Friday, April 1, 2016

Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation 667











In the Middle of A Federal Investigation of the Rivington Deed Change the Council Proposes Deed Change Reforms Corruption Cover-Up?

The New York City Council is expected to pass legislation to require mayors to personally approve any alteration to or removal of a city-imposed deed restriction and create a database to track existing deed restrictions and changes to them, the Times reports.  * Rivington House deal spurs City Council to enact tighter rules on removing deed limits (NYDN)




DE BLASIO DILEMMA: Both Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change and LICH Hospital converting to luxury apartments...Both Under Fed Investigation . . .  Both Involve Lobbyist Capalino
The announcement comes as Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the hospital’s sale to Fortis as part of his wide-ranging probe into de Blasio’s fundraising practices. Formerhospital de Blasio vowed to save during his mayoral campaign likely slated forluxury apartments (NYDN) A former hospital Mayor de Blasio vowed to save during his 2013 campaign for City Hall is likely to become luxury housing, the latest in a long series of disappointments for City Hall on the site.



The Rivington Nursing Home Deed Change is Being Investigated by the Feds
Among those matters: the lifting of deed restrictions on a Lower Manhattan nursing home that allowed it to be sold to luxury condominium developers at a $72 million profit; whether an animal rights group that supported removing horse carriages from city streets got favorable treatment in return for generous donations to the Campaign for One New York; and whether the mayor, or those acting with him, violated state election law in raising money for three Democratic candidates to help the party gain control of the State Senate in 2014.   City officials and lawyers representing some of the subjects of the investigation, however, contend that it has focused on what they characterize as the traditional business of politics and government: donors supporting the mayor and later seeking what they said was his legitimate help on issues of interest to them. ‘


Deputy Mayor Shorris Corp Council Carter Both Lie for A Living to the Council Protect de Blasio 
De Blasio deputyaccidentally stirs new controversy in City Council bungled-deed testimony (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio's second in command testified to the City Council on the administration's admitted mishandling of the deed removal on a Lower East Side AIDS facility — which paved the way for luxury housing — but ended up stepping into a new controversy on the very last question. City Councilman Ben Kallos asked First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris if he would say on the record why he could only testify for a limited time. He said he was told by City Hall that Shorris was attending the US Conference of Mayors, which is in Oklahoma City, and could only stay for two and a half hours. But Shorris seemed to know nothing about the conference, saying only that he had appointments lined up for the day, and that the mayor — and not him — was attending the conference. Later, a spokesman for the City Council released a statement, accusing City Hall of lying to them in order to limit Shorris' time on the stand testifying about the City Hall screw up. "The administration misled the Council and the Speakers Office into believing that First Deputy Mayor Shorris' availability for the hearing this morning would be limited because of events related to the U.S Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City," said Eric Koch, a spokesman for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.* CityOfficials Are Questioned Over Changes to Nursing Home’s Deed (NYT)  And for six hours City Hall cabinet members — including the first deputy mayor, Anthony E. Shorris, and the corporation counsel, Zachary W. Carter — offered replies and sparred with council members, but ultimately revealed few new details in a case that had become a black eye for Mayor Bill de Blasio and spawned multiple overlapping investigations. How were possible warning signs overlooked? Why were decisions at City Hall not effectively communicated to the agency entrusted with carrying them out? When did Mr. de Blasio, a champion of affordable housing, learn that a prime bit of city-protected real estate on the Lower East Side had slipped away for a price? Just before Mr. Shorris testified, City Hall officials sought to deflect attention from the proceedings by announcing plans to essentially replace Rivington House with a center in Lower Manhattan that is expected to house between 100 and 200 seniors in a combination of health care and affordable housing units. The construction of a new center appeared to close the door on the possibility that the city would try to claw back the Rivington House property, though Mr. Shorris in his testimony said that any such action would depend on the results of two continuing investigations by the New York State attorney general and federal prosecutors. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, has said that he learned of the issue with Rivington House from news reports in late March. But Mr. Shorris testified that he informed the mayor of the issue after requesting in late February that the Investigation Department begin its inquiry. Mr. Phillips, the mayor’s spokesman, later said that those two events were contemporaneous and occurred in late March.

Sal Albanese ‏@SalAlbaneseNYC  Are u kidding, there's no fight, they lied from the beginning when DEB said no one knew anything about it & that it was an oversight
Shorris says he didn't address Rivington matter again until Feb. '16 -- but internal finger-pointing had begun two months earlier


@BenKallos: "How long did you work for (lobbyist) James Capalino?" #Rivington

Sally Goldenberg ‏@SallyGold  .@NYCCouncil asks Carter about @PreetBharara investigation into Rivington. "I'm surprised you're hearing this for the first time."

Sandi Bachom ‏@sandibachom Loved the way the council chamber gasped when @BenKallos asked deputy mayor when he worked for Capalino. It's ok was 30 years ago


Media Critic ‏@NYMediaCritic  Shorris doing the classic "I don't recall" evasion. Shame. #RivingtonHouse

We reported this morning, Stacey Cumberbatch, former DCAS commissioner who moved to HHC after Rivington, left HHC in June this year.

Shorris says he didn't address Rivington matter again until Feb. '16 -- but internal finger-pointing had begun two months earlier


After New York City First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris told those investigating a land use snafu that he couldn’t recall the details, the Post asks why someone with a weak memory is “in charge” of many city agencies.
@BenKallos points out the city record used a block and lot, not an address, when advertising public hearing on rivington house.


Deputy Mayor Shorris Does Not Remember Meetings, Email About Rivington Nursing Home Deal Will the Council Continue the Cover-Up?
Report: Deputy Mayor to be Grilled by City Council OverRivington House Debacle (Bowery Boogie) First deputy mayor Tony Shorris will testify tomorrow before City Council regarding his role in the whole Rivington House debacle. This is a big deal. The $16.1 million deed lifting that led to a $116 million flip job into luxury condos by the Allure Group is still festering as problem for the de Blasio administration.  Politco has the scoop on the public hearing, and also obtained the transcripts of the City Comptroller Scott Stringerprobe two months ago. Here are some highlights… It also seems clear, although Shorris never says so directly, that he did not have a particularly robust or effective mode of communicating with Stacey Cumberbatch, who was commissioner of DCAS until January of this year. Cumberbatch informed Shorris through a routine memo about the potential sale of Rivington House, which had been a city-owned building before being sold to a nonprofit running an AIDS residence in the 1990s. Shorris explained that he did not read the memo and that some time during the latter portion of his first year on the job, he stopped reading these memos in their entirety because they were too time-consuming.  Instead, he expected commissioners to use their judgment and inform him in person or over the phone of priorities and problems. But that evolution in communication strategy was never made clear to Cumberbatch, Shorris acknowledged during questioning. Okay, reading memos isn’t part of your job description. Cool. Next. City Hall officials previously said Shorris first learned of the city’s hand in lifting these deed restrictions and the subsequent sale in February —something he did not dispute when Schwam asked. He also said that in 2014, when the AIDS residence provider first approached the de Blasio administration about its intentions to sell the building to a nursing home operator, he did not view the issue as a priority because he believed it would remain a health care facility. At that time, neither the nonprofit, VillageCare, nor the eventual buyer, The Allure Group, mentioned the potential sale to a condo developer. It was not until DCAS lifted the deed restrictions for a $16 million fee that the building’s use was allowed to be changed and Allure sold it to Slate Property Group. Speaking of City Council and Rivington House, our own Councilwoman Margaret Chin reportedly possessed advance knowledge of the Rivington House deal but allegedly didn’t tell Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito. So, yeah, lots to discuss…

De Blasio deputy has amnesia when it comes to shady nursing home deal (NYP) First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris suffered numerous memory lapses about the Rivington Street nursing-home fiasco, telling investigators more than two dozen times that he couldn’t recall incidents, ­e-mails or details, records show. Mayor de Blasio’s right-hand man claimed he couldn’t remember a meeting with Stacey Cumberbatch, a city commissioner, or the content of any conversations they had about Rivington in 2014. His schedule showed a July 25, 2014, meeting with Cumberbatch, then head of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, where the deal was on the agenda. Shorris also said he believed his decision that the property should remain a nursing home — rather than be sold on the open market — was communicated to the agency. But he couldn’t recall how. “I’ve asked myself that question. I do not remember the exact mechanism. I just don’t,” he told investigators for city Comptroller Scott Stringer, according to a transcript of the July 27 interview obtained by The Post through public-disclosure laws. Asked if he had met with Cumberbatch about Rivington in 2014, Shorris replied, “Probably. I can’t say I remember exactly.” The interview transcript shows investigators grilled Shorris about his claim that he didn’t learn about the February 2016 sale until after it happened, even though ­e-mails show members of his staff discussed the pending sale in December 2015. When investigators tried to press Shorris over the two-month lapse, his lawyer, G. Michael Bellinger, repeatedly intervened. ”He already answered that question. Don’t answer it again,” Bellinger said. “I’m instructing him not to answer that question.” A City Hall spokesman said Shorris will be testifying at a City Council hearing on the Rivington House deal Thursday.


1199 Close to the Mayor Pushed the Rivington Deed Lifting
Emails and texts show 1199 SEIU helped a for-profit company build relationships with the de Blasio administration as it persuaded the city to modify deed restrictions on a nonprofit health facility in the Lower East Side, The Wall Street Journal reports  Newly Released Documents Underscore Influence of Health-Care Union (WSJ) * While many New Yorkers are upset with the way de Blasio runs the city, emails made public by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer show that union bosses are the ones really calling the shots in City Hall, the Post writes.
Smoking-gun evidence that union bosses run New York (NYP Ed) Many New Yorkers don’t like how Mayor de Blasio runs the city — but he’s not really the one calling the shots: Unions are. That became crystal clear from e-mails and documents City Comptroller Scott Stringer released this week linked to the city’s decision to lift deed restrictions from the Rivington House nursing home. When a top de Blasio staffer asked “how critical” the decision was, the reply from an aide, Sarah Samis, was telling: “Very critical b/c it involves 1199 jobs and they want this done,” said the e-mail, in a reference to the health-care workers union, 1199SEIU




As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration weighed whether to remove deed restrictions at a Manhattan nursing home—a matter now under state and federal investigation—a top economic development aide asked “how critical is this? “Very critical b/c it involves 1199 jobs and they want this done,” wrote Sarah Samis, an aide to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, in an email, referring to 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. Newly released emails, text messages and other documents show 1199, the nation’s largest health-care union and one of the most powerful in New York City, played an integral role helping the Allure Group, a for-profit nursing care provider, build relationships with Mr. de Blasio’s administration as the firm successfully persuaded the city to modify the deed restrictions on Rivington House.  The deed change led Allure to sell Rivington House, located on the Lower East Side, for what appears to be a $72 million profit to developers who plan to build luxury housing, prompting several investigations. The union wanted Allure to operate Rivington as a for-profit nursing home, saving the jobs of some members, according to emails. The emails and other documents, which were produced as part of the city comptroller’s investigation into the Rivington House deed change, underscored the outsize influence 1199 has in Mr. de Blasio’s administration and the degree to which city officials assess the union’s interests when making policy decisions. The union was the only major organized labor group to endorse Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 bid for the Democratic mayoral nomination. The union was one of the two largest contributors to the Campaign for One New York, a now-disbanded political nonprofit supporting the mayor. The nonprofit received $500,000 from 1199, records show.  A number of Mr. de Blasio’s top aides once worked for the union and one of his closest friends, Patrick Gaspard, formerly served the  union’s political director. “They are very influential,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a Manhattan Democrat who once worked there. “There has been a weakening of the unions on the national level, but unions in New York remain strong…and 1199 is among them.” The union has long held considerable power in New York politics, with a member-mobilization operation and a large political-action committee to contribute to candidates during election years. Jennifer Cunningham, a former political director at the union, is credited with helping resuscitate the political career of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he lost his first bid for governor in 2002. The union helped fund Mr. Cuomo’s publicity campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The union strategized with Mr. de Blasio in connection with the sale of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. The mayor initially promised to keep healthcare on the site but later backed a plan by Fortis Property Group, a real-estate company, to develop it into high-rise towers with some health-care services. Neighborhood activists tried to block Fortis because other bidders were offering more health-care services. The union received a subpoena in connection with a federal probe into the closure of the hospital and the property’s sale, a person familiar with the matter said.  In the effort to lift the deed restrictions at Rivington House, Joel Landau, an executive at the Allure Group, often talked to 1199’s then-political director Kevin Finnegan, an ally of Mr. de Blasio, in hopes of getting the union’s help to influence the city, according to the emails and text messages. “Heard the mayor stood you up today,” Mr. Landau wrote in a text to Mr. Finnegan.  “He showed up late as usual,” Mr. Finnegan replied. In one text from October 2014, Mr. Landau praised Mr. Finnegan’s success advancing the union’s interests in connection with the Brooklyn hospital sale. In a December 2014 email, Emma Wolfe, the mayor’s top political aide who once worked for the union, wrote that officials at 1199 were upset and “urgently” requesting that the city help Mr. Landau on Rivington House.   A September 2014 memo prepared by city aides on Rivington included a chart comparing the interests of various stakeholders affected by the deed change. The union was one of four groups represented in the chart.
Officials at the local community board on the Lower East Side also appeared aware of the sway that the union held with the mayor’s administration. The union is “very close” to the mayor and that is an “understatement,” wrote Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, in an email. In an interview, Ms. Stetzer said the community board’s concern was transparency, and the community’s interests had been left out of the discussion.  * Investigators have obtained the emails of Ross Offinger, a de Blasio fundraiser who connected him to wealthy donors but is now under scrutiny as part of a federal and state investigation examining the mayor’s fundraising activities, The Wall Street Journal reports


Different Timelines Between Sorris and de Blasio When Both Knew About Rivington Scandal 
Deputy mayor’s Rivington timeline doesn’t match de Blasio’s (NYP) First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris on Thursday said he told Mayor de Blasio about the Rivington nursing-home fiasco in early March — contradicting Hizzoner’s own account that he learned about it weeks later from a newspaper story. Testifying before the City Council, Shorris said he first learned of the botched deal in late February and by March 1 had asked Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters to launch a probe into how the city allowed the non-profit home to be sold for luxury housing. Pressed on the timeline after 2¹/₂ hours of testimony, Shorris said he had informed the mayor of the troubling situation within three days of his call to Peters. First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris on Thursday said he told Mayor de Blasio about the Rivington nursing-home fiasco in early March — contradicting Hizzoner’s own account that he learned about it weeks later from a newspaper story. Testifying before the City Council, Shorris said he first learned of the botched deal in late February and by March 1 had asked Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters to launch a probe into how the city allowed the non-profit home to be sold for luxury housing. Pressed on the timeline after 2¹/₂ hours of testimony, Shorris said he had informed the mayor of the troubling situation within three days of his call to Peters. City Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations, said the hearing elicited a number of contradictions from prior accounts from City Hall. “It’s hard to believe the lack of knowledge when there’s so much e-mail and other documentation that shows that the administration was aware of it at City Hall as early as December [2015], if not before that.” City Hall officials later walked back Shorris’ timeline, saying his review of the deal lasted several weeks — not days — before he told the mayor. “Today, Mr. Shorris remembered that time period being a few days after he called on DOI to investigate the matter, when in reality it was a couple of weeks.” DOI found that top City Hall officials knew or should have known about the deal, where the city got $16.1 million in exchange for lifting two restrictions on the property’s uses. City Council Holds Hearing on Controversial Lifting of Rivington House Deed Restriction (NY1) Brooklyn City Councilman David Greenfield: Who screwed up in your team and how are they being held accountable? There were no screwups? Nobody screwed up? So when you went and you gave a directive as the first deputy mayor, that didn't happen, but nobody screwed up?





No NYP It is Not Incompetence   The Campaign Mayor Is Following Reagan Plausible Deniability So He Can Collect Pay to Play Campaign Contributions 
Stringer found 40 staffers, “including top-level deputy mayors,” involved in the Rivington decision, yet no one stopped the deal. Or even, supposedly, told the mayor about it.

De Blasio deputy admits no one’s really running City Hall (NYP) At the hearing, Shorris said he wanted the site to remain a health-care facility — but for some reason (how should he know why?) his fellow staffers lifted deed restrictions, paving the way for a new owner to put up luxury condos. And for a de Blasio donor to snag an instant $72 million profit. In an interview with the city Comptroller’s Office, Shorris said something similar. Yet in two dozen-plus instances, he told that investigator he just can’t recall the details. Really? Why is someone with such a weak memory “in charge” of dozens of city agencies? And if he’s lying, what is he trying to cover up? Perhaps US Attorney Preet Bharara (who’s also investigating the case) will get the answers. Of course, the mayor’s aides were racing to please SEIU 1199, the powerful health-care union (also one of de Blasio’s top donors). The union wanted a quick sale in large part so it could collect $18 million in pension payments the facility owed it. And what the union wants, the union gets.



de Blasio to "Take A Look At" Another City Deal With the Rivington Nursing Home $72 Million Owners 

De Blasio will take a ‘hard look’ at Rivington firm’s newdeal (NYP) Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday the city is re-examining a deal that gave development rights for a Brooklyn armory to the company that hushed up its purchase of the Rivington House nursing home earlier this year. “We’re going to take a very hard look at that situation — the contract has not been finalized,” the mayor said at an unrelated press conference on the Upper West Side. “I think what they did was inappropriate,” he added. “And I think anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York and misleads us needs to know that there will be consequences.” Slate Property Group won the right to convert the Bedford Union armory in Crown Heights into 330 apartments just before it quietly clinched the nursing-home purchase in February. The property was sold over community objections after the city lifted a deed restriction. That sale is now under investigation. Just two days ago, the mayor’s own Economic Development Corporation defended Slate’s role at the armory, saying the firm won the contract fairly. *De Blasio reconsiders if 'inappropriate' Rivington House developer should keep city-backed Brooklyn project (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio said he'll take a "hard look" at whether a developer implicated in the Rivington House scandal should get to keep a big city-backed project in Brooklyn. Slate Property Group was tapped by the city to develop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights — but de Blasio said Wednesday he's reconsidering the deal. "We're going to take a very hard look at that situation. That contract has not been finalized," he said. Slate bought Rivington House, a former Lower East Side nursing home, to turn it into luxury condos — and investigators found they plotted with the seller to keep the plan secret until the city had lifted a deed restriction requiring the property to be used for health care. "I think what they did was inappropriate," de Blasio said. "Anyone who seeks to do business with the city of New York who seeks to mislead us needs to know there will be consequences. So we'll take a hard look at that situation." Activist groups have called on the city to yank the armory project from Slate. As the Daily News reported, they're also asking Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, whose foundation is helping to pay for a rec center at the site, to drop out.

How the Rivington Nursing Home Owners Played the State's Economic Development Corp for Another Development
City urged to scuttle project over developer’s ties to nursing home scandal (NYP) The city should scuttle a project on publicly owned land in Crown Heights because one of the developers was involved in the Lower East Side nursing-home fiasco, community advocates said Monday Groups including New York Communities for Change and the Crown Heights Tenant Union plan a protest Wednesday to try to block the Slate Property Group. Slate bought the Rivington House nursing home for $116 million in February with plans to turn it into luxury housing — but only after the seller got the city to remove a deed restriction in place for decades. The deal has embroiled Mayor de Blasio in a storm of criticism. Slate founder Matt Nussbaum warned company officials in a May 2015 e-mail to keep silent until the restriction was removed and then “we can do whatever we want. Seven months later, the city’s Economic Development Corp. awarded Slate and BFC Partners a lease to develop the building. “Slate has proven they cannot be trusted — they’re a deceitful developer,” said Renata Pumerol, a spokeswoman for NYCC, whose protest was first reported by Crain’s.





Groundhog Day: Rivington Nursing Home, Special Agent Cover-Up At City Hall Continues
Piercing the fog of de Blasio’s cover ups (NYP)Mayor de Blasio’s damage-control efforts in two separate scandals took heavy hits last week. What’s next? Start with the removal of deed restrictions on that Rivington Street property — a mess de Blasio insists he first learned of when the scandal hit the headlines in March. Oops: Politico reports that a trove of e-mails and documents showing the push to lift the restrictions started in early 2014. The pressure came from powerhouse union 1199, and all the mayor’s top aides were involved.  Documents show that throughout 2014 and 2015, top City Hall aides — Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Anthony Shorris, plus de Blasio chief of staff Emma Wolfe — were involved in talks on lifting the requirement that a nonprofit run the site. That much high-level attention — and 1199’s role — sure should’ve put the issue on the mayor’s radar. Meanwhile, the “agents of the city” gambit is falling apart. This, recall, is the excuse for shrouding Team de Blasio’s communications with key political consultants who also lobby city government: The mayor insists that when he’s asking these folks to help with his business, he has a right to keep the public in the dark about what’s said. Not so, says the Commission on Open Government — the state’s official transparency monitor. Its advisory opinion argues that, since the consultants got no city pay for this work, they’re not like agency staff whose communications are shielded. That finding will carry weight in court , so it’s likely that a judge will soon be forcing de Blasio to cough up the goods. Recent filings show payments of more than $2 million to the “agents of the city” from de Blasio’s pet nonprofits. And their ties to him also let the lobbyists earn big from private interests seeking favors from the city — lifting deed restrictions, for example. De Blasio World is one giant web of favors, cash and political cronyism — hidden by a fog of double-talk and lame excuses. Here’s hoping the army of prosecutors now on the case can pierce the fog and map it all out.



So, Again Rivington Deed Change Whodunit? Shorris?, Capalino", Wolfe?  and Why? Politico $upport For Reelection
 (NYDN) Two investigations into how the de Blasio administration enabled a real estate developer to reap a $72 million windfall on property once owned by the city have left unanswered the big questions: whodunit and why. Probes by the Department of Investigation and Controller Scott Stringer failed to identify who in City Hall gave a critical go-ahead that propelled the city bureaucracy into completing the transaction. Prime suspect: First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris. With the help of James Capalino, a lobbyist with close ties to Shorris, VillageCare asked the city to lift the deed restrictions in order to facilitate a sale.  The request triggered high-level City Hall deliberations. On July 25, 2014, Shorris discussed Rivington with Stacey Cumberbatch, then commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the agency that manages deed restrictions. That same day, Cumberbatch spoke to Capalino, an internal DCAS email indicates: “She told him that the City was reviewing options with regard to the property, and that DCAS will not remove the restriction at this time.” Stringer thus described the city as “putting VillageCare’s request on hold.” n September, the administration’s review, led by Shorris and Deputy Mayors Alicia Glen and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, concluded the building should be targeted for affordable housing and retail. All the while, the union representing AIDS home workers sought to save their jobs, as well as $18 million owed by VillageCare to the union pension fund.

A Dec. 2014 email to Shorris and Glen from top mayoral aide Emma Wolfe suggests that Shorris worked with 1199SEIU to identify a nursing home operator to take over the site. The union has the distinction of being de Blasio’s most generous backer — giving $500,000 to his Campaign for One New York.Despite the consensus that the building should be used for housing, Shorris told both the controller and DOI that he decided to keep Rivington House a health facility. He said he couldn’t recall if, when or how he informed DCAS of his decision. The City Hall line on what happened next holds that DCAS bureaucrats mobilized to lift the deed restrictions: 1) completely on their own, 2) despite Cumberbatch’s hold on doing so and 3) at the insistence of prospective buyer Joel Landau months before he owned the property.



“We need to move this,” one DCAS bureaucrat emailed another on Nov. 18, 2014. The key unanswered question: On whose orders? With Landau blustering that he would bail on a deal wanted by 1199, a union official prevailed on Wolfe to lean on DCAS to fast-track key paperwork — which DCAS did, according to emails. DCAS also ordered an appraisal that valued the property at $64 million — even as the buyer’s private estimate put it at $90 million. Under the city’s 25% formula for pricing deed restrictions, Landau paid $16 million, millions less than he should have. He then sold the property to a condo developer for $116 million. Shorris has professed ignorance of everything that happened after his phantom decision that the building should be maintained for health care. He says he does not recall seeing any of Cumberbatch’s three memos that updated progress. So, again, whodunit and why?

DOI Commissioner Peters Dummies Up On Rivington Documents Being Blocked By Team de Blasio
Mark Peters, watchdog without a bark against de Blasio blockade (NYDN) Despite a damning Department of Investigation report, crucial questions remain unanswered about the $116-million sale of a Lower East Side AIDS home to a condo developer with an assist — unwitting, he says — from Mayor de Blasio.  Most crucial: Why DOI Commissioner Mark Peters is letting City Hall mount a stonewall to his probe, which, left unchecked, will render his office toothless to fight the highest-level corruption. Through his lawyers, de Blasio blocked DOI from obtaining City Hall records related to the lifting of deed restrictions that produced a windfall for a developer and shortchanged taxpayers.  The obstruction was so egregious that DOI included a highly unusual commentary on it within the report — and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Wednesday called de Blasio’s withholding of information “very troubling.” Under Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter, a former federal prosecutor, the Law Department withheld reams of requested documents, claiming them irrelevant, and froze investigators out of City Hall computers. The lockout rendered the report on the Rivington House transactions incomplete, as stated in its final sentence: “Because DOI did not receive a full production of what it requested, it is unclear what Rivington-related information remains on the City Hall servers and computers, to which DOI was denied access.” As the report noted, and Peters knows well, “in typical investigations DOI has unrestricted access to City agencies and can clone computers discreetly.”  Viewing the issue very differently, Carter told the Daily News: “DOI is entitled to documents relevant to the matter they have under investigation. They have no authority to unfettered access.” The lockout rendered the report on the Rivington House transactions incomplete, as stated in its final sentence:


“Because DOI did not receive a full production of what it requested, it is unclear what Rivington-related information remains on the City Hall servers and computers, to which DOI was denied access.” As the report noted, and Peters knows well, “in typical investigations DOI has unrestricted access to City agencies and can clone computers discreetly.”  Viewing the issue very differently, Carter told the Daily News: “DOI is entitled to documents relevant to the matter they have under investigation. They have no authority to unfettered access.” A pity Peters had to recuse himself from the probe for that reason, for it precluded him from filing suit before issuing an admittedly incomplete report, which blamed only failures of communication and attention for the deed-restriction debacle. Emails that did make it through Carter’s net offer tantalizing glimpses into lines of inquiry not followed. Among them: Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen’s hot pursuit of affordable housing on the site, snuffed out after objections from a health care union and major de Blasio donor that was owed millions in pension-fund payments by the seller. Who made the call to sideline Glen, who is outranked only by de Blasio and First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris?  If Peters remains within his shell, ceding to investigations by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, his reputation for independence will be lost for good.* “Lack of accountability” in Rivington House debacle prompts policy changes but no heads roll (Village Voice)


Stringer and Other Pols We Don't Need Another Report on the Rivington Nursing Home Cover Up It Time to Demand the Prosecutors Arrest the Mayor
Stringer Says His Rivington Probe is Coming Out ‘Very Shortly’ (NYO) As controversy widens around City Hall’s involvement in the lifting of two deed restrictions on nonprofit AIDS hospice Rivington House, Comptroller Scott Stringer says his own report on the matter is coming out “very shortly.” “For the last several months, my office has been investigating the Rivington fiasco. I will be issuing our findings very shortly and at that time, I will answer and elaborate on many of these questions,” Stringer told the Observer at an unrelated press conference this afternoon. He said he could not yet specifically comment on City Hall’s response to the report, handling of the deed restriction process for Rivington House or a Queens councilman’s calls for the DOI to take the de Blasio administration to court to get documents and computers in connection with its investigation. “We are still in the middle of, we are still investigating this land-grab so I don’t want to get ahead of the release of our report that seeks to address many of the issues,” he continued. But he maintained that he is troubled by the circumstances surrounding the process. “I felt it was absolutely unbelievable that a restriction could be lifted in the middle of the night and a for-profit developer could walk away with $72 million,” he said. “How could that possibly happen in our city?”  Though the mayor has dismissed the agency’s assertion that they did not provide documents and computers requested, he acknowledged the tension between the city’s Law Department and the DOI. His spokesman also referred to Lancman’s request as a “blatant publicity stunt,” insisting that it cooperated with the agency’s request for relevant materials but legally declined to provide unfettered access to all City Hall communications, including communications irrelevant to the agency’s investigation.
Timeline On the Village Nursing Home Investigation




Councilman: If DOI Commissioner Does Not Go to Court to Get the Nursing Home Emails the Mayor Will Not Release He Should Resign

Councilman calls for action against de Blasio in real-estate deal (NYP) The head of the city’s Department of Investigation, who served as finance chairman of Mayor de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, came under pressure Monday to take legal action against City Hall. City Councilmember Rory Lancman of Queens fired off a letter to DOI Commissioner Mark Peters asking why DOI hasn’t taken action against the Mayor’s Office for blocking access to City Hall documents and computers during a recent probe of a controversial real-estate deal. The agency issued a scathing report last week on a city maneuver that allowed a Lower East Side nursing home to be sold for luxury housing. The report said investigators’ access to evidence was impeded by the city’s Law Department, which reports to the mayor.  Peters recused himself from the investigation. “It’s abnormal, unusual and practically unprecedented that an investigatory body is told by the subject of the investigation that we’re not giving you access or evidence that you’re entitled to, then the investigatory agency just shrugs and says, ‘Oh well,’ ” said Lancman. “If the DOI is saying that City Hall has impeded its investigation unlawfully, then the DOI needs to go to court to compel the city’s compliance with the law,” he added. “If not, Mark Peters needs to hand in his commissioner card today.” 

The DOI Rivington Nursing Home Cover-Up Goes Right to Commission Peters deB Campaign Treasurer 

Councilman wants Dept. of Investigation to take legal action to force de Blasio to turn over info on Rivington nursing home sale (NYDN) City Councilman Rory Lancman said going the extra mile is important because Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters was once de Blasio’s campaign treasurer. The DOI report on Rivington concluded that City Hall badly mishandled the deal — which included lobbyists with ties to de Blasio and some of his donors — but there was no corruption.  A spokeswoman for the DOI said the agency is reviewing its options. A de Blasio aide called Lancman’s request a “publicity stunt.”

The NY Times Covers-Up the Rivington Nursing Home Deed Scandal by Distracting 




Everyone Seem to Know About the Rivington House Sale in City Hall But the Mayor and the Council Does Not Want to Know Cover-UP
Rivington House Roundup: Everyone Seemed to Know but the Mayor (boweryboogie)More and more revelations this month about how City Hall officials seemed more aware of the Rivington House fiasco than Mayor de Blasio himself. Here’s a roundup of stories, in case you missed from before the holiday… The city’s Human Resources Administration inquired about Rivington House more than a year before the blockbuster $116 million deal. The agency sent an email in January 2015 to then-owner Village Care – “Emma [Devito of Village Care]: I hope all is well and happy New Year! I was wondering where things stood with Rivington House. I know that the nursing facility has closed, but do you have a plan for the building? If you wouldn’t mind giving me a bit of an update that would be great. Thanks! Dan.” The Allure Group purchased Rivington House a month later for $28 million. [Politico] City Council is already buckling. The Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, had planned a special hearing to discuss the handling of this and other deed restrictions around the city. Said meeting was scheduled for last week, but was postponed until the fall. “Several Council members said they were recently told by Ms. Mark-Viverito’s office that when the hearing does occur, the Council would not be delving into the events surrounding how the nursing home came to lose the deed restriction, which had prevented any use for it other than nonprofit residential health care.” [New York Times]



Rivington Lobbyist Capalino Deed Change Specialist At City Hall
Lobbyist Tied to Shady Hospice Sale Made $250K Pushing Other Deed Changes (DNAINFO)  The powerful lobbyist involved in a controversial deed switch that turned an AIDS hospice facility into a future luxury condo development made more than $250,000 in the past two years pushing for deed changes at three other properties in the city, records show. The lobbyist, James Capalino, pushed city agencies to either lift or modify deed restrictions at a landmarked skyscraper in Lower Manhattan, an industrial site in College Point and a transitional shelter in the East Village. And his efforts to modify the deed for the landmarked skyscraper were stalled after federal and state investigators opened probes into the lifting of a deed at the AIDS hospice Rivington House, which allowed the facility to be sold to luxury apartment developers and evoked negative headlines. In fact Fosun International, owners of the skyscraper at 28 Liberty St., stopped using Capalino's firm on the deed modification because of its connections to the Rivington House drama. Fosun had paid $120,000 to Capalino’s firm since January 2015 to lobby the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services to modify its deed in order to change parts of its public plaza and to build ground-level storefronts. But Fosun asked Capalino to stop lobbying DCAS in the first week of April, shortly after the Rivington House sale began making news and being scrutinized by the city comptroller’s office and investigators.



City Council Drops Investigation of Rivington Nursing Home

New York City Council Delays Scrutiny of Deed Changes (NYT)When New York City agreed to remove a deed restriction on a nursing home on the Lower East Side in exchange for $16.15 million, it did not foresee all the complications that would follow. The property, known as Rivington House, was then sold at great profit to a condominium developer — leading to questions about the arrangement, a moratorium on new deed changes, and state and federal investigations. More scrutiny was to come from the City Council: Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Council speaker, suggested there would be a hearing specifically addressing the city’s handling of deed restrictions. “There’s room here to do some oversight,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, told reporters in early April. But the hearing, which was tentatively scheduled for this week, was postponed until the fall.  And several Council members said they were recently told by Ms. Mark-Viverito’s office that when the hearing does occur, the Council would not be delving into the events surrounding how the nursing home came to lose the deed restriction, which had prevented any use for it other than nonprofit residential health care. One said the speaker’s office was concerned that the hearing would give renewed attention to an issue that has been problematic for Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat whose administration approved the deed change that allowed the Allure Group, a nursing home operator, to sell the building to the condominium developer for $116 million. Each requested anonymity in order to discuss the private exchanges.



A Cover-Up of What City Hall Knew About the Rivington Nursing Home Sale Continues 
HRA asked about Rivington House well before controverial sale, email shows (CapitalNY) The city's Human Resources Administration made inquiries about a Lower East Side nursing home more than a year before it was sold to a luxury condo developer, according to emails and interviews with sources.  The HRA, which has become increasingly powerful under Mayor Bill de Blasio, asked in January 2015 what was to become of the Rivington House facility. At that time it was being run as an AIDS residence by the nonprofit VillageCare and was sold the following month to Allure, a for-profit nursing home operator, for $28 million. De Blasio has said he did not learn of the building's fate until this past March. Daniel Tietz, chief special services officer in the office of the HRA commissioner, wrote an email to Emma Devito of VillageCare, which was operating the AIDS residence at the site, on Jan. 15, 2015. The email read: "Emma: I hope all is well and happy New Year! I was wondering where things stood with Rivington House. I know that the nursing facility has closed, but do you have a plan for the building? If you wouldn't mind giving me a bit of an update that would be great. Thanks! Dan." It is unclear if Devito responded. HRA declined to comment and VillageCare did not return a call for comment. HRA also sat in on meetings about Rivington House as early as May of 2014, according to sources. One meeting involved the agency's "desire to take property for other uses without allowing for sale," according to one source with knowledge of the matter. HRA is responsible for social services, including care for AIDS patients. Under de Blasio, the agency, run by Steve Banks, has expanded its portfolio to take over homelessness. Several sources who would only speak on background said Tietz wanted to find out what the site could be used for and that Banks was interested in whether some type of low-income housing could be built there. One person with knowledge of the matter said DCAS raised the possibility with City Hall of using the site for affordable housing in 2014.The email from Tietz included an attached memo from VillageCare to HRA in November of 2013, during the administration of Michael Bloomberg. That memo makes clear that VillageCare was interested in selling the property and laid out prospects for the building, such as expanding services for chronic health problems and reconfiguring two adult day health centers to allow for more exam rooms and mental health treatment capacity.This email is the latest in a series of revelations about how City Hall officials seemed to be more informed about Rivington House than de Blasio was. As POLITICO New York has previously reported, top and mid-level officials were kept in the loop at certain points along the way about the prospect that the site would be sold. The New York Times recently reported on a memo sent to first deputy mayor Tony Shorris about the site.* City official asked about controversial nursing home well before sale (NYP_   A de Blasio administration official inquired about the fate of a Lower East Side nursing home more than a year before the mayor said he learned of a controversial deal to convert it to high-end housing.



The Times Tries to Clean Up Their Guy deB On the Rivington $72 Million Deed Change Under Federal Investigation 
City seemingly admits to bungling nursing home property deal (NYP) City Hall is overhauling the rules for lifting deed restrictions on properties — a tacit admission that its bungling allowed a Lower East Side nursing home to be sold and quickly flipped for a $72 million profit. Newly proposed rules released Friday show the de Blasio administration intends to make sure the kind of transaction that turned a Rivington Street nursing home into luxury housing despite community objections is never repeated.* City Hall Tightens Control of Deed Changes After Nursing Home Deal (NYT) After the sale of a Manhattan property to condominium developers, the mayor’s office announced it would overhaul its policy for altering deed restrictions. City Hall officials acknowledged on Friday that the administration had known about the requests to lift the deed on Rivington House, though they provided no detailed timeline. “City Hall staff reviewed the potential alternative uses of the Rivington property with a number of agencies,” the document released on Friday said; and it concluded that the building’s continued use as a nursing home — as the administration has said was promised by Allure — served the city’s interests. City Hall officials have so far not explained how the two appraisals, done by an outside party in 2013 and by the city in late 2014, failed to arrive at the market value of the property that was reflected in its eventual sale. The document described them as “outdated by the time of the closing.” The money received by the city from the Rivington deal, $16 million, should be directed “towards the creation of much needed affordable senior housing in the affected community,” the document said, and the mayor “will direct Health & Hospitals to explore the creation of additional nursing bed capacity to the affected community” to replace those lost in the Rivington sale. The Allure Group and the city still face scrutiny from the state attorney general, the city comptroller and the city’s Investigation Department. The deals are also being looked at by federal prosecutors.






Two Pols Who Ignored Rivington Deed Change While It Was Happening Cover Their Asses
After de Blasio administration's Rivington House flub, city pols want deed removals added to land use reviews (NYDN) Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin want to include deed removals in the city’s land use process to avoid the type of bungling that resulted in the loss of a Lower East Side AIDS facility. In a letter to the City Planning Commission, the pols say by adding it to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the city can avoid the “disastrous consequences” that “we've seen at Rivington House.”





Months After Rivington Nursing Home Pay to Play Deed Deal the AG Moves to Block Allure From 72 Million
AG: Allure should be barred from buying nursing homes (NYP) The developers who won city approval to flip a Lower East Side nursing home for a $72 million profit are so untrustworthy that they should be barred from purchasing another such facility, this one in Harlem, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday. The AG’s office submitted a scathing 38-page affidavit in state Supreme Court in Manhattan shredding the credibility of the Allure Group, whose owners are involved in the scandal surrounding the deed to the Rivington House and are now trying to buy the Greater Harlem Nursing Home on West 138th Street.“The Allure Group’s direct involvement in the demise of the Rivington House home raises sufficient concern about the proposed purchasers’ suitability and fitness,” said Sean Courtney, assistant AG of the charities bureau. Courtney said Allure — owned by Joel Landau, Marvin Rubin and Solomon Rubin — hired Hershey Licht as controller at Rivington , which was sold to a luxury housing developer after the city lifted a deed restriction.



Pols Want New Restrictions On Deed Changes Where Were These Pols When de Blasio Changed the Deed on the Rivington Nursing Home?

Officials press de Blasio to release records on pending deed restrictions (NYP) Elected officials are demanding Mayor de Blasio cough up records on pending deed restrictions, such as one that resulted in four investigations into the sale of a Lower East Side nursing home. “We’re all frustrated,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said at a press conference on Wednesday. Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Lisette Camilo testified at a City Council hearing two weeks ago that she would share records on more than a dozen properties with pending restriction changes, but according to Brewer and Councilman Ben Kallos, she still hasn’t. The requests come several months after the city lifted deed restrictions on the Rivington House nursing home, paving the way for the property to be sold to a developer that plans to convert it to luxury housing — a deal now being investigated by the US Attorney’s Office.


Top de Blasio Aide Involved in the Rivington Deal Before Deed Lifted 
Mayoral Aide in Talks About Rivington Before Deed Restrictions Lifted, Property Sold (WSJ) Avi Fink, a senior aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, met with Allure Group executive at City Hall in December 2014  A senior member of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration was involved in talks with a private nursing-care company about the fate of a Lower East Side health-care facility as far back as 2014, according to emails and people familiar with the matter. In the months that followed, discussions about Rivington House included City Hall aides, a representative of the health-care workers union 1199-SEIU, Community Board 3, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Allure Group. It was Allure that bought Rivington House in 2015 and sold it to a residential developer for an apparent $72 million profit.  The record of meetings and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal suggests, for the first time, the presence of de Blasio aides in early stages of discussions about Rivington House with the Allure Group, long before the firm sold the property to a residential developer.  Avi Fink, a senior aide to Mr. de Blasio, met with Allure executive Joel Landau at City Hall in December 2014, as Allure was in the process of buying Rivington House, according to records and people familiar with the matter.   In January 2015, community board officials and Ms. Chin’s office said they were in touch with City Hall officials about the building, and that an official from 1199-SEIU also was involved in the conversations, according to records. Mr. de Blasio has said he didn’t know deed restrictions had been lifted on the property until news reports in March of this year. The emails, along with other records, document Mr. Landau’s pursuit of multiple plans for the property, at times apparently making different representations to various city and state agencies. Community board members and local officials said Kevin Finnegan, a political representative for 1199-SEIU, was involved in the discussions with City Hall, according to documents and a person familiar with the matter. The union had backed Allure’s plan to convert the property to a for-profit facility. Mr. Finnegan said he was involved but declined to comment further.* A senior member of de Blasio’s administration was involved in talks with a private nursing-care company about the fate of a Lower East Side health-care facility as far back as 2014, according to emails and people familiar with the matter.












City Hall Lifted Another Protective
Covenant the Same Week It Changed the Nursing Home Deed
Developer Who Got the Land Contributed to the Mayor's Campaign for One NY PAC and the Putnam $$$ Laundry
Builder Acquires Valuable Harlem Plot After Deed Change (NYT)  In the same week a city agency lifted a protective covenant on a Lower East Side nursing home, a change that is the focus of three inquiries, a similar move was playing out uptown.Few people knew that the agency, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, had accepted $875,000 in exchange for lifting a deed restriction, in place since 1976, that required a corner lot at St. Nicholas Avenue and 152nd Street to be used only by nonprofit cultural organizations in the area.Neighbors who learned about the change after the fact feared that the lot, owned by the Dance Theater of Harlem, would soon end up in the hands of developers. What they did not know, at that point, was that a developer who made a financial contribution to one of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s political causes was already in contract to buy the property. The developer, BRP Companies, closed on the sale last month for $3.1 million.The process by which the deed restriction on the unremarkable but nonetheless valuable Harlem parcel was lifted in many ways mirrors the one involving the Lower East Side nursing home, known as Rivington House. The local community board was not informed. Neither was the local councilman, Mark Levine, or the Manhattan borough president, Gale A. Brewer. A notice of a public hearing appeared on a back page of the City Record for a single day in April 2015. No one showed up at the hearing to testify. BRP Companies went into contract to buy the lot in May 2015. Months earlier, in October 2014, it had contributed $10,000 through a company it controls to the Putnam County Democratic Committee, a donation that coincided with a push that year by Mr. de Blasio and his allies to use local county committees as vehicles for supporting Democrats in tight State Senate races. The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York are now investigating whether the tactic resulted in violations of election law. Asked last month about the donation, Meredith Marshall, a founder of the firm, said he could not recall who had asked him to contribute, though he said it was not someone from Mr. de Blasio’s administration. Mr. Marshall has occasionally appeared in mayoral news releases, providing quotes supportive of housing initiatives. The lot also benefited from special zoning. When the City Council changed the zoning rules in 2012 for the neighborhood, a fast-gentrifying section of Harlem, the local councilman at the time obtained an exemption for the Dance Theater of Harlem that allowed for construction of greater height and density on the empty lot than in the surrounding area. The councilman, Robert Jackson, said he requested the exemption because the nonprofit said it wanted to build student housing; no one mentioned an eventual sale of the property. “I would have never agreed to do that,” he said, “because it doesn’t make sense.”* Goldman Sachs Announces Partnership With BRP to Invest in NYC-Area Development   A donation, a deed change, and a Harlem property formerly set aside for nonprofits now in the hands of developers * WSJ, Answers Elusive on Rivington House Deed Deal by Mara Gay:  Developer Snags Harlem Lot After Paying City $875K to Lift Deed: Report


de Blasio Lied About What He Knew About he Sale of the Nursing Home, Schneiderman Says He Was Misled 
"On Sunday, The Post’s Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein caught Mayor de Blasio himself in a lie. When news of the rancid Rivington nursing-home real-estate flip broke in March, the mayor claimed he’d learned of it from the press. But The Post has evidence that Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen’s chief of staff, James Patchett, in fact desperately tried to undo the deal in late February.   Patchett told the developer the reversal was “what the Mayor’s Office wants” and called the situation “important to us.” He plainly knew the flip would be trouble for de Blasio — the city charged $16.1 million to lift deed restrictions that would up letting the developer make a $72 million profit, while robbing the neighborhood of a nursing facility" AG Says He Was Misled  Eric Schneiderman’soffice claims it was misled on sale of Rivington House AIDS care facility (NYDN)  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office says it was misled about the sale of the Rivington House Lower East Side AIDS care facility to a condo developer. State law requires court approval — with recommendations from the Attorney General’s Office and state Health Department — whenever a not-for-profit facility like Rivington House is converted into a for-profit entity. The attorney general’s office signed off on the sale of the property in October 2014, not knowing the buyer, Allure Group, was going to push the city to lift the deed restriction that required the property to be operated as a nursing home, an official said. Allure then sold the building to a for-profit developer for $116 million. “The Attorney General’s office did not approve either the lifting of the deed restriction, or the subsequent sale to a for-profit developer,” said Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal. The Health Department also has said it was misled. Schneiderman’s office has issued subpoenas into the matter. Others, including the US Attorney’s Office, are also looking into the deal.* At the heart of the Manhattan land deal that triggered investigations and sent shudders through the city’s political culture is the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, a powerful but little-known municipal agency, the Journal writes:   * Despite de Blasio saying he found out about a controversial deal to turn a Lower East Side nursing home into luxury condos in the press, his team frantically tried to reverse the plans before they were reported on, the Post reports: 




Dep Mayor Shorris Aide's Email and Meeting On Desire to Sell Nursing Home to Developer in 2014 One of Many Warning to the Administration 


1. City knew former Rivington House owner wanted to removedeed restrictions: report (Real Deal)  VillageCare president discussed lifting restrictions with high-ranking de Blasio aide in 2014 Two years before the Allure Group sold the Rivington House to Slate Property Group and partners for $116 million in a scandal that’s embroiled City Hall, a high-ranking adviser in the de Blasio administration was aware that the previous owner was looking to have the property’s deed restrictions removed. In May 2014, a representative for the nonprofit healthcare provider VillageCare, which at the time owned the AIDS-care residence at 45 Rivington Street, sent an email to the first deputy mayor’s chief of staff requesting help removing restrictions that required the former city-owned building to be used as a nonprofit and for residential health care,

Politico reported. “I am writing to seek Mayor de Blasio’s assistance and support on changes VillageCare would like to make to its service delivery infrastructure,” VillageCare President Emma DeVito wrote to Dom Williams, chief of staff to First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris, according to emails obtained by Politico.  DeVito wrote that VillageCare wanted to sell the property and was told by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) that one restriction could be lifted in exchange for a $4.25 million fee to the city, while both could be removed for a fee of $8.25 million. “Both scenarios do not account for the millions of dollars we have invested in the property and will direct up to $8.25 million away from much-needed healthcare programming for the community,” she wrote. “The timing of these discussion are important to the completion of the sale and reinvestments.” VillageCare later sold the building for $28 million to the for-profit Allure Group, which paid the fee to have the restrictions removed and sold it earlier this year to Slate, which plans to build 100 luxury condos with Adam America and Vanke. DeVito asked to have a meeting with Williams to discuss an alternative to the fees in order to expand and maintain its health care services, but did not mention the site’s future use. 


2  Capalino "Our engagement with Village Care commenced on February 4, 2013 and ended on October 31, 2014 when Village Care terminated the agreement.  Capalino's T arget to Lobby According to His Contract With the Nursing Home: Citywide Administrative Services, Department of (DCAS), Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA), Citywide Administrative Services, Department of (DCAS)  ubject: Deed Restriction  3. In Jan 2016 A 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 


4.  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  5. 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.



Daily News Lists Unanswered Questions of Nursing Home Scandal


  1. Who was it who determined on behalf of de Blasio that fully lifting the deed restriction — instead of a modification allowing a for-profit health facility — was “in the best interest of the City”?

  1. When DCAS commissioned an appraisal to determine how much to charge Allure for lifting the deed restriction — which valued the building as if it were luxury apartments — had anyone weighed measures to ensure the facility’s continued use as a nursing home?

  1. Did an evaluation by ex-Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steve Banks green light a sale without conditions?

  1. Why did de Blasio overlook a January letter from Manhattan Community Board 3 pleading for a reversal of DCAS’ action before the property was sold, as it was just days later?

  1. Did de Blasio fundraiser James Capalino, who lobbied to remove the deed restriction on the AIDS home’s behalf, indeed cease efforts more than a year before the restriction was lifted, as he claims
A full accounting is a must — because all signs still say that someone or someones opened a door to developers who then stuck it to the city.





Who At Fault @ Team de Blasio for Nursing HomeGATE Nobody?  Where is the City Council Hearings?  


De Blasio slams nursing home sale — but doesn’t punish aides (NYP) Mayor de Blasio claims to be “livid” that his administration approved a deal to convert a nursing home to a luxe condo — yet the staffers and aides who let it happen have seemingly escaped his wrath. But top-level officials have so far skated in the widening scandal.  First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris knew about Allure’s sale of the nursing home to a condo developer in late February but did not inform the mayor, according to a New York Times report.  A deputy mayor typically signs off on real-estate arrangements, including deed restrictions, said two sources familiar with city property sales. But a de Blasio spokeswoman claimed the transaction never reached Shorris’ or the mayor’s desks. The job fell to the Mayor’s Office of Contracts general counsel, Paul Prissel, who reported at the time to Lisette Camilo, the spokeswoman said. Camilo became commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services on Jan. 5, replacing Stacey Cumberbatch, who was demoted to a lower-level job at another agency but allowed to retain her $205,180 salary. De Blasio denied the change in leadership had anything to do with the deed change.


Is the Fact That Not One Elected Official In NYC Has Asked for An Investigation A Cover Up?
Camilo said she learned about the sale on March 1, even though Manhattan Community Board 3 warned her of the possible flip in a Jan. 27 letter. Community leaders also alerted the mayor’s Manhattan liaison, Tommy Lin, who reports to Community Affairs Unit head Marco Carrion. It is unclear if Carrion informed Emma Wolfe, de Blasio’s top political aide, of these concerns. It also remains unclear whether the MOCS or DCAS knew Allure owed the city $6 million in taxes — which should have been a red flag in any cursory background check. DCAS bureaucrats worry City Hall will try to pin the blame on Deputy Commissioner Ricardo Morales, who signed the deed change, even though City Hall’s community reps and a commissioner were warned before the sale closed. De Blasio shouldn’t scapegoat lower-level officials for the failings of his leadership team, good-government groups say. “If these kinds of decisions are not vetted at the highest level, then there is a problem with the management,” said Citizens Union director Dick Dadey. Asked about Allure Saturday at a Brooklyn event, de Blasio said, “We’re not doing this right now.”



Hisidic Businessman Who Flipped AIDS Home Part of Sect At the Heart of de Blasio Jewish Support
Hasidic Businessman Who Flipped AIDS Home Part of Sect With Cozy Ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio (Forward)  At a recent fundraiser for the Bobov Hasidic group attended by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council member David Greenfield told the crowd that de Blasio “did not forget his friends.” Now, de Blasio’s ties to the Bobov have put him on the defensive, amid a scandal over a nursing home chain run by a prominent Bobov businessman. Allure Group made $72 million in February flipping a Lower East Side home for AIDS patients to a condo developer. Now, the New York City Comptroller and the city’s Department of Investigation are investigating the deal, and de Blasio says that his administration was “misled” by the firm. Allure’s CEO, Solomon Rubin, is a prominent member of the Boro Park-based Bobov Hasidic group, one of the city’s largest ultra-Orthodox sects. The Bobov enjoy a particularly close relationship with de Blasio, who represented Boro Park in the City Council from 2001 to 2009. On March 9, days before the Allure scandal broke, de Blasio attended a fundraising dinner for Amidei Zion of Mosdos Bobov, a Bobov charity, at the New York Hilton. The mayor announced trash collection schedule changes meant to ease congestion in Boro Park, earning vigorous applause. De Blasio’s ties to the Bobov run deep. Bobov powerbroker Rabbi Yitzchok Fleischer, whose mother’s shiva de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray attended in January, told the online Jewish magazine Tablet in 2013 that de Blasio “owes me everything.” “Without me he wouldn’t be anyplace,” Fleischer said. De Blasio now faces tough questions about the Allure Group deal. The company purchased the Lower East Side home in February 2015 for just $28 million, promising that it would use the building to operate a nursing home. In November,Allure paid $16 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for permission to retroactively adjust the deed on the property. In February of 2016, thanks to the deed change, Allure sold the property to a condominium developer for $116 million. llure owns six New York City nursing homes, according to the group’s website. At least one of its executives shares a surname with Solomon Rubin; another, Joel Landau, who has been Allure’s public face, is not a member of the Bobov Hasidic group. Rubin did not respond to a message left at Allure’s office. Rubin sits on the board of Bnos Zion of Bobov, the sect’s school system for girls. “They are very well off and they support a lot of things that are going on in the community,” said Yoel Rosenfeld, a Bobov community activist, of Rubin. “He’s very involved.” Rosenfeld said that he escorted de Blasio in and out of the Bobov dinner on March 9, and that Rubin did not speak to the mayor. While he assumed Rubin was in attendance, Rosenfeld said that there were more than 1,000 people there, and he did not see him.*  NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s deep ties to the Bobov Hasidic group have put him on the defensive, amid a scandal over a nursing home chain run by a prominent Bobov businessman. Allure Group made $72 million in February flipping a Lower East Side home for AIDS patients to a condo developer.
de Blasio campaign 2017


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.




Hasidic Businessman Who Flipped AIDS Home Part ofSect With Cozy Ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio (Forward)  



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.


.




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.


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