneiderman's office signed on with a "no objection" based on DOH's determination. As of Wednesday, however, it appears the deal is on hold — between Schneiderman's subpoenaes and the city Building Department's stop-work order. The city claims it was already burned by the Allure Group when it changed a deed on a Rivington St. building restricted for use as a non-profit. Allure then sold it to a builder of luxury condos. That transaction is also being looked at by Schneiderman, as well as the city Department of Investigation and city Controller Scott Stringer.*  City issues stop-work order at AIDS hospice flipped for $72M (NYP)
Seth Barron Retweeted Charmian Neary Gary Tilzer @unitedNYblogs deserves a Pulitzer Prize



From Last Monday's True News
Allure the Middle Man in Lobbyists Capalino Village Nursing Home Deal Played the Same Role In the Conversion of A Brooklyn Nursing Home  Into Luxury Housing in A Gentrifying Neighborhood
Park Developers planning 241-unit resi building inBed-Stuy (Real Deal)Sunset Park-based construction firm Park Developers and Builders is planning a new 241-unit residential building at 270 Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to permit applications filed Friday with the Department of Buildings.  The building would rise seven stories and span nearly 164,000 square feet, with frontage on Nostrand and DeKalb avenues and Kosciuszko Street, according to the filing. Park Developers filed demolition plans for an existing four-story nursing home on the site in September.  The filing indicates 45 residential units on each of the second through sixth floors and 21 apartments on the seventh floor. The new building would also get a 121-car parking garage. Marvin Rubin, senior managing partner of nursing home operator the Allure Group, acquired the property from CABS Nursing Home Co. for $15.6 million in June and Sold It to A luxury Developers 5 Months Later, according to city property records. Bay Ridge-based Allure Group lists the property on its website as the Nostrand Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and no property records indicate a sale of the property to Park Developers — which may have filed plans for the residential building as a contractor on behalf of Rubin and the Allure Group.* The 
de Blasio administration has ordered all work to stop at Rivington House, the Lower East Side property that sold for a $72 million profit after the city mysteriously lifted deed restrictions.
Another corruption story unfolding toward which Gary Tilzer was trying to get attention for who knows how long.




AG Subpoenas Lobbyist Capalino, Allure Others - But Not Clear if Anyone From City Govt
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened a probe into the suspicious deed change at the formerRivington House nursing home for AIDS patients.​ Subpoenas were sent last week to several players involved in the deal, including seller Allure Group, according to a spokesman for Schneiderman. This follows similar subpoenas by City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Councilwoman Margaret Chin.  [Wall Street Journal]

What Did de Blasio Know About Turning An Aids Nursing Home Into Luxury Housing And When Did He Know it'?
Schneiderman subpoenas parties linked to Manhattan real estate deal  (PoliticoNY)  The city’s top lobbyist, a nursing home operator and a property appraisal firm are among those who have been subpoenaed by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman as part of an investigation he has opened into an ongoing city land use scandal. Schneiderman’s office sent the subpoenas to eight parties involved with the sale of Rivington House, a former nursing home for people with AIDS that is in the process of being converted into luxury condos on the Lower East Side. City officials at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) enabled the conversion by signing off on lifting a deed restriction that required the property be maintained as a health care facility.  The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit issued subpoenas to lobbyist James Capalino; the Allure Group; and Metropolitan Valuation Services, an appraisal company. Sources familiar with the subpoenas confirmed those recipients. A source within the attorney general’s office confirmed that there had been other subpoenas sent as well, but none to city governmental officials. Martin Levine, the chairman of Metropolitan Valuation Services, an appraisal company that Allure Group attempted to hire, confirmed that his office has received a subpoena in relation with the inquiry. He also said that his firm had not done any appraisal of the property and had undertaken no work in connection with its sale.  “We were asked to do an appraisal and said no,” Levine told POLITICO New York. Hinton confirmed that DCAS conducted an appraisal in December of 2014, two months after Allure initially inquired about changing the nonprofit site to a for-profit nursing home. Although Allure requested in April of 2015 that all restrictions on use be removed, DCAS did not conduct another appraisal. “The appraisal is based on fair market values. It has nothing to do with the restrictions,” Hinton said when asked why a second appraisal wasn’t conducted. When news of the sale was reported in the Wall Street Journal in March, de Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said, “The city was as disappointed as local residents to later learn not only that the property would no longer provide needed health services, but that the valuation of the deed restriction did not reflect current market values that could have generated affordable housing or other uses for the public’s benefit.” Levine said he agreed to speak with POLITICO because he wanted to try and make clear the appraisal of the property came from the city, not his firm.  “We certainly don’t want the real estate community to think we came up with that price,” Levine said. “That means the city came up with that number on their own. That's kind of scary,” he added, referring to what he considered an artificially low value. The attorney general’s office and the New York State Department of Health signed off on the first sale of the property, from VillageCare to Allure, which was granted after VillageCare sought court approval to sell the property.   A source within the attorney general’s office said Allure should have filed a court petition notifying the state of the sale of the property in spring 2015, when the company was considering selling the building to Slate. But Allure never filed the petition, and the sale never received the sign-off it required from Schneiderman’s office.* Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is investigating transactions that led to the sale of a Manhattan health-care facility to a residential developer, which adds to the scrutiny for Mayor Bill de Blasio, TheWall Street Journal reports: *Subpoenas from the office were sent out last week to several players involved in the deal, a spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. The subpoenas were from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, according to people familiar with the matter.* NYC may probe deal to turn nursing home into condos (NYDN) *  Michael Goodwin: “With subpoenas issued, investigations spreading and at least one federal grand jury at work, the question isn’t whether Bill de Blasio’s administration has a corruption problem. The questions are how big is the problem, how many agencies are tainted and how high up the pecking order does it go?”


Allure's Landau Contributed $5000 to de Blasio's 2013 Campaign 
Allure Group official Joel Landau reportedly donated nearly $5,000 to de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign; the Mayor says he’ll return the donation. [AMNY]


Even de Blasio's Union Pals Got Screwed By Allure
Group behind nursing home sale screwed de Blasio’s backers too (NYP) A subsidiary of the Allure Group — the company Mayor de Blasio accused of hosing the city in a land deal — stiffed one of Hizzoner’s biggest union backers, court documents claim. SEIU Local 1199 — which represents 200,000 health-care workers and is one of the mayor’s closest union allies — has sued the Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at least 14 times in Civil Court since 2010, records show. In that time, judges have ordered Hamilton Park to fork over more than $1.1 million to the union in back-benefit payments.



CM Chin Must Tell FBI AG and DOI the Name of the Mayor's Aide She Told About the Nursing Home Scandal
Why Didn't the Councilmember Chin Go to the Mayor?  Did She Get An Answer From the Mayoral Aide She Told Talk?

Councilwoman says she told City Hall of nursing home deal in December (PoliticoNY) City Councilwoman Margaret Chin said Wednesday that she alerted a City Hall staffer in December about the sale of a nursing home on Manhattan's Lower East Side to a luxury condo developer, the latest revelation in a case that is now under investigation by three government agencies. Chin described the staffer as a liaison to the Council who works in the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, though she would not divulge the person's name. She said they talked when Chin learned the nursing home on Rivington Street was not filling beds and seemed to be preparing to empty out and eventually sell. Around the same time, The Lo-Down reported the building might be sold to a market-rate residential developer. "We were wondering what happened and so I asked the liaison that I always talk to ... 'Hey, do you know this is happening? Can you check?' But, unfortunately, it's really the workers who alerted the community to what was going on in there because the beds weren't being filled," Chin said after a press conference Wednesday outside the site in her Lower East Side district. Chin characterized the staffer's response as: "They [City Hall] were looking into it 'cause they were as surprised as we were. The people that I spoke to, they were surprised." On Dec. 2, the Lo-Down reported, "neighbors in an adjacent building report they recently heard from a construction firm working with the Slate Property Group, which was anticipating a market rate residential conversion of the building." The mayor has also criticized his own staff for neglecting to inform him of the situation. He said he learned of it in late March, when it was reported in the Wall Street Journal.Had he known earlier, he said, he would've blocked the deal. His spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, said First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris found out in late February, when the new commissioner of DCAS, Lisette Camillo, brought it to his attention and said she wanted to halt all deed restriction changes. Shorris signed off on that ban, which is in place until the administration comes up with a new policy. Hinton has also said she is unaware of anyone at DCAS informing City Hall when the agency lifted the deed restrictions last November.*City Council weighing oversight hearings on Rivington deal (CapitalNY) ‘There is obviously a lot of concerns that have been raised with that transaction’

Chin Said She Warned the Mayor's Office About the Sale to the Aids Nursing Home to A Developer of Luxury Housing 
She also said several days ago that the Community Affairs Unit (CAU), which works under the Intergovernmental Affairs office, was informed of the matter by the local community board, "But no one understood the implications fully until late February." The community board sent a letter detailing the issue in December to CAU staffer Tommy Lin, who responded that he was looking into the matter, The Lo-Down reported. The Office of Management and Budget knew of the additional $16 million in January, when it modified the budget to reflect the revenue — a move the City Council signed off on in a vote to allow a series of changes to the budget, including new revenue. 




Cover-Up NY Pols Duck and Cover Getting to the Bottom of the Village Nursing Home Scandal 
The Community Board Letter That Went to de Blasio Warning Of Lifting Nursing Home Restrictions on the Deed Also Went to BP Brewer, Councilwoman Chin and Senator Squardon 
Update Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Borough President Gale Brewer, and Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Li are together calling for payback regarding the boondoggle that is the Rivington House. The triumvirate is holding a press conference later this morning outside 45 Rivington Street (11am) calling on the Mayor to “compensate the Lower East Side community for the loss of Rivington House.” (Yeah, good luck.) State Senator Daniel Squadron will also be in attendance. Chin and Brewer plan to outline a reform plan that prevents future community losses by “creating transparency requirements for city-imposed restrictions in real property deeds.”** Lawmakers demand city turn over $16M from nursing home flip (NYP) ** Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Lower East Side leaders are demanding that the city turn over the $16 million it received in a controversial land deal that led to the loss of a community facility, the Postwrites: 


Letter Warning MayorBill de Blasio of Rivington House Conversion Risks(NYT) A local community board, in a January letter to Mr. de Blasio, raised alarm over the lifting of a deed restriction last year on Rivington House, a former AIDS hospice on the Lower East Side, warning that it could be resold as luxury apartments. Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said Mr. de Blasio had never seen the letter and only learned that his administration had lifted the restrictions from news reports in late March, after the property had been sold to a developer.NYT MARCH 30, 2016  *  How Mayor de Blasio can prove he’s truly ‘livid’ over that $72 million scandal (NYP Ed) It took several days of embarrassing news stories — plus a Post editorial insisting he “should be furious” — but Mayor de Blasio finally declared himself “livid” over that $72 million nursing-home flip. Now he’s promising “there will certainly be consequences” and is threatening legal action, citing “a lot of evidence” that something unacceptable happened. That much has been obvious from the start — which is why the whole affair is being probed by the Department of Investigations and city Comptroller Scott Stringer. Last Thursday, DOI subpoenas began to go out to city workers and officers of Allure Group, the Brooklyn nursing-home operator at the center of the whole mess. Allure bought the Lower East Side property, then a residence for AIDS patients, and spoke of hoping to keep it as a health-care facility, as required in the building’s deed. But the city never got a written commitment — and Allure successfully lobbied to get all deed restrictions lifted. It then sold the building to a developer who plans to build luxury condos, netting $72 million. Despite objections from the local community board, the deed change sailed through with virtually no public input. “How did they get around this deed? I don’t understand it,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told Politico. Neither does anyone else — de Blasio insists the first he heard about it was when The Wall Street Journal reported on it. Of course, with DOI run by de Blasio crony Mark Peters, don’t expect its investigation to point to anyone high at City Hall.Perhaps Stringer can get to the bottom of it — but if the mayor wants to show his newfound anger is real, he should ask US Attorney Preet Bharara to get involved.* Allure Group owes city $5.2M in back taxes (CrainsNY)  The for-profit nursing home operator is at the center of the Rivington House sale Allure Group, the for-profit nursing home operator at the center of the Rivington House scandal, owes the city $5.2 million in back taxes, according to city records Chin Member Items Complaint asks JCOPE to probe City Councilwoman Chin’smember item that funded lobbying against plastic bags * Lower East Siders Demand Compensation From City AsNursing Home Goes Condo (Gothamist)
Update 
As RivingtonHouse Scandal Looms, Pols Call For Reform To Deed Restrictions (Curbed)  Ask the city to introduce a public notification process while considering the lifting of a deed In light of the scandal surrounding Rivington House, a group of elected officials are now demanding that the city change the existing laws pertaining to deed restrictions and make the whole process more transparent. At press conference outside of the nursing home facility this morning, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer outlined a plan that they hope will prevent future situations like the one taking place at Rivington House right now. So here's what they want if the city considers lifting any deed restrictions:
  • Public notice to the local community board, borough president, and City Council members.
  • An online database on properties where the city has imposed deed restrictions. And that that database have information such as location, information on the owners, a description of restrictions and why they were put in place, and images of the requisite property documents



Nursing HomeGATE NYP Says Heads Need to Role True News Asks Where Are the City Hall Subpoenas? 
De Blasio’s still passing the buck for a $72 million outrage  (NYP Ed) With each passing day, more and more information emerges suggesting City Hall was well aware that something suspicious was going on with the sale of that Lower East Side nursing home. Mayor de Blasio blames lower-level officials for keeping him in the dark. Funny: He has yet to hold a single one of them accountable for lifting deed restrictions so the site could become a luxury condo development — netting its owners a $72 million windfall.  Councilwoman Margaret Chin says she complained to a liaison from the mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs last December that the facility, which treated AIDS patients, appeared to be closing down. He said he was looking into it. She’d picked up on the report by a Lower East Side news site that the building was being prepared for “a market rate residential conversion.” The local Community Board also raised alarms. On learning that the city had agreed the month before to lift the restrictions that required the property to remain a health-care facility, the board demanded to know why — and for the decision to be reversed. The board’s resolution reportedly was sent to both the mayor and Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camillo. Yet the mayor and his top aides all insist they knew nothing about the deal until last month, when The Wall Street Journal reported it. Oh, and no one seems to have realized that Allure, the Brooklyn nursing-home operator that got the deed changed and then sold the building for windfall profits, owed the city $6 million in back taxes. De Blasio claims he’s “livid” over this mess — but not angry enough to actually hold anyone responsible. That’s in sharp contrast to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who Thursday began shaking up the NYPD over the unfolding corruption scandal. It’s nice that Mayor de Blasio has now changed the process for OK’ing such deed changes — but it’s not enough. New Yorkers deserve answers — and a few rolling heads.



City's Dept of Health Knew About Allure Closing the Brooklyn Nursing Home  
Officials ignored warnings about nursing home closures: patients (NYP) City and state officials appear to have ignored all warnings that the Allure Group was out to shutter nursing homes. A resident of the Cabs Nursing Home on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn called the city’s long-term care ombudsman, Richard Danford, in a panic last summer. “They’re closing this place! They’re closing this place!” the caller said.
After making inquiries to the administrators of the nursing home and the state Department of Health, Danford reassured the Cabs resident that Allure had no plans to shut down the 170-bed facility. But less than six months later, the facility submitted paperwork to do just that. It had already begun to find alternate accommodations for the 35 residents that remained in the building, a source told The Post. Similar warnings went unheeded at the Rivington House on the Lower East Side. Meanwhile, other Allure Group sites received patient-care complaints, too. Donna Price told of conditions at the Allure-run Marcus Garvey Residential Rehab Pavilion in Crown Heights, where her mother was a resident. “Grooming is a thing of the past,” Price had said in a deposition at an Assembly hearing into nursing-home care last year. “Residents are wearing each other’s clothing,” she told the panel. “This is on a daily basis.”


Paterson Lobbyists for Firm That Flipped Nursing Home 

Paterson was paid consultant to firm that flipped nursing home (NYP) Former Gov. David Paterson was a paid consultant to the Brooklyn company that sparked a scandal when it flipped the Rivington House nursing home for a $72 million profit, The Post has learned. The former governor was “on call” for Allure Group managing partner Joel Landau during talks for the takeover of a second nursing home, a Brooklyn facility that is also being converted into luxury housing, a source close to those negotiations told The Post. That deal is under investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  “Whenever Joel had a problem with the state, he’d say, ‘Let me call the governor,’” the source said. A Paterson spokesman said the ex-governor “had Joel Landau as a consulting client in the past, but he hasn’t worked with him since early 2014.” He added that Paterson and Landau “never discussed” Allure’s lobbying to secure a deed switch, allowing it to sell Rivington House on the Lower East Side for a whopping $116 million. At the same time Landau, 35, was laying the groundwork for his Rivington House windfall, he was also working to convert the Cabs Nursing Home, a 170-bed facility in Bedford-Stuyvesant, to luxury housing, the source said. In December 2013, Landau submitted an application to the state Health Department to run the Brooklyn nursing home. By June 2015, NNRC Holdings LLC, part of the Allure Group, paid $15.6 million for the property. Six months later, Landau submitted plans to the state DOH to shut down the facility. By that time, only 35 residents remained. The state approved a final Cabs closure plan on Feb. 12 of this year, and “the last resident was discharged on March 15, 2016,” according to the DOH. But even before the closing was finalized, a Brooklyn-based contractor — 270 Nostrand LLC — submitted plans to convert it a residential property last October. Despite plans to convert the building, Allure Group maintained that they were committed to the nursing home. When a patient-care advocate contacted the company last summer after rumors of Cabs’ imminent closure, he was told the nursing home would remain open. They’re supposed to notify us and have a public meeting,” said Richard Danford, director of the city’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. “None of that happened.”A source said this was par for the course. “Joel [Landau] is not in the nursing home business,” he said. “He’s in the money business.”  Landau, whose company operates six nursing homes in Brooklyn and Harlem, owed more than $6 million in taxes to the city on his nursing home properties.  Last week, after The Post reported on the tax bill, the company paid the $853,795 in taxes it owed on the Cabs property, a Finance department official said.  Allure still owes $5.2 million in back taxes on the Linden Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Brooklyn.



de Blasio Backs Commissioner That OKed Nursing Home Deed Change
De Blasio backs commissioner involved in nursing home sale (NYP)  Mayor de Blasio voiced confidence Monday in the commissioner charged with cleaning up the botched approval of a deal that allowed the sale of a formerly protected Lower East Side nursing home to condo builders. “I am convinced that Lisette Camilo is the perfect person to make [the Department of Citywide Administrative Services] work more effectively,” de Blasio said. Camilo was head of the Mayor’s Office of Contracts when that agency OK’d a deed change that cleared the sale.* Mayor said he would have blocked Rivington deal if he’d known (PoliticoNY) And his first deputy mayor, Tony Shorris, did not inform him in February when he first learned the city was freezing deed restriction changes. “As far as I know, no one in [the] mayor’s office knew about the lifting of the deed restriction in 2015 except, of course, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services general counsel who signs off in a very pro forma way,” Hinton added. She also said Shorris wanted to gather all the facts before presenting the situation to the mayor. Hinton said that the city's Community Affairs Unit began to hear about concerns about the issue from Community Board 3, but, she said, "no one understood the implications fully until late February." For a mayor who has been described by numerous advisors and staffers as a micromanager who circulates “decision-memos” requiring the sign-off of multiple top aides before making major decisions, the issue has called into question his oversight of city agencies. Over the past two years, the city has approved just eight deed restriction removals for nonprofits, LLCs and private individuals, but the $16 million fee paid by Allure was far higher than any other fee in recent years. Joel Landau, an executive at Allure who requested the deed change, has not returned repeated calls for comment. His name was dropped from the company’s website over the weekend. *  New York AGinvestigating Rivington House deal (Real Deal)  Schneiderman opens probe into LES property now owned by Slate, Vanke and Adam America A spokesperson for Schneiderman confirmed the probe, according to the Wall Street Journal, which will only heighten scrutiny surrounding the de Blasio administration’s lifting of the deed restriction on 45 Rivington Street. The restriction limited the building’s use to a nonprofit residential healthcare facility, but Slate and its partners are planning to convert the 150,000-square-foot property into a luxury condominium building. The city’s Department of Investigation and City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s officeare already looking into the matter, with officials accusing Allure of having misled the city about its plans for the building.City officials claim the lifting of the deed restriction was intended to help the creation of a for-profit nursing center at Rivington House, while the mayor’s office said it had no knowledge of the arrangement, which saw Allure Group pay the city more than $16 million in exchange for lifting the restriction.The nursing home operator, which stood to make a tidy profit on 45 Rivington Street after acquiring the property for $28 million in early 2015, reportedly owes the city more than $5 million in back taxes. [WSJ] 
Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation 



Inside Shady $72 Million Nursing Home Flipper Allure Business Deals 
Shady firm profits $72M by flipping nursing home into condo (NYP) The obscure Brooklyn company at the center of a City Hall scandal already owed millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, and its principals were accused of “secretly scheming” against a former business partner, long before the city signed off on a sweetheart deal that netted the firm a $72 million profit, records show. The Allure Group, a cadre of young, seemingly disparate entrepreneurs, has been on a buying spree, snatching up nonprofit nursing homes across the city and turning them into for-profit cash cows. Its $72 million payday for flipping a nonprofit Lower East Side nursing home to a luxury condo developer — after first getting asleep-at-the-switch bureaucrats to lift a deed restriction that would have prevented the conversion — has ignited a scandal that’s embroiled Mayor de Blasio and prompted two investigations. City records show Allure owes $5.2 million in back taxes on a Brooklyn nursing home that used to be a nonprofit, and $853,795 on a shuttered nursing home in the borough that it bought last year and that is now slated for housing. The for-profit firm also took over the operation of two nonprofit nursing homes — one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn — without buying the facilities themselves, thus keeping the properties tax exempt. The burgeoning scandal surrounds Rivington House, a nursing home at 45 Rivington St. that Allure bought in February 2015 from Village Care, which had operated it as an AIDS hospice. It paid $28 million, and Allure principal Joel Landau had assured the city in an e-mail, “I would also like to keep the home as it is.” Allure applied to the state Department of Health to convert the home from one that cared for AIDS patients to a geriatric facility. “Based on the materials submitted by the owner in connection with its conversion application, the department had every expectation that utilization would increase and the facility would continue to operate,” the DOH said. Allure renamed the home the Rivington Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation. But it’s unclear if it treated a single patient there. By May, the company signed a contract to sell the building to a developer for $116 million. It also asked the city to lift a deed restriction limiting the use of the property to a nonprofit residential health-care facility. Top lobbyist James Capalino, a de Blasio pal and fund-raiser, had been lobbying for two years for the prior owner to have the deed restriction lifted. The deed was changed in November 2015 in exchange for Allure’s $16 million payment to the city. When the DOH returned to Rivington Street in December 2015 to recertify the nursing home, there was not a patient in sight. De Blasio said last week that the administration was “too trusting” of Allure, which he said had “lied” to the city. Landau did not return requests for comment. Allure was incorporated in 2012, a few years after its principals acquired their first nursing homes. In an online résumé, Landau, 35, calls himself a “master at turning poor-performing organizations into high-performing profitable companies.” His partners are two Brooklyn men — Marvin Rubin, 39, and Solomon Rubin, 43 — and Melissa Guglielmo, 40, the company COO who is a licensed nursing-home administrator.The purchases are made using limited liability companies. Most are heavily mortgaged. In 2010, an Allure company paid $20 million to buy the nursing home at the former Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. It is now called the Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. At around the same time, Landau and other investors teamed up with Dr. Jonathan Mawere, a nursing-home administrator, to buy two ailing nonprofit Brooklyn nursing homes — the Marcus Garvey Residential Rehab Pavilion and the Ruby Weston Manor. Mawere accuses Landau and his investors of squeezing him out and says they were “secretly scheming to misappropriate the facility’s assets and steal them for the benefit of themselves and their confederates,” according to legal papers. His lawsuit is ongoing, but Allure now runs both homes, having renamed them the Linden Center and the Crown Heights Center. The $5.2 million tax bill for the Linden Center was due Friday. Of that sum, $4.4 million was for unpaid back taxes. In 2013, Allure — using the name Williamsburg Services LLC — took over operation of the former nonprofit Aishel Avraham home in Brooklyn. It signed a 25-year lease agreement to run what it calls the Bedford Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation. The property at 40 Heyward St. is still owned by Aishel Avraham and pays no taxes thanks to a state tax break. Only the sale of the property would lift that benefit. Allure is avoiding a property-tax bill this year of $471,000, the city Finance Department says. A similar arrangement seems to be in place at the former Greater Harlem Nursing Home in Manhattan, which was run by a nonprofit. Allure took over its operation in 2014 but doesn’t own the property. The nonprofit is still enjoying a tax break of about $300,000, the Finance Department says. Greater Harlem’s tax-exemption renewal application to the city in October 2015 did not indicate it was renting any part of its property, said Theodore Oberman, Finance’s director of commercial exemptions and abatements. Renting to a for-profit entity would remove the tax exemption, he said. The city did cancel the exemption at the shuttered Cabs Nursing Home in Bedford-Stuyvesant when Allure bought it in 2015 for $15.6 million. Its $853,795 tax bill — including $652,724 in back taxes — was also due Friday. An application was filed with the city to demolish the Nostrand Avenue building to construct a seven-story residential building.

de Blasio Threatens Lawsuit Blaming Middle Owner Allure and Says Team Knew Nothing 

























‘Livid’ de Blasio threatens legal action over $72M nursing home flip (NYP) Mayor de Blasio on Friday warned of legal action against a Brooklyn healthcare firm for allegedly misleading his administration about its intention to keep a Lower East Side property operating as a nursing home.  Speaking on NY1, Hizzoner said the city has “a lot of evidence” that the for-profit Allure Group hoodwinked the city on the fate of the property, which the firm sold to luxury real estate developers last month for $116 million. “From some of what I’ve seen, it’s clear that the original message the company gave city officials was they would continue to run the nursing home. And something very different happened,” de Blasio said. “It makes me livid that this happened in one of the agencies of my administration,” he added. “This just should not have happened is the bottom line, and there will certainly be consequences.”

Despite the threat, city officials have acknowledged DCAS got no written assurances from The Allure Group – which operates nursing homes and dabbles in real estate – before lifting the deed restrictions.  Instead, they’ve pointed to an October 2014 email written by Allure co-owner Joel Landau saying he would “like to” keep the nursing home intact. Officials at The Allure Group declined comment. The deal is being probed by the Comptroller’s office and by the Department of Investigation, which is run by de Blasio’s former campaign treasurer Mark Peters. City officials newly revealed Friday that First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris only learned of the deed changes and the $116 million sale in February. Shorris knew that DCAS initiated a procedure review and halt to deed changes in late February, and learned of a DOI probe of the deal in early March — but he never bothered to tell the mayor, city officials said. They said Shorris wanted to complete fact gathering with DCAS before informing the mayor. Instead, de Blasio found out about the whole mess on March 24 from a report in the Wall Street Journal.















Amid Affordable Housing Push, Mayor Slams Luxury Condo Deal That Shuttered a Health Care Center on the Lower East Side (NY1)The timing of this is terrible for the mayor. He's been trying to build support for his affordable housing agenda. Yet at the same time his administration set the stage for this Lower East Side building just behind me to become luxury condos. A longtime resident says the cost of housing is already high in the neighborhood. "There used to be a lot of Spanish people down here but now they move out," said Leonardo Morales a Lower East Side resident. New high-end apartments may push rents even higher.



Lobbyists Capalino Also Says He Knew Nothing About the Allure City Hall Deed Change As He Picks Up $$$ From the Deal









First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris was aware of of a development scandal in late February, well before de Blasio did, but after a Lower East Side nursing home had been sold for $116 million to a condo developer, the Times reports:


Capital NY Reporter LAURA NAHMIAS SALLY GOLDENBERG Flacks for Capalino's Flack  Risa Heller Trying to Clear Him of the Nursing Home Deal


Lobbyist Capalino seeks to clear his name in Rivington deal (PoliticoNY) In a weekly email blast, Capalino + Company said it had "no involvement" in the deal, despite representing the initial owner, Village Care, and the final buyer, Slate Property Group. Capalino did not represent the developer who flipped the property earlier this year. "We'd like to set the record straight about our involvement in real estate transactions at 45 Rivington Street," the email reads. "Our engagement with Village Care commenced on February 4, 2013 and ended on October 31, 2014 when Village Care terminated the agreement. Our firm had no involvement in any aspect of the subsequent real estate transactions at 45 Rivington or the [Department of Citywide Administrative Services] decision regarding lifting the deed restriction, which occurred nine months after our contract with Village Care ended." Letters which Capalino wrote, one of which was obtained by POLITICO New York, showed he wanted to allow the building to become a for-profit health care facility. A spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said the administration denied the request because Village Care was not willing to pay a $16 million fee for modifying the deed.


Team de Blasio Ready to Throw Its 2013 Fundrasing Chair Capalino Under the Bus?
Lobbyist With Tie to Land Deal Is Worry to de BlasioAides (WSJ) James Capalino said he wasn’t involved in the final deed change and is weighing his role as fundraiser for the mayor. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this year said he didn’t know why James Capalino, a well-connected lobbyist, was taking in record sums representing clients at City Hall. But Mr. Capalino, who had the highest compensation in 2015 for lobbying the city and is a fundraiser for Mr. de Blasio, has increasingly become a worry to many of the mayor’s top aides, particularly after his connection to a controversial deed modification on a Manhattan building surfaced last month, according to people close to the mayor.


When Capalino Fund Raised for de Blasio During the 2013 Campaign He Hit the Lobbyists Jackpot
“I think people have a sense if you campaigned for the guy or raised money for him, you’re going to get things,” said Jerry Skurnik, a political consultant who has known Mr. Capalino for decades. “I don’t know if that’s true, but clients have that perception.”
Mr. Capalino, who collected nearly $13 million lobbying the city last year, a record for any lobbyist, has bundled more than $40,000 for Mr. de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign. He contributed $10,000 to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit group championing issues important to the mayor and run by his allies. He made that donation one day before taking a client to meet with Mr. de Blasio at City Hall, but he said Friday the timing was a coincidence. Mr. Capalino also attended a small campaign fundraising strategy session with Mr. de Blasio at a Manhattan law firm in January. Long a fixture in city government, Mr. Capalino was known for being an aggressive and ambitious commissioner in Mayor Ed Koch’s first term—called “Cap the Knife” by some. At 28, he led the agency that predated the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which approved the deed change that is now under investigation.*Mr. Capalino said there was “no factual basis” for suggesting he was involved. Still, he said, he is reconsidering whether to continue fundraising for Mr. de Blasio while he is lobbying City Hall.




How Much Did Capalino Make When Slate and China Vanke Bought the Building 
Why Did Slate and China Vanke Hire Capalino?
Mr. Capalino said he didn’t work for Allure and never met the firm’s executives. He said his work for the building’s current owner is unrelated to Rivington House. And he said he never discussed the project with Mr. de Blasio, who has said he wasn’t involved in the deed change. Mr. Capalino said he lobbied the city to modify the deed in 2013 and 2014 when he represented VillageCare. He said he was unable to strike a deal and was fired. . Months after the city lifted the restrictions, the building’s owner, the Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider, sold the property for $116 million to developers, drawing what appears to be a $72 million profit. Mr. Capalino worked for VillageCare, a nonprofit that owned the building before Allure. He now works for the developers that bought the building from Allure. He met with Mr. de Blasio on two occasions as Allure pursued the deed change while he was working for the developers that bought the building, city records show.


DOI Commissioner Former de Blasio Campaign Treasure to Investigate NursingHomeGate  Oh Yea

Like Nixon putting John dean in charge of writing a report on Watergate
 The Department of Investigation issued subpoenas Thursday to city workers and a Brooklyn nursing home operator as part of a probe into a real estate deal that netted the firm a $72 million windfall — with the city’s help, a source told The Post. The subpoenas went to staffers in the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services — the agency that lifted restrictions on a property that had been reserved for community uses at 45 Rivington St. — and to officers at the Allure Group, a Brooklyn health care firm. The Allure Group bought the Lower East Side property in early 2015 from Village Care, a long-time, non-profit nursing home operator. While officials at Allure spoke of keeping the site for health care purposes, they lobbied DCAS to remove a deed restriction that required a non-profit use. Officials at DOI — which is run by the mayor’s former campaign treasurer, Mark Peters — and the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment * The New York City Department of Investigation subpoenaed records regarding a deed change that allowed a Lower East Side building restricted for use as a nursing home to be turned into luxury condos, sources tell the Daily News: 


Lobbyists Capalino And Nursing Home Buyer China Vanke Nursing Home Buyer Met With the Mayor and Did Not Discuss the the Deal  Oh Yea 
Questions have also been raised about top city lobbyist and de Blasio fundraiser James Capalino, who unsuccessfully lobbied DCAS on behalf of Village Care to get the restriction lifted in 2013 and 2014. He was working temporarily for the Slate Property Group when the firm went into contract on the property purchase.  A spokeswoman for Capalino said his work there did not involve 45 Rivington St. Capalino also met with the mayor in March 2015 alongside China-based developer Wang Jianlin, who firm later formed a partnership with China Vanke. That meeting was labeled as being about “Chinese tourism” on Hizzoner’s schedule. “We were retained by Slate for work on projects in Brooklyn. We never spoke to them about 45 Rivington and had no knowledge of their involvement in the property,” said Capalino spokeswoman Risa Heller.  “We have never spoken to anyone or done any work for China Vanke or the Allure Group.”






NYC Lobbyist Capalino Already Working for Foreign Investors 














Did Capalino Register As A Foreign Lobbyist In the Pay to Play Nursing Home Deal?
Then in April 2015, Manhattan-based condo developer Slate Acquisitions hired Capalino. Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Capalino, says Capalino “did not represent Slate on this transaction,” but on May 11, six weeks after Slate hired Capalino, Slate went to contract to buy 45 Rivington from Allure Group.    DCAS soon agreed to lift the nursing home restriction, and on Nov. 11, Allure paid the city a $16.1 million fee and was awarded a modified deed with no restrictions.  Three months later, Allure fulfilled its May 11 contract of sale and sold the building for $116 million to Slate and their newly revealed partners, China Vanke Co. and Adam America Real Estate.  On Friday city officials said they were unaware that Slate was already signed up to buy the property before the deed change was approved. City officials said the deed change was made solely by DCAS officials and the mayor had no knowledge of it. Questions have also arisen about the spike in value and the appraisal the city used to calculate the $16.1 million waiver fee.  The fee was based on a city-hired appraisal that valued the property at $64 million. Stringer is seeking documents surrounding that appraisal.  The building lies in the heart of the Lower East Side, where wild gentrification has spiked property values astronomically in the last few years.  In late February, shortly after closing the deal, Martin Nussbaum, a principal of Slate, told the Wall Street Journal the group plans to convert the building to 100 luxury condos.* Developers Look to Foreign Investors to Fund Brooklyn Projects (Curbed) Many developers are turning to the EB-5 program Tishman Speyer, the firm that's developing the Macy's building at 422 Fulton Street, is looking to generate $60 million through this program. Those funds will account for about 12 percent of the total cost of the project - the rest is being provided by the developer and through a construction loan.Last year saw the highest demand for green cards through this program, as part of it is set to expire later this year, according to the WSJ. Applications rose to 17,691 from 11,774 the previous year. There's a limit of 10,000 each year, and projects can get delayed for years as a result.

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DiNapoli: Why Did the NYS Dormitory Authority Agree to the Sale of the Village Care Nursing Home to Luxury Developers?

The mayor’s office was not the only one that  allowed the sale of the nursing home at 45 Rivington St to be sold to luxury developers, the NYS Dormitory Authority also alloud it to be sold. In 2004 Village Care closed it main nursing home on west 12th street by agreeing to create a network of community residential healthcare setting, including 45 Rivington StThe nursing home on Hudson and W. 12th Sts was sold to a developer  as equity and tax-exempt bonds issued through the New York State Dormitory Authority. According to the city records the NYS Dormitory Authority mortgage was pay-off or settled before VillageCare sold the building to Allure Group, but after Capalino started working as their lobbyists.

"Now Village Care is poised to take its boldest step yet — to eliminate the Village Nursing Home, the only nursing home in Manhattan south of 86th St. In place of the 200-bed building at Hudson and W. 12th Sts., Village Care will create a network of community residential healthcare settings, called SeniorLife Choices. Now Village Care is poised to take its boldest step yet — to eliminate the Village Nursing Home, the only nursing home in Manhattan south of 86th St. In place of the 200-bed building at Hudson and W. 12th Sts., Village Care will create a network of community residential healthcare settings, called SeniorLife Choices. he plan, budgeted at $80 million, calls for all the services currently offered in the Village Nursing Home to be relocated to half a dozen sites in the community, most of which are yet to be identified and which will need to be purchased.  To alleviate concerns, Village Care is holding a series of informational meetings. The first was with local social service providers and representatives of Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried. Last weekend, family members of the nursing home’s patients were invited to a presentation."


The Abingdon Luxury Building Replaced the Village Care Nursing Home in 2010 


The Abingdon after the park across the street, was originally built as a hotel and then converted into a nursing home in 1958. Built in 1906 & converted to condo in 2012 The Abingdon features ten units and three of them are duplex penthouses. The residences range in size from 3,257 to 9,615 square feet.  First offering prices for the apartments were $8.75 - $21 million. The building will be FLAnk's third recent condo development in the West Village. In 2007 the group turned a 150-year-old church at 135 West 4th Street into an eight-unit condo called the Novare and in 2009, the company built 385 West 12th Street, a luxury building with a copper façade. #10: West Penthouse: 5,574 sq ft interior & 1,415 sq ft exterior; 3 BRs & 3.5 bths09: East Penthouse: 5,295 sq ft interior & 1,245 sq ft exterior; 3 BRs & 4 bths  


WSJ Stenographers True News' Report 3 Days Ago That $72M Allure Is Doing the Same Thing With A Nursing Home in Brooklyn  
A developer who made a $72 million profit after New York City officials removed deed restrictions that allowed a health-care facility to become luxury condos is also involved in the conversion of a Brooklyn nursing home into a 241-unit housing complex, records show, the Journal reports: Developer Faces More Questions on Land Deals (WSJ) Scrutiny of a Brooklyn project comes after nursing home on Lower East Side targeted for luxury condos. A developer under scrutiny for making a $72 million profit after convincing New York City officials to remove deed restrictions that allowed a Manhattan health-care facility to become luxury condos is also involved in the conversion of a Brooklyn nursing home into a 241-unit housing complex, records show. Last June, NNRC Properties LLC bought a nursing facility in Bedford-Stuyvesant for $15.6 million, property records show. The Allure Group, the for-profit nursing care provider at the center of the city investigations over the lifting of deed restrictions at Rivington House on the Lower East Side, lists the Brooklyn property as its own on its website. Months later, the city received an application to demolish the Brooklyn structure and put up a six-story, 241-unit residential building on the Nostrand Avenue site from construction firm Park Developers & Builders, records show. The city granted the demolition request in December, records show. On Wednesday, the mayor’s office said it wasn’t aware of any problem with the Brooklyn deal. A person who answered Mr. Landau’s phone said he was unavailable for comment.


From Monday's True News
Allure the Middle Man in Lobbyists Capalino Village Nursing Home Deal Played the Same Role In the Conversion of A Brooklyn Nursing Home  Into Luxury Housing in A Gentrifying Neighborhood
Park Developers planning 241-unit resi building inBed-Stuy (Real Deal)Sunset Park-based construction firm Park Developers and Builders is planning a new 241-unit residential building at 270 Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, according to permit applications filed Friday with the Department of Buildings.  The building would rise seven stories and span nearly 164,000 square feet, with frontage on Nostrand and DeKalb avenues and Kosciuszko Street, according to the filing. Park Developers filed demolition plans for an existing four-story nursing home on the site in September.  The filing indicates 45 residential units on each of the second through sixth floors and 21 apartments on the seventh floor. The new building would also get a 121-car parking garage. Marvin Rubin, senior managing partner of nursing home operator the Allure Group, acquired the property from CABS Nursing Home Co. for $15.6 million in June and Sold It to A luxury Developers 5 Months Later, according to city property records. Bay Ridge-based Allure Group lists the property on its website as the Nostrand Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, and no property records indicate a sale of the property to Park Developers — which may have filed plans for the residential building as a contractor on behalf of Rubin and the Allure Group.




NYT Say the City Mismanaged the Nursing Home Deal  
Mr. de Blasio said he was blindsided and angered by the developments. But a review of city records, correspondence and lobbying reports suggests that the city mismanaged the situation, accepting more than $16 million to pave the way for precisely the type of luxury housing it has sought to limit. 

Community Board Letter Warned Of Luxury Housing 
On Jan. 27, however, the local community board sent a letter to Mr. de Blasio requesting “information as to what transpired as to this transaction.” The letter was remarkably prescient; it warned that Rivington House could be converted into free-market housing, “as has been made possible by the lifting of the deed restriction.” The building was sold in February; city officials never responded to the letter, according to the community board, and Mr. de Blasio never saw it, said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the mayor. Mr. de Blasio has since expressed disbelief, saying that city officials had been “lied to” by the nursing-home company, Allure Group, which bought Rivington House in February 2015 from Village Care for $28 million. Allure had promised to create a for-profit nursing home that could serve low-income New Yorkers, city officials said. The city has yet to explain why it did not secure that assurance in writing. In seeking to secure the deed change, Village Care had a powerful ally in its corner: Mr. Capalino, a fund-raiser for Mr. de Blasio whose firm earned a record $12.9 millionlobbying City Hall in 2015  


Questions have also arisen about the role of the city’s leading lobbyist, James F. Capalino, who, at different points, came to represent the initial seller and final purchaser of the property
Mr. Capalino had been hired in 2013 through October 2014 to push for changes to the Rivington House deed. Village Care had bought the building from the city in 1992 with the permanent restriction on its use, and had cared for patients with H.I.V. and AIDS. In recent years, the nonprofit found that it could no longer support the building and sold it to Allure Group. On May 11, 2015, for a single day, a public notice of a hearing on the proposed deed changes appeared in the City Record. On the same day, Allure Group went into contract to sell the property to the condominium developer. “This action is in the best interest of the city,” the notice read, as do all such notices. None of the local advocates and elected officials were alerted. “When we found out about it, it was a done deal,” Susan Stetzer, the district manager of the local community board, said of the deed changes. “If there had been proper notification, it’s very likely this never would have happened.” The city settled on $16.15 million based on two appraisals of the property — one in April 2013, another in December 2014 — using “longstanding valuation practices,” 


Austin Finan, a spokesman for the mayor, said. Current and former city officials said that the sum, though significant, in fact undervalued the potential resale value of the unrestricted property. The deal was approved by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. In April 2015, before Allure’s sale of the building, Mr. Capalino began representing Slate Acquisition, the developer that would buy the property from Allure Group, though its contract did not cover lobbying related to 45 Rivington Street. City Hall officials said the deed restriction changes did not come up in the three documented meetings last year between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Capalino. Instead, the mayor and Mr. Capalino, who has bundled $44,940 in campaign contributions for Mr. de Blasio’s re-election campaign since October, discussed Chinese tourism, a downtown heliport and rezoning in Manhattan, the officials said. A spokeswoman for Mr. Capalino said he had limited his lobbying on behalf of Village Care to the administrative agency and had had no discussions with the mayor about Rivington House. Nor was the deal a factor, officials said, in the decision to replace the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services in January. The former commissioner, Stacey Cumberbatch, declined to discuss the reason for her removal when reached by phone; she currently works for New York City Health and Hospitals.  1COMMENT “I really don’t want to speak to you, thank you,” she said before hanging up.



The Mayor's Nursing Cover Up Coming Apart
Nursing home deal, and City Hall response, raises questions (CapitalNY)  But it seems to have been fairly easy for Allure, which runs for-profit nursing homes in New York City, to get permission to change the use of the building, despite the fact that such changes are granted exceedingly rarely. After buying the 150,000-square-foot facility from Villagecare for $28 million in February of 2015, Landau reached out to the same assistant commissioner, Randal Fong, to request the entire deed restriction attached to the building be lifted. In a three-sentence email dated April 27, 2015, Landau wrote, “We as the owners of Rivington properties that owns the parcel located at 45 Rivington St. NYC. With this letter we are requesting to remove both restrictions on the property. We engaged PeterRastetter from Metropolitan Valuation Service to help us validate the value by conducting an independent appraisal.” The following month, Allure entered into a contract with Slate Property Group on May 11 to sell the site for $116 million. A public hearing was for the deed restriction change was announced in the City Record that same day, but only by citing the block and lot of the property—not the address or the “Rivington House” name by which is known. The deed modification, which is publicly available, states “the mayor by authorization … duly ordered and directed the removal of the not-for-profit ‘residential health care facility’ restriction that limits the use and the development of the subject property.” More than a month before Allure’s request, on March 25, 2015, de Blasio met with top lobbyist James Capalino, who five days later began a three-month contract as Slate’s lobbyist. Also present at the meeting was Wang Jianlin, a Chinese developer whose company Dalian Wanda Group was about to announce a strategic partnership with China Zanke, one of the companies involved in Slate Property Group’s acquisition of Rivington House, the mayor’s public schedules show. Capalino began lobbying City Hall under the Bloomberg administration in October of 2013 for the nonprofit use restriction to be lifted at 45 Rivington St. At the time, he was in contract with Villagecare. He wrote a letter to former deputy mayor Linda Gibbs, but his request went unanswered. On Feb. 19, 2014, he raised the issue in a letter with Stacey Cumberbatch, who was DCAS commissioner at the time. His request once again went unmet because Villagecare was not willing to pay the $16 million fee, Hinton said. Villagecare terminated Capalino’s contract later that year. Records show he was never successful in getting the deed restriction changed. It was Allure, who was willing to pay the fee, who got it done.  Stacey Cumberbatch, who was commissioner at the time, was move to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation in January in a shift city officials said was unrelated to the Rivington Street issue. Still, the circumstances surrounding her departure from the agency are murky. The mayor announced she would be leaving the commissioner’s post amid more high-profile personnel shifts on Jan. 5. His press office that night declined to say her new title or salary, but confirmed the following day she would be earning the same amount as a vice president at the hospitals agency. She then took six weeks of paid leave and began her new job March 7. Multiple sources said she had conflicts with elected officials.



Chin and Brewer Try to Save Face on the Nursing Home And Save Their Phoney Boloney Jobs

A City Councilwoman and the Manhattan Borough President want access to sale documents Now City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer have also written to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to get a hold of the documents relating to the sale, according to Crain's. The deal is currently under investigation by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's office, which obtained the documents through a subpoena.



The NY Post Asks Who Will Be Held Accountable for the Village Aids Nursing Home Flip With Developers?  de Blasio, Lobbyist Campalino or Allure Who Made $72 Million in 5 Months

NYP Should look Into How Bronx Boss Stanly Friedman in 1986 Was Held Accountable for "Conspiring to shake down companies doing business with the city's Parking Violations Bureau" Did Capalino, Allure Group and the Rest of the Developers Conspire to Rip Off the City Govt?  YES

1986 Giuliani Convicted Friedman for Conspiring to Shake City 2016 NYP someone should be held accountable 
Why isn’t the mayor furious at this rancid deal? (NYP) Mayor de Blasio says he’s “not happy” about a growing scandal involving the sale of a Lower East Side AIDS-care facility to a developer who’s now going to use the site for luxury condos. Not happy? He should be furious. Either his hapless and “too trusting” officials had the wool pulled over their eyes — or they looked the other way, helping a middleman flip the property for a $72 million profit. At the center lies lobbyist James Capalino, a de Blasio pal and megadonor who represented both the original owner and the developer — and has been cashing in ever since the mayor took office. The city changed restrictions that had required the property to continue as a nonprofit health facility. Once the change was made, the sale went through. Except that the deal had already been signed before the restriction was scrapped. When the original nonprofit owner, a Capalino client, wanted to sell the building, it brought in the Allure Group, a nursing-home operator, which paid $28 million and promised to maintain a health-care facility. Then Allure inked a contract to sell the site for $116 million to another Capalino client, a condo developer — if the deed got changed. Sure enough, it went through, with no opposition or public scrutiny — not even a City Hall demand for affordable housing. Allure paid the city $16 million in “compensation” — netting itself a $72 million profit, but leaving the neighborhood shortchanged. The city Investigation Department and comptroller are investigating.  Whether it was sheer incompetence, as the mayor suggests, or under-the-table cronyism at work, Team de Blasio has an awful lot to answer for here. And someone must be held accountable.

"De Blasio should be furious about a growing scandal involving the sale of a Lower East Side AIDS-care facility to a developer who’s now going to use the site for luxury condos, and someone should be held accountable," the Post writes




Flashback 1986 Bronx Boss Stanly Friedman Indictment for Shaking Down Govt  
"In 1986 a grand jury in Manhattan accused Stanly. Friedman of conspiring to shake down companies doing business with the city's Parking Violations Bureau. Now a Federal grand jury, viewing the alleged shakedowns as a racketeering enterprise, accuses him of violating Federal criminal laws as well. According to the prosecutor's office, Mr. Friedman and others conspired from October 1984 to December 1985 to obtain the contract." (NYT)

Two Manhattan Pols Chin and Brewer Demand Info On the Village Nursing Home Deal
Two pols demand info on deal to turn Lower East Side nursing home into condos (CrainsNY)  City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer call for more transparency on 45 Rivington St. Add two Manhattan elected officials to the list of people trying to figure out how a health care firm was able to sell a Lower East Side nursing home supposedly protected by the city for a nearly $70 million profit. City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer sent a joint letter to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services Tuesday requesting documents related to the sale of a nursing-home facility at 45 Rivington St. Last year, the department lifted a deed restriction that had long required the building to be used as a health care facility. The parcel was subsequently sold to real estate developers who plan to build luxury housing there.  "We are deeply troubled by the lifting of the deed restriction and subsequent sale of the property to [Slate Property Group] and have been advocating for transparency and accountability from the administration regarding the circumstances around these events," the officials wrote. "We believe the public has a right to know how and why the Rivington House facility will no longer be maintained in perpetuity for their benefit—despite all of our efforts to protect this property as a community asset." The documents in question have already been given to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who filed a subpoena as part of his investigation into the transaction.




de Blasio Caught Red Handed Flipping Nursing Home to A Developer and Lobbyists Says He is "Too Trusting" Oh Please 
‘I’m not happy’: De Blasio admits fault in $72M nursing home flip (NYP) Mayor de Blasio said his administration was “too trusting” in not securing a written guarantee from a Brooklyn firm that sold a Lower East Side property reserved for health care services to a developer of luxury condos. Hizzoner said the Allure Group “lied” to city officials by suggesting the building at 45 Rivington Street would remain a healthcare facility, at the same time that the group asked the city to scrap restrictions on the site’s allowable uses. After the Department of Citywide Administrative Services lifted those restrictions in exchange for $16 million last summer, the Brooklyn-based Allure Group flipped the building to a trio of developers at a $72 million profit. Records show the sale to the Slate Property Group and others was already in contract even before DCAS lifted the restrictions, which were written into the building’s deed. The mayor said he knew nothing of the fiasco until it was first reported last week by the Wall Street Journal – even though DCAS had been reviewing its practices for weeks in the wake of a media story about the $116 million sale. “I’m not happy about it, that it happened. I’m not happy about the fact that I didn’t hear about it in advance before it became public, and we’re looking now to see what actions we can take to penalize this company,” We should not be trusting in these situations,” he added. “We need real guarantees that a company will not basically flip a property and use it for private gain when they’ve made a commitment to some public usage.”

Lobbyists Friend Of de Blasio Can't Deliver Zoning Change for His Nursing Home Client, But the Allure Group Gets the Job Done for Capalino Other Developer Client Who Will Build Luxury Oh Please 

Both the Comptroller’s office and the Department of Investigation are probing the deal, which also involved top lobbyist and de Blasio pal James Capalino. He repped the building’s original non-profit owner in unsuccessfully lobbying DCAS to lift the usage restrictions, prior to the site being sold for $28 million to the Allure Group in early 2015. At the time of the most recent sale, Capalino was working for Slate Property Group — although a spokeswoman for his firm said that work did not involve the site at 45 Rivington.



de Blasio Has Sold the City to the Developers and Their Lobbyists Just As Koch Sold the Parking Bureau to the Bronx and Queens Machine
To catch a thief: Solution needed for de Blasio realestate deal whodunit (NYDN) A $72 million heist has happened on Mayor de Blasio’s watch. The whodunit must end with exposure of the culprits wherever they rank on City Hall’s power ladder. A Brooklyn nursing home operator cleared that sum in the rapid-fire buying and selling of a former Lower East Side public school . The building is now set to be turned into luxury condos — thanks to the intervention of city officials at the behest of a real estate lobbyist and de Blasio donor. Soon enough, documents subpoenaed by City Controller Scott Stringer may reveal whether the city’s decision-making arose from gross incompetence or from a base form of corruption. What we have here, either way, is a scandal. It centers on a building that had served since 1992 as a 219-bed residence for AIDS patients, operating under city restrictions that allowed only for a non-profit health facility on the site. Come 2014 and advances in AIDS care, the building’s owner hired lobbyist and de Blasio fundraiser James Capalino to press the city Department of Citywide Administrative Services to lift the use restrictions to pave the way for a sale. A for-profit nursing home operator, the Allure Group, stepped in, promising the old school would remain a health facility, just as local residents wanted. The promise was a mirage, if not a scam. In February 2015, Allure paid $28 million for the property. Less than three months later, last May, Allure quietly agreed to sell it for $116 million to the the Slate Property Group, a condo developer also on Capalino’s client roll. The deal was contingent on getting the city to rescind restriction on the property’s use. In November, Allure paid the city $16 million to lift deed restrictions. Once the city lifted the deed restriction at Allure’s request — bam, the nursing home gave way to plans for 100 luxury condos. Clearly, lifting the deed restriction was worth a whole hell of a lot more to taxpayers than $16 million — if it should ever have been lifted at all. De Blasio’s team could easily have prevented the daylight robbery by changing the deed terms to allow for a for-profit health facility, but a health facility nonetheless. Or DCAS could have simply said “No,” as city officials have many times before in the face of such wheedling. Or the city could have agreed to lift the restriction on the proviso that, if future owners converted the building to apartments, some had to be affordable. A mayoral pledge to refund a campaign contribution from Allure principal Joel Landau, and a slew of reforms hastily promised, should not for a moment distract from the need for full accountability on the debacle. De Blasio declares himself stunned and “very unhappy . . . we were lied to.” It could be coincidental that Capalino delivered $45,000 in campaign contributions for de Blasio’s reelection after securing that all-important $72 million signature. Could be.

How Did the Allure Group Get the City To Lift the Nursing Home Only Deed Restrictions? Why Did the City Do It?  And Who in the City?
De Blasio Lobbyist Implicated in Controversial ‘RivingtonHouse’ Condo Conversion (boweryboogie) The Allure Group simultaneously paid the city $16.5 million (i.e. Department of Citywide Administrative Services) to lift a deed that restricted building use to non-profit health care function only. This eventually paved the way for the record sale, which will result in luxury condo conversion. But the Wall Street Journal reported last week that a contract with the buyers preceded that determination. Presumably a back room deal. Not surprisingly.  Amidst a subpoena from City Comptroller Scott Stringer last week, the Mayor claims that the government was blindsided by the sale, and had no knowledge of said pact. The administration’s disclosure Friday that officials were unaware the Allure Group had signed a contract to sell the building for residential development before the city lifted the deed restrictions  Mr. de Blasio’s administration was scrambling Friday to explain the deal amid Mr. Stringer’s probe and criticism from area residents, who said the neighborhood needed health-care providers or affordable housing but not more luxury housing. Mr. de Blasio’s administration didn’t have a written contract or other documentation forcing Allure to keep the property a nursing home and didn’t limit changes when it removed the deed restriction, officials said. A spokeswoman said there was no formal application; an Allure official asked in an email for the removal of the restriction.


de Blasio Lobbyists Capalino Met 3 Times With DSCA and OTHERS? and the Deed Restrictions Were Removed
Which brings us to another follow-up article in The Daily News. A powerful lobbyist named James Capalino allegedly collected $50,000 for Mayor de Blasio’s 2017 re-election bid, allegedly in exchange for removal of the restriction. Since October lobbyist James Capalino has collected $40,000 in checks for de Blasio’s 2017 re-election bid and personally wrote a $10,000 check in May to Campaign for One New York, the non-profit de Blasio uses to promote his causes. Capalino represented both the original seller of the nursing home at 45 Rivington St. on the Lower East Side and the developer who will turn it into luxury condos. In January 2014 Capalino was hired by the building’s owner, VillageCare, which had operated an AIDS-care facility there for years. VillageCare needed to sell the building to generate cash. Capalino “met with DCAS (Department of Citywide Administrative Services) employees and others” three times between February and July 2014. Officials declined to say whether the “others” worked in the mayor’s office.*  The de Blasio administration said it removed deed restrictions on the Manhattan building without knowing its owner had a contract to sell the property to developers to build luxury condos, and the city comptroller is reviewing the move, The Wall Street Journal writes:



Fed Investigation of NYCHA Goes Beyond Led Paint


De Blasio HousingAuthority Head Says Preet Bharara’s Probe Goes Way Beyond Lead (NYO) Shola Olatoye, chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority, testified today that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been digging into much more than the authority’s lead abatement work. Speaking before the City Council’s Committee on Public Housing, Ms. Olatoye addressed reports that Mr. Bharara had probed NYCHA records to find if it had deliberately misled the federal government about its work mitigating and removing lead paint at its 334 developments across the city. Ms. Olatoye, a Mayor Bill de Blasio appointee, said the prosecutor’s office had requested and received some 440 million records from the housing authority pertaining every facet of its internal workings. “The inquiry has been about NYCHA’s operations—every aspect of our operations,” she said, adding that NYCHA had retained two attorneys to work full-time on complying with Mr. Bharara and his team. “It has not been specific to the lead, reported lead issues, that, that, they’ve been researching. It’s really been quite, quite more, more expansive. I can’t presume to know what the intent of the inquiry is, but we—my team—are taking it very seriously.”* The New York City Housing Authority found elevated levels of lead in the water of some of its apartments after it conducted a random survey earlier this month, the agency’s chief said.* Officials said more than 200 children living in NYCHA apartments have tested positive for elevated blood-lead levels in the last five years, but only a handful of the apartments where they lived had hazardous levels of lead paint, the Daily News reports:  * NYCHA Neglect in Elevator Repairs Blamed in Man's Death, DOI Report Says (DNAINFO) The Department of Investigation report was sparked by two elevator accidents in The Bronx, one fatal.* New York City Housing Authority Faulted for ‘Significant Flaws’ in Elevator Safety (NYT) A report by the Department of Investigation, started after an 84-year-old man died in an elevator in December, said the housing agency was too slow to react to problems on elevators.* Housing Authority was warned about elevator hours before deadly accident (NYP) The New York City Housing Authority was warned about a “very dangerous” elevator condition an hour and a half before an elderly Bronx resident was fatally injured inside the lift on Christmas Eve 2015 — but workers failed to respond until the next morning, investigators said Tuesday. The time lag violates protocol for emergencies of that kind, which have a one-hour response limit, according to the Department of Investigation.But the deadly condition reported by a tenant was improperly coded by Housing Authority employees, who sent it off with a 48-hour response window.* The death of an 84-year-old man in December in an elevator at a Bronx housing project exposed “significant flaws” in how officials complied with safety laws and responded to urgent complaints, a DOI report has found, the Times reports:  * NYCHA has settled a lawsuit brought by Public Advocate Letitia James by promising to formally end its policy of refusing to turn up the thermostat overnight unless temperatures hit 20 degrees, the Daily Newsreports: 



Another de Blasio Pay to Play Homeless Developer Contractor Under Investigation - Leshinsky   
Mayor's PalInvestigated for Alleged Misuse of Money From City Contracts (DNAINFO)  A longtime friend and campaign donor of Mayor Bill de Blasio who ran a nonprofit that amassed more than $260 million in city contracts to house the homeless is under investigation over loans and compensation given to him and companies he ran, DNAinfo New York has learned. Since January, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office and the city Department of Investigation have been looking into Yitzchok Leshinsky and Housing Bridge, the nonprofit he founded in 2006, according to sources. Leshinsky, 43, who also goes by Isaac, was the CEO of Housing Bridge from its start until February 2015, when he resigned after the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services grilled the nonprofit over financial irregularities. During that time, Housing Bridge also gave more than $5 million in loans and consulting fees to Leshinsky, his real estate firm and two job-training companies he and his wife ran, the tax filings show. The state AG’s probe focuses on the conflict of interest in the nonprofit providing loans and advance payments to the job-training businesses and Leshinsky, according to sources. Leshinsky's job-training businesses, Bridge Community Center LLC and Bridge to Employment LLC, received nearly $1.5 million in compensation even before they provided any services, according to tax filings  Leshinsky's real estate firm, Parkland Estates, collected at least $525,000 in consulting fees from Housing Bridge, the tax filings show. The nonprofit also loaned Parkland $464,329.  Leshinsky himself received nearly $840,000 in loans from Housing Bridge, according to the filings.  An audit commissioned by Housing Bridge's board after Leshinsky's resignation showed that he owed the nonprofit $3 million. Leshinsky has said in legal documents that he has paid back the debt.

Leshinsky's Firm Bagged Over $250 Million in Homeless City Contracts
Just a decade old, Housing Bridge has secured more than $260 million worth of contracts with the city’s Department of Homeless Services to provide transitional housing and social services to more than 1,000 families in Queens, The Bronx and Brooklyn. More than $60 million in contracts were signed after de Blasio became mayor. Even after the Mayor's Office of Contract Services learned of the financial irregularities at Housing Bridge, the nonprofit continued to pick up contracts with Homeless Services, including two that began in July.


Leshinky's Bridge Lobbyists Hank Sheinkopf
Will Sheinkopf Invote the 5th Again Like He Did 51 Times in the AEG Scandal?
Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman for Housing Bridge, told the news website New York World in 2014 that Leshinsky and de Blasio “had been friends for a long period of time.”  City records show that Leshinsky and his wife, Michelle, have donated $19,475 to de Blasio campaigns since 2007. Leshinsky also bundled an additional $2,500 in contributions as an intermediary to de Blasio’s mayoral run.  The New York World story documented how Leshinsky broke campaign finance rules by directly contributing $2,500 to de Blasio's mayoral campaign. People who do business with the city can only give up to $500 to a candidate. The de Blasio campaign has not refunded the over-contributions, according to campaign finance records. * Homeless shelter operator gave generously to de BlasioThe ...(NY World)

7PM Update de Blasio to Return Leshinsky Money 
Mayor Says He'll Return Donations From Pal Who's UnderInvestigation (DNAINFO) De Blasio said at a press conference on Monday that he would return the donations from Leshinsky. He also said the city was trying to recoup misspent money from the nonprofit. "From what I've heard so far, that firm has been addressed very vigorously," de Blasio said. "The CEO has been removed, and we are working now to take steps to get resources back from that company." Leshinsky resigned from the Housing Bridge in February 2015.

Nursing Home Time Line and City Hall Lies
Deed restrictions on the property meant that it could only be used as a “not-for-profit residential health care facility.” According to the Daily News, Capalino, representing the building’s owner, VillageCare, lobbied to have those restrictions lifted.  Capalino “met with (Department of Citywide Administrative Services) employees and others” three times between February and July 2014. Mayoral spokesman Karen Hinton said it appeared those “others” did not include anyone from the de Blasio’s office. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services [DCAS] eventually agreed to lift the restriction after Allure paid a $16.1 million fee, and Slate, along with China Vanke Co. and Adam American Real Estate bought the building for $116 millionAround the time this was happening, in the fall of 2015, Capalino arranged for the donations to de Blasio’s campaign. The Comptroller's Office is investigating the City's role in the dealIn a statement, Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris pledged to “revamp” the deed restriction process and look into “whether the City has legal recourse.” “The developer misled the City about the intended use of the property,” Shorris said in the statement. “DCAS handled the issue from start to present,” Karen Hinton told us in an email. “The Mayor has never discussed the sale with anyone, including Mr. Capalino. No one in the Mayor’s office has either.” Does the Mayor’s Office worry that a lobbyist is funneling money into the Campaign for One New York while untangling City regulations in a supposedly misleading transaction? “Many people have raised money for the Mayor’s re-election. None has received any special treatment or consideration,” Hinton replied. “Decisions are made on the merits.”



Mayor Lobbyist Chairman Capalino Pay to Play Millions In Changing A Nursing Home Into Luxury Housing Stringer Investigates (Updated) 























Daily News Picks Up On Yesterday's True News Report On Capalino Being Chief Fund Raiser for de Blasio's 2013 Campaign
Lobbyist who steered$50,000 to Mayor de Blasio turned Lower East Sidenursing home into luxury condos (NYDN) A powerful lobbyist steered $50,000 in donations to Mayor de Blasio after pressing the city for a deed change that allows one of his clients to turn a building restricted for use as a nursing home into luxury condos. Since October lobbyist James Capalino has collected $40,000 in checks for de Blasio's 2017 re-election bid and personally wrote a $10,000 check in May to Campaign for One New York, the non-profit de Blasio uses to promote his causes.
Real Estate executive involved in shady transaction over lower east side property donated 5k to DEB. Another ex of what a joke @NYCCFB * Great Campaign Finance system that allows lobbyists 2 bundle $! They call this reform? "Progressive pay 2 play

Tom Robins
Jim Capalino, member of NYC's Permanent Government since Koch, scores big in de Blasio's City Hall 




From True News
The Lobbyists Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine in NYC  
The Old Tammany Hall Machine was corrupt as corrupt as the lobbyists who have run today's New York's political system.  But the machine of the Boss Tweed era was far more responsive to voters and the communities that it served.  Terry Golway recent book explained how Tammany Hall depended on voter turnout for power.  To get votes the old machine offered services, provided jobs and protected the neighborhood where their votes came from. Tammany Hall governing style was responsible for creating New York's strong Neighborhoods of old. Tammany leader George Washington Plunkitt — the man who coined the phrase “honest graft” — met with constituents and lesser Tammany officials in his district several times a week to find out who was happy with Tammany’s services and who required some special attention. Today's lobbyist's controlled private machine gain power by getting electing candidates and feeding them with campaign contributions from their clients who are looking for city contracts or zoning changes, they never meet the voters.
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The Old Elected Tammany Hall Welcomed All the Voters New Unelected Lobbyists Developer Private Tammany Hall Spins to Mislead Public to Make Money
 Over the last few years the lobbyists started to make their way into the political system by offering party bosses campaign services and campaign funding which in the old Tammany days would have been done in the club house and by its members.  In the old days hundreds of people worked in the clubhouse to put our mailings.  Today a campaign consultant emails a mailing house with a flyer designed by his or her company and the mail goes out.  The entire social structure of the community helping the machine and in return the machine helping the community and it residences is gone.  The news lobbyists machine hang out is their beach houses or million dollar apartments and never meet anyone in the community they seek to elect someone in. The public who used to at least have a choice to elect their party leaders.  The permanent government picks the Tammany's lobbyists cutting out the public completely.

 



The New Private Lobbyists Tammany Hall is Even Less Transparent Than the Old Secret Party Boss System
There are very important campaign filing differences between de Sapio's Tammany Hall and today's lobbyists Tammany Hall.  Old Tammany and today's political party leaders were required to file their all their expenses and how much money their received. The new lobbyists Private Tammany Hall uses money from their lobbyists clients in campaigns which are not required to be filed with the Board of Elections.  They use the Data and Field model of charging their clients below costs, that the Working Families Party and others are under investigation for by the Staten Island DA's special prosecutor, and it is all legal for the new lobbyists political consultants.   The political party machines are quired to file any money they spend with other clubs or political leaders that is used to elect their candidates.  The new private lobbyists can hire other lobbyists or anyone else and is not required to file any financial report.  In the 2013 elections there were over 200 incidents of 8 lobbyists either working with other or against each other












deB's Lobbyists Capalino represented both the original seller of the nursing home at 45 Rivington St. on the Lower East Side and the developer who will turn it into luxury condos
On Friday the city said they were misled by a middleman in the transaction, a deal which is now being scrutinized by city Controller Scott Stringer. Stringer's involvement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.  In January 2014 Capalino was hired by the building's owner, VillageCare, which had operated an AIDS-care facility there for years. VillageCare needed to sell the building to generate cash. Capalino “met with DCAS (Department of Citywide Administrative Services) employees and others” three times between February and July 2014. Officials declined to say whether the “others” worked in the mayor’s office. He also sent a Feb. 19, 2014 letter to former DCAS Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch “regarding a potential sale of the Rivington House property without the deed restrictions imposed by the City.” On Friday the city said they were misled by a middleman in the transaction, a deal which is now being scrutinized by city Controller Scott Stringer. Stringer's involvement was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.  In January 2014 Capalino was hired by the building's owner, VillageCare, which had operated an AIDS-care facility there for years. VillageCare needed to sell the building to generate cash.  Capalino “met with DCAS (Department of Citywide Administrative Services) employees and others” three times between February and July 2014. Officials declined to say whether the “others” worked in the mayor’s office. He also sent a Feb. 19, 2014 letter to former DCAS Commissioner Stacey Cumberbatch “regarding a potential sale of the Rivington House property without the deed restrictions imposed by the City.Capalino said VillageCare preferred selling to a for-profit nursing home but was also considering making “an unrestricted sale for the ‘highest and best use.’" In February 2015, VillageCare sold the building for $28 million to a nursing home operator called the Allure Group, which assured the city they’d run a for-profit home there, officials said. At the time, the deed restriction was still in place.













Did Capalino Register As A Foreign Lobbyist In the Pay to Play Nursing Home Deal?
Then in April 2015, Manhattan-based condo developer Slate Acquisitions hired Capalino. Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Capalino, says Capalino “did not represent Slate on this transaction,” but on May 11, six weeks after Slate hired Capalino, Slate went to contract to buy 45 Rivington from Allure Group.    DCAS soon agreed to lift the nursing home restriction, and on Nov. 11, Allure paid the city a $16.1 million fee and was awarded a modified deed with no restrictions.  Three months later, Allure fulfilled its May 11 contract of sale and sold the building for $116 million to Slate and their newly revealed partners, China Vanke Co. and Adam America Real Estate.  On Friday city officials said they were unaware that Slate was already signed up to buy the property before the deed change was approved. City officials said the deed change was made solely by DCAS officials and the mayor had no knowledge of it. Questions have also arisen about the spike in value and the appraisal the city used to calculate the $16.1 million waiver fee.  The fee was based on a city-hired appraisal that valued the property at $64 million. Stringer is seeking documents surrounding that appraisal.  The building lies in the heart of the Lower East Side, where wild gentrification has spiked property values astronomically in the last few years.  In late February, shortly after closing the deal, Martin Nussbaum, a principal of Slate, told the Wall Street Journal the group plans to convert the building to 100 luxury condos.* Developers Look to Foreign Investors to Fund Brooklyn Projects (Curbed) Many developers are turning to the EB-5 program Tishman Speyer, the firm that's developing the Macy's building at 422 Fulton Street, is looking to generate $60 million through this program. Those funds will account for about 12 percent of the total cost of the project - the rest is being provided by the developer and through a construction loan.Last year saw the highest demand for green cards through this program, as part of it is set to expire later this year, according to the WSJ. Applications rose to 17,691 from 11,774 the previous year. There's a limit of 10,000 each year, and projects can get delayed for years as a result.



Friday's True News Wags the Saturday's Daily News on de Blasio's 2013 Fund Raising Chair Capalino
de Blasio Allows His Lobbyists Bag Man Capalino to Steal A Nursing Home for A Developer  Stringer Investigation 
New York City Turns Over Files on Building Sale Subpoenaed by Comptroller(NYT)  Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, took what his office called the rare step of filing a subpoena after the lifting of a deed restriction on the Lower East Side.* New York City Turns Over Files on Building Sale Subpoenaed by Comptroller  Stringer, the city comptroller, took what his office called the rare step of filing a subpoena after the lifting of a deed restriction on the Lower East Side.
ManhattanLand Deal Is Examined  (WSJ) The New York City comptroller is examining a decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration to lift deed restrictions on a Manhattan building, a move that led to a nursing home operator making a $72 million profit off the property's sale. Comptroller Scott Stringer has asked a city agency for details on its decision last year to remove restrictions that had limited the use of Rivington House on the Lower East Side to a not-for-profit residential health-care center. The 118-year-old, 150,000-square-foot building at 45 Rivington St. had previously served HIV/AIDS patients.  About three months after the city lifted the restrictions, * BIG MONEY: Mayor de Blasio relying on large cash donations for re-election bid, signaling shift from 2013 strategy (NYDN)


Allure sold the building for $116 million to a residential developer that plans to convert it into luxury condominiums, over the objections of some community leaders. In a March 7 letter to DCAS, Mr. Stringer questioned whether the deal shortchanged taxpayers and cited concerns about a lack of public discussion about lifting the deed restrictions. "It is incomprehensible that this property, which provided long-term care for patients with HIV/AIDS for more than two decades, would reportedly be converted into market-rate luxury housing without robust discussion, transparency and input from the community it serves," Mr. Stringer said. Built in 1898 as a public school, 45 Rivington St. was bought in 1992 by VillageCare, a not-for-profit that serves people with chronic-care needs, and became a nursing home for HIV/AIDS patients. In 2014, citing declining patient numbers, VillageCare said it was closing the facility, according to meeting minutes from the local community board.  At the time, leaders at the community board said they hoped to have the building converted to a nursing home for the general population.  

Head of de Blasio Fund Raiser Lobbyist Capalino Makes Deal With the Mayor to Save Tourist Helicopters  
City nears deal to cut helicopter tours in half (NYP) The de Blasio administration is close to a deal that would allow the helicopter tourist industry to keep operating – but with flights cut in half and eliminated entirely on Sundays, sources told The Post.  The pared-down flight schedule is intended as a response to noise complaints from residents living near the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and on the other side of the East River in Brooklyn Heights, who persuaded the City Council to draft measures that would ground all tourist flight * e Blasio’s door is open to lobbyists | New York Post Leading the pack was last year’s highest-earning city lobbyist, James Capalino, who met with Hizzoner three times in the last three months. Capalino hosted two fund-raisers for de Blasio’s successful mayoral run in 2013. Clients who accompanied him to the meetings included Chinese real-estate and movie-theater mogul Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, and Janno Lieber, a top Silverstein Properties exec who bundled $11,100 for de Blasio two years ago. Capalino most recently met with the mayor on May 28 on behalf of helicopter-tour operators in lower Manhattan — an opportunity that critics of the noisy flights say they haven’t gotten. “It’s very discouraging but not surprising,” said Delia Von Neuschatz, a resident of Battery Park City who founded an advocacy group to halt the tours.*De Blasio raises $1.5M for political nonprofit - NY Daily News 









Head of de Blasio Fund Raiser Lobbyist Capalino Works for Developers Who Closed 2 Hospitals
De Blasio fund-raisers are big time lobbyists - NY Daily News The host committee included James Capalino, who has lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old

Capalino is St. Vincent’s Hospital Site Developer Rudin Lobbyist   
De Blasio fund-raisers are big time lobbyists - NY Daily News The host committee included James Capalino, who has lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s HospitaL  The host committee included James Capalino, who has lobbied for Rudin Management, developers of high-end condos near the old St. Vincent’s Hospital, and lobbyist Suri Kasirer, who met with de Blasio on Brooklyn’s contentious Atlantic Yards project.* Deal Reached for Site of St. Vincent’s | Capalino+Company * de Blasio ‘embraces’ lobbyist for Rudin condos at St. Vincent’s site (Villager)

Capalino is Long Island College Hospital Site Developer Fontas Lobbyist 
For rezoning push, LICH developer hires firms with de Blasio ties (Capital NY) Hilltop is run by Nick Baldick, who advised de Blasio during the 2013 race and continues to consult with him. Bill Hyers, de Blasio's campaign manager, works at Hilltop. Rebecca Katz, who also worked on the 2013 campaign, returned to Hilltop after serving as a high-ranking advisor to de Blasio during his first 16 months in office. She is handling the Fortis project—gauging community needs and interests, James Yolles, a spokesman for the developer, told POLITICO New York.  "Hearing from the broader community on topics like infrastructure, affordable housing, a new school, improved park space and contextual design is an important part of this process and we're happy to have Hilltop as part of our team to help with that," said Yolles, who works for Risa Heller Communications. Capalino's George Fontas is working as the developer's lobbyist. Fontas volunteered on de Blasio's 2013 campaign and his firm's CEO, James Capalino, has maintained a close relationship with de Blasio during his time in office. Capalino, one of the city's top lobbyists, has donated to de Blasio's political organization, Campaign for One New York, and appears three times on de Blasio's self-regulated list of lobbyists he's met over the past year-and-a half. In April, he and the mayor discussed "residential development" with Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center Properties LLC, according to the mayor's lobbyist database.  A spokesman for de Blasio declined to comment on Fortis hiring his former campaign staffers. 1. Hires: de Blasio Campaign Manager Who Uses Candidate Fake Arrest to Protest A Closing Hospital As A Prop   2. Once the Hospital is Closed Hires Who Works for the Mayor Slush Fund PAC One NY Uses It to Tell the Community That the Band Aid ER the Developer Agreed to Build is As Good As the Closed Hospital
Closing Hospitals, HHC, LICH
Heres Hiltop




Since de Blasio Was Elected In 2013 Capalino Lobbying Business Has More Than Doubled 
Lobbyist shoots to #1 in NYC after backing de Blasio for mayor (NYP) A veteran lobbyist who was a major supporter of Bill de Blasio’s run for mayor in 2013 saw his business nearly double in 2014 after his pal was elected, records show. Jim Capalino reported hauling in $8.2 million from 237 clients last year — up from the $4.6 million earned by his downtown Manhattan firm during the last year of the Bloomberg administration in 2013. The firm also signed 69 new clients, according to records released Monday by the City Clerk. Capalino’s surge was enough to dethrone the city’s perennial No. 1 lobbyist — Suri Kasirer, of Kasirer Consulting, whose billings also rose, from $6.6 million to $7.7 million.Among the new clients that swarmed to Capalino + Co. were a number trying to change the mayor’s position on public projects, including Asphalt Green. The group has been engaged in a protracted fight over the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station that is under construction near Gracie Mansion. It reported hiring Capalino’s firm to limit the impact of construction and long-term operations of the future trash site, which the mayor has supported. Uber, which wants to avoid further city-imposed regulations as it competes with the yellow-cab industry, also hired Capalino.*  Lobbyists just keep getting richer during de Blasio’s ...(NYP) * Mayor de Blasio Issues Draft 421a Legislation - Capalino … * City Hall's new 'in' crowd of lobbyists | Crain's New …*  Lobbying Booms at New York City Hall - WSJ * De Blasio Campaigns With James Capalino  ... *  De Blasio fund-raisers are big time lobbyists - NY Daily News


“Picking the mayor has helped his business explode, but he’s always been very competent,” fellow lobbyist Hank Sheinkopf said of Capalino 
Capalino hosted two fund-raisers for de Blasio’s successful campaign — including a Roosevelt Hotel bash featuring former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in October 2013 — where he was listed as a co-chair expected to bring in at least $25,000. Kasirer was also a $25,000 co-chair at the event, which pulled in over $1 million for de Blasio.He has since donated to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit arm of City Hall chaired by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. Among other top lobbying firms, Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin — which consulted on Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s campaign for the top council spot — also boosted its billings after backing a winner. The firm climbed from seventh place in 2013 — with $2.1 million in business — to fourth place in 2014, with $3.3 million in billings. * Lobbying Report 




Why Are the Prosecutors Not Investigating the deB Lobbyists Capalino Pay to Play Real Estate Deal?
City lobbying records show VillageCare spent $44,000 and $40,000 in 2013 and 2014, respectively, on the services of James F. Capalino & Associates, a city lobbying firm. The lobbying was focused on DCAS and the "deed restriction," records show.  In February, the U.S. unit of China Vanke Co., together with Slate Property Group and Adam America Real Estate, paid $116 million for the building. A Slate co-founder said the group planned to convert the building into luxury apartments. The sale and planned conversion of the building surprised and disappointed some community groups and elected officials who had fought to keep the property dedicated to nursing care.  "We thought everything was going to be fine," said Councilwoman Margaret Chin, aManhattan Democrat whose district includes the building. "Now we might get stuck with a luxury condo building. This is not what the community fought for." Campaign Flashback de Blasio ‘embraces’ lobbyist for Rudin condos at St. Vincent’s site  (Villager)* The de Blasio administration has turned over documents in response to a subpoena by the New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, over the lifting of deed restrictions and the sale of a building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that made a $72 million profit for a private nursing home operator.CITY ANSWERS STRINGER SUBPOENA OVER BUILDING SALE"After not receiving a response by Wednesday, Mr. Stringer filed the subpoena -- a rarity, his office said. The city produced documents hours later. They are currently under review. The first sale, for $28 million in February 2015, was by Village Care, which served AIDS patients, to the Allure Group, a nursing home operator. Before the sale, Allure lobbied the city to have the covenant lifted and, in an email in October 2014, promised to maintain the center as a for-profit nursing home."POLITICO New York Stringer also requested the city's written policies on deed restrictions and studies about the need for community facilities in the neighboring area. "We are reviewing to determine what the city's legal options are," said mayoral spokesman Austin Finan. 
-China Vanke Co.is a large residential real estate developer in the People’s Republic of China China Invades New York  Vanke is not the first Chinese real estate company to try to make it in the Big Apple. Last year, Shanghai-based Greenland Group acquire the US$4 billion Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, and real estate-focused investment group Fosun International Ltd purchased 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza from JP Morgan Chase for US$725 million.

de Blasio's Lobbyist Shadow Govt Lobbyists Team
City’s top lobbyists living the high life thanks to de Blasio (NYP)  Many of the city’s top-earning lobbyists are longtime allies of Mayor de Blasio and have significantly helped bolster his campaign coffers and the nonprofit fundraising arm that he uses to... James Capalino, Harold Ickes, Sid Davidoff and other politically connected lobbyists have seen their city-related business over the past two years skyrocket while scoring sweetheart deals and other positive results for clients after private sit-downs with the mayor, records show. For example, Capalino’s firm gave de Blasio’s nonprofit Campaign for One New York $10,000 in May — and the next day was granted face-time with the mayor at City Hall to discuss a City Council bill to eliminate chopper tours at the Downtown Manhattan heliport.  On Jan.11, de Blasio’s longtime mentor, Ickes, helped client AEG Live score a controversial permit to host a Coachella-style major music festival on Randall’s Island — on the same day he bundled $13,000 in donations for the mayor’s re-election campaign.
Anti-horse-carriage lobbyists Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu have donated $125,000 combined to de Blasio’s nonprofit — which doesn’t fall under campaign-finance law restrictions — and landed three meetings with Hizzoner through August. The huddles included a March 2 meeting that occurred three days after the lobbyists gave the nonprofit $50,000 each. Capalino – who records show had at least two other private meetings with the mayor through May of last year – led all city lobbyists in 2014, collecting $8.2 million in client fees. City records for the first nine months of last year show he’s on pace to topple that number, amassing nearly $8.3 million in fees — or nearly double the $4.6 million his firm amassed all of 2013 during the last year of the Bloomberg administration. His dozens of new clients include Uber, which wants to avoid further city-imposed regulations as it competes with the yellow-cab industry. It paid Capalino $150,000 the past two years to push its agenda
The Privatization of the Tammany Hall Machine



Developer Faces More Questions on Land Deals (WSJ) Scrutiny of a Brooklyn project comes after nursing home on Lower East Side targeted for luxury condos. A developer under scrutiny for making a $72 million profit after convincing New York City officials to remove deed restrictions that allowed a Manhattan health-care facility to become luxury condos is also involved in the conversion of a Brooklyn nursing home into a 241-unit housing complex, records show. Last June, NNRC Properties LLC bought a nursing facility in Bedford-Stuyvesant for $15.6 million, property records show. The Allure Group, the for-profit nursing care provider at the center of the city investigations over the lifting of deed restrictions at Rivington House on the Lower East Side, lists the Brooklyn property as its own on its website. Months later, the city received an application to demolish the Brooklyn structure and put up a six-story, 241-unit residential building on the Nostrand Avenue site from construction firm Park Developers & Builders, records show. The city granted the demolition request in December, records show. On Wednesday, the mayor’s office said it wasn’t aware of any problem with the Brooklyn deal. A person who answered Mr. Landau’s phone said he was unavailable for comment.


Earlier this month, City Comptroller Scott Stringer began examining Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s decision to remove deed restrictions that had limited the use of Rivington House to a not-for-profit residential health-care center. After the city modified the deed, Allure sold the building for $116 million, indicating a $72 million profit. Officials from the comptroller’s office are probing the timing of the sale and who was involved, sifting through documents the city provided last week. Those documents include city emails about the deal, correspondence from James Capalino, a lobbyist close to Mr. de Blasio who worked on the project, and two appraisals the city has declined to disclose, according to people familiar with the matter.


A senior city official said the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that approved the deed change, “is a pretty big problem,” and officials are exploring how to improve the agency. Officials are considering possible discipline for employees at DCAS, according to people familiar with the matter. City officials wrote in a May 11 public notice that it would benefit the city to accept $16.15 million for lifting the deed restriction at Rivington House. That same day, Allure, the building’s owner, signed a contract to sell the property to a venture led by Slate Property Group, according to the city. City officials said they were unaware, at the time, of Allure’s plans to sell, and an executive at Slate said the group had nothing to do with the deed modification. “This action is in the best interest of the city,” the public notice from DCAS stated, advertising a June 24 public hearing. The notice stated it needed “the approval of the mayor’s office.” Some elected officials said they weren’t told of the hearing, and nobody testified, according to a city spokeswoman. Six days after the public hearing, “the mayor’s office” approved of the deed being removed, records show. A lawyer in the mayor’s office signed the deed, a city spokeswoman said. Ricardo Morales, a top official who signed documents authorizing the lifting of the deed restriction, didn’t return calls for comment. Stacey Cumberbatch, the agency’s commissioner at the time, was reassigned in January and couldn’t be reached for comment. Aides to Mr. de Blasio said he didn’t know the deed restriction was lifted until this month. Susan Stetzer, chairwoman of Community Board 3 on the Lower East Side, sent a letter to Mr. de Blasio in January questioning why the deed restriction was lifted and expressing worry about the building. “This action to lift the deed restriction occurred out of public view, with a total lack of transparency,” the letter said. A spokeswoman said the mayor didn’t see the letter.Mr. de Blasio has returned a $4,950 contribution Mr. Landau made to his 2013 campaign, a spokeswoman said. Mr. Landau was linked to more than a dozen businesses, most related to health care, public records show.




The Rivington House deal, netting by far the largest sum received by the city for a deed change during the de Blasio administration, went largely unnoticed, despite community efforts to retain the building as a long-term care center. Late last year, as Mayor Bill de Blasio worked to change zoning codes to compel the creation of more affordable housing, an obscure New York City agency quietly lifted all restrictions on the use of a former nursing home on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That move came amid a whirlwind series of transactions: The building had been sold months before to Allure Group, a nursing-home operator, which then flipped it in February to a condominium developer for $116 million.  Mr. de Blasio said he was blindsided and angered by the developments. But a review of city records, correspondence and lobbying reports suggests that the city mismanaged the situation, accepting more than $16 million to pave the way for precisely the type of luxury housing it has sought to limit. Lifting deed restrictions in New York is a rare act in itself: Since 2014, there have been at least nine deed restrictions modified or lifted by the city, mostly on vacant lots in areas under development such as First Avenue in Manhattan or areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn. Former officials with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services could not recall the city’s having received a comparable sum in exchange for lifting such a restriction. Indeed, in three instances since 2014, the city took no money for the change, accepting new restrictions instead. In others, the city received a relative pittance for unused spaces in exchange for lifting the restrictions altogether: $44,000 for a property on Kosciuszko Street in Brooklyn, $86,000 for another on East 137th Street in Harlem. A more desirable lot on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem fetched $875,000. In the case of the former nursing home, the deed restrictions were originally put in place by the city when it sold the property, a red brick former school at 45 Rivington Street, to Village Care, a nonprofit that agreed to run an AIDS hospice at the site.


The $72 million question is whether the city’s process was manipulated to give a windfall to a few individuals at the public’s expense and deprive a community of a much-needed health care facility,” said Scott M. Stringer, the city’s comptroller, who has opened an inquiry into the matter. The investigation was reported by The Wall Street Journal. “It’s alarming to think that the people charged with protecting the public’s interest could have sold a binding deed restriction without a legally enforceable guarantee of further community use in return,” he added. For an administration claiming to be bent on curbing gentrification, and a hands-on mayor who often demands rigorous multisignature memos for making big decisions, questions remain about how the former nursing home, known as Rivington House, came to be unprotected by the city and then sold for a steep profit. Questions have also arisen about the role of the city’s leading lobbyist, James F. Capalino, who, at different points, came to represent the initial seller and final purchaser of the property.







On Jan. 27, however, the local community board sent a letter to Mr. de Blasio requesting “information as to what transpired as to this transaction.” The letter was remarkably prescient; it warned that Rivington House could be converted into free-market housing, “as has been made possible by the lifting of the deed restriction.” The building was sold in February; city officials never responded to the letter, according to the community board, and Mr. de Blasio never saw it, said Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the mayor. Mr. de Blasio has since expressed disbelief, saying that city officials had been “lied to” by the nursing-home company, Allure Group, which bought Rivington House in February 2015 from Village Care for $28 million. Allure had promised to create a for-profit nursing home that could serve low-income New Yorkers, city officials said. The city has yet to explain why it did not secure that assurance in writing. In seeking to secure the deed change, Village Care had a powerful ally in its corner: Mr. Capalino, a fund-raiser for Mr. de Blasio whose firm earned a record $12.9 millionlobbying City Hall in 2015.
Mr. Capalino had been hired in 2013 through October 2014 to push for changes to the Rivington House deed. Village Care had bought the building from the city in 1992 with the permanent restriction on its use, and had cared for patients with H.I.V. and AIDS. In recent years, the nonprofit found that it could no longer support the building and sold it to Allure Group. On May 11, 2015, for a single day, a public notice of a hearing on the proposed deed changes appeared in the City Record. On the same day, Allure Group went into contract to sell the property to the condominium developer. “This action is in the best interest of the city,” the notice read, as do all such notices. None of the local advocates and elected officials were alerted. “When we found out about it, it was a done deal,” Susan Stetzer, the district manager of the local community board, said of the deed changes. “If there had been proper notification, it’s very likely this never would have happened.” The city settled on $16.15 million based on two appraisals of the property — one in April 2013, another in December 2014 — using “longstanding valuation practices,” Austin Finan, a spokesman for the mayor, said. Current and former city officials said that the sum, though significant, in fact undervalued the potential resale value of the unrestricted property. The deal was approved by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. In April 2015, before Allure’s sale of the building, Mr. Capalino began representing Slate Acquisition, the developer that would buy the property from Allure Group, though its contract did not cover lobbying related to 45 Rivington Street. City Hall officials said the deed restriction changes did not come up in the three documented meetings last year between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Capalino. Instead, the mayor and Mr. Capalino, who has bundled $44,940 in campaign contributions for Mr. de Blasio’s re-election campaign since October, discussed Chinese tourism, a downtown heliport and rezoning in Manhattan, the officials said. A spokeswoman for Mr. Capalino said he had limited his lobbying on behalf of Village Care to the administrative agency and had had no discussions with the mayor about Rivington House.
Nor was the deal a factor, officials said, in the decision to replace the commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services in January. The former commissioner, Stacey Cumberbatch, declined to discuss the reason for her removal when reached by phone; she currently works for New York City Health and Hospitals.
1COMMENT “I really don’t want to speak to you, thank you,” she said before hanging up.



Controversy Over LES Nursing Home Gets Even More Convoluted (CurbedNY)
A City Councilwoman and the Manhattan Borough President want access to sale documents Now City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer have also written to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to get a hold of the documents relating to the sale, according to Crain's. The deal is currently under investigation by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's office, which obtained the documents through a subpoena.


Two pols demand info on deal to turn Lower East Side nursing home into condos (CrainsNY)  City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer call for more transparency on 45 Rivington St. Add two Manhattan elected officials to the list of people trying to figure out how a health care firm was able to sell a Lower East Side nursing home supposedly protected by the city for a nearly $70 million profit. City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer sent a joint letter to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services Tuesday requesting documents related to the sale of a nursing-home facility at 45 Rivington St. Last year, the department lifted a deed restriction that had long required the building to be used as a health care facility. The parcel was subsequently sold to real estate developers who plan to build luxury housing there.  "We are deeply troubled by the lifting of the deed restriction and subsequent sale of the property to [Slate Property Group] and have been advocating for transparency and accountability from the administration regarding the circumstances around these events," the officials wrote. "We believe the public has a right to know how and why the Rivington House facility will no longer be maintained in perpetuity for their benefit—despite all of our efforts to protect this property as a community asset." The documents in question have already been given to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who filed a subpoena as part of his investigation into the transaction.


Nursing home deal, and City Hall response, raises questions (CapitalNY)  But it seems to have been fairly easy for Allure, which runs for-profit nursing homes in New York City, to get permission to change the use of the building, despite the fact that such changes are granted exceedingly rarely. After buying the 150,000-square-foot facility from Villagecare for $28 million in February of 2015, Landau reached out to the same assistant commissioner, Randal Fong, to request the entire deed restriction attached to the building be lifted. In a three-sentence email dated April 27, 2015, Landau wrote, “We as the owners of Rivington properties that owns the parcel located at 45 Rivington St. NYC. With this letter we are requesting to remove both restrictions on the property. We engaged PeterRastetter from Metropolitan Valuation Service to help us validate the value by conducting an independent appraisal.” The following month, Allure entered into a contract with Slate Property Group on May 11 to sell the site for $116 million. A public hearing was for the deed restriction change was announced in the City Record that same day, but only by citing the block and lot of the property—not the address or the “Rivington House” name by which is known. The deed modification, which is publicly available, states “the mayor by authorization … duly ordered and directed the removal of the not-for-profit ‘residential health care facility’ restriction that limits the use and the development of the subject property.” More than a month before Allure’s request, on March 25, 2015, de Blasio met with top lobbyist James Capalino, who five days later began a three-month contract as Slate’s lobbyist. Also present at the meeting was Wang Jianlin, a Chinese developer whose company Dalian Wanda Group was about to announce a strategic partnership with China Zanke, one of the companies involved in Slate Property Group’s acquisition of Rivington House, the mayor’s public schedules show. Capalino began lobbying City Hall under the Bloomberg administration in October of 2013 for the nonprofit use restriction to be lifted at 45 Rivington St. At the time, he was in contract with Villagecare. He wrote a letter to former deputy mayor Linda Gibbs, but his request went unanswered. On Feb. 19, 2014, he raised the issue in a letter with Stacey Cumberbatch, who was DCAS commissioner at the time. His request once again went unmet because Villagecare was not willing to pay the $16 million fee, Hinton said.
Villagecare terminated Capalino’s contract later that year. Records show he was never successful in getting the deed restriction changed. It was Allure, who was willing to pay the fee, who got it done.  Stacey Cumberbatch, who was commissioner at the time, was move to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation in January in a shift city officials said was unrelated to the Rivington Street issue. Still, the circumstances surrounding her departure from the agency are murky. The mayor announced she would be leaving the commissioner’s post amid more high-profile personnel shifts on Jan. 5. His press office that night declined to say her new title or salary, but confirmed the following day she would be earning the same amount as a vice president at the hospitals agency. She then took six weeks of paid leave and began her new job March 7. Multiple sources said she had conflicts with elected officials.




de Blasio Tries to Close Another Nursing Home With the Help of Its In House Lobbysit Berlin Rosen


Mayor's Support of Controversial Nursing Home Developers Angers Locals (DNAINFO)  Local residents are calling on Mayor de Blasio to withdraw a legal brief his office filed in support of the developers of a controversial nursing home project — saying the move is a major "disappointment" to those who have fought the project for years. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability filed an amicus brief stating the State Supreme Court overstepped its role by forcing the state to redo portions of its environmental review of Jewish Home Lifecare's proposed 20-story nursing home before construction of the West 97th Street project can begin. The Mayor's Office of Sustainability filed an amicus brief stating the State Supreme Court overstepped its role by forcing the state to redo portions of its environmental review of Jewish Home Lifecare's proposed 20-story nursing home before construction of the West 97th Street project can begin.  In a recent letter, Community Board 7 criticized the mayor for turning his back on the community in their more than 5-year-long fight against the development, adding that his office repeatedly refused to get involved in the issue earlier despite their repeated requests. 

"We are deeply disappointed and puzzled that your Administration would side with developers in an instance such as this where a respected State Court Judge held that a New York State agency, charged with protecting the public’s health, failed to adequately follow state law," the letter states.  The mayor's brief argued that overturning an environmental review sets a bad precedent; Community Board 7 members argued in their letter that the judge was ensuring that the review account for the project's proximity to the elementary school P.S. 163.  "The impacts on the school must be seriously analyzed, considered, and appropriately mitigated, in order to safeguard the health and education of the children," the letter states. Board members are calling on de Blasio to meet with them and elected officials to consider an alternate location for JHL's nursing home and to withdraw the amicus brief.  Elected officials have also expressed disappointment and anger at the mayor's decision.  "The mayor's decision to weigh in against this ruling baffles me," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in a statement. "[A] state Supreme Court judge found this environmental review was botched and ordered it redone, to ensure P.S. 163's students get adequate protection from hazardous materials in the soil and disruptive noise." City Councilman Mark Levine, who has fought to stop the nursing home andintroduced legislation that would curb construction noise next to schools, also registered disapproval. "I’m shocked and disappointed by the Mayor’s decision to file an amicus brief in support of JHL Tower,” said Levine in a statement. * New York City officials lifted deed restrictions on Rivington House, a Lower East Side health clinic now slated to become condos, based on an appraisal that valued it at $65 million, about half of what the city sold it for, the Journal reports:



Thanks to Berlin Rosen Its Almost Was No Longer A Wonderful Life For Seniors On the Westside of Pottersville
“It’s horrible to move at our age,” said Lillian Schafer, 90, balking at the notion of leaving the assisted-living facility Williams Memorial Residence to go to East Harlem. A developer wants to build a luxury  development on the sight of Schafer building. “All the way up there? East 125th Street. Oh my god!  That the way the new lobbyists private Tammany Hall unanswerable to the voters treat seniors when their is a buck to be made for the developers and themselves. New York City being overrun by developers has more in common with Pottersville than Bedford Falls and their is no George Bailey to save us.  Not even Clarence can't earn his angle wings against these money hungry lobbyists, Rosen-Potter and Kasirer-Potter and the developers they work for.  They even want to use the white seniors to push the gentrification of Harlem making new markets for them to push long term middle class residence out of the city.  Forget about the poor door.  Seniors who have built our city, defended our country and raised our families are now treated like lobbyists who run the new private Tammany Hall. The international faith-based organization which will run the new Harlem senior housing, promised it won’t increase rents for those who make the move for at least 18 months, and moving fees will also be paid.

Lobbyists for Developers Throw Seniors Who Have Built This City Out of Their Homes
Berlin Rosen who is working for both the mayor and developers all over the city is working with the Salvation Army who is pushing the senior out their long term community on the Westside. The developer interested in buying the senior home Brack Capital Real Estate has been represented by NYC's top lobbyists Suri Kasirer who is the biggerst lobbyists in the city.  “Moving from the Upper West Side to East Harlem is very difficult for a senior who is set in their routine and unfamiliar with a new neighborhood,” said James, organizing a protest last Wednesday denouncing the Salvation Army. “I am urging the Salvation Army and Brack-Capital to help keep these seniors on the Upper West Side.” It only a matter of time before the lobbyists in New York are hired by the Soylent Green company.

Berlin Rosen Joined At the Hip With A Congressman and AG
A group of spry seniors — including 82-year-old retired lawyer Eliot Loshak — are plotting to pressure the state Attorney General’s office to block the multimillion dollar contract. What the Seniors will soon find out the Lobbyist Berlin Rosen have long root many connected to AG Schneiderman.  Both partners in New York One’s letter lobbyist Berlin Rosen, Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin worked for Schneiderman.  Berlin was his chief of staff when he was a NYS Senator. Valerie Berlin is  married to Congressman Nadler's Chief of Staff Amy Rutkin. Congressman Nadler is against the senior move.  It A Wonderful Life in New York City Congressman Nadler and AG Schneiderman.  Is the way they treat senior who have built this city, defended our county and raised our families?  “The mission of a non-profit like the Salvation Army is to support, in this case, senior affordable housing, not to sell a building to an owner who is going to put in luxury housing,” the question the protested want answered.*PR "specialists now outnumber reporters by nearly 5 to 1" (Politico) Update  
State AG Files Motion to Stop Sale of UWS Senior Residence  (DNAINFO) Eric Schneiderman filed a motion opposing the proposed $108 million sale of the Salvation Army facility.