Today’s news:

Battle over Broadway Triangle begins in court

The Brooklyn Paper

The city discriminated against blacks and Latinos during its controversial Broadway Triangle rezoning last year, awarding two politically connected groups no-bid contracts to develop city-owned land, opponents charged in court last week, the opening salvo of a legal battle seeking to derail the plan.

Plaintiffs argued that the city excluded 40 community groups when it gave the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council and the United Jewish Organizations the sole right to develop housing on three city-owned lots in the so-called Broadway Triangle, which is roughly bordered by Flushing Avenue, Broadway and Union Avenue in Williamsburg.

“The timeline of events is not in dispute and the timeline shows intent,” said Shekar Krishnan, an attorney representing the 40 groups.

The plans include a disproportionately high level of three- and four-bedroom apartments, which plaintiffs say, was included to appease Williamsburg’s Hasidic community, which tends to have larger family sizes.

Beyond that, plaintiffs charge that the rezoning was undertaken solely to reward the two politically connected groups.

“It is sad that until we got to court, no government agency was willing to overrule the politics and address the outrageous impropriety of the process,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Marty Needelman.

Attorneys representing the city vehemently disagreed, claiming that the plaintiffs did not have data to show that providing larger apartments indicated a racial bias, and that the city awarded the contracts in a faster-than-typical process because there was a state funding deadline.

“The city will be harmed and residents will lose access to affordable housing if the sites are not developed,” said attorney Louise Moed.

The 31-acre site is one of Mayor Bloomberg’s core development projects in his campaign pledge to build more affordable housing.

“We’ve re-imagined what the area could and should be: largely vacant and under-utilized area [transformed] into a thriving new neighborhood,” Bloomberg said, after City Council approved the rezoning by a vote of 36-10 in December.

The legal battle is the latest in a five-year struggle to redevelop the industrial-zoned site north of the former headquarters of Pfizer. After a series of design workshops led by Ridgewood Bushwick, the proposal made its way through the city’s land-use review process last year, garnering approval from Community Board 1, Borough President Markowitz, the City Planning Commission and Council — but the rezoning was halted immediately because opponents filed their lawsuit.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Bob from Williamsburg says:
It's really sad that this lawsuit has delayed the development of hundreds of units of affordable housing. What this article fails to mention is that Needelman and Krishnan work for Legal Services of New York City, and they are using city funds to bring this case. Instead of helping to save affordable housing, they are using their funding to do the legal work of development organizations they are allied with.

Until a few months ago, they claimed that the reason they opposed the Broadway Triangle Plan was because groups Needelman sits on the board of, Los Sures and St. Nicholas, were not chosen to develop the property. Now, they argue that the plan favors Hasids, as if the city's non Hasids don't need large apartments.
March 16, 2010, 7:20 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
those 40 groups were never informed about a project the whole deal was done in a nonpublic manner
March 16, 2010, 12:40 pm
Carly from Williamsburg says:
Opponents say that the city was racist and unfair. Wow, a double-whammy!
The legal battle is the latest in a five-year struggle to redevelop the industrial-zoned site north of the former headquarters of Pfizer.
March 16, 2010, 2:47 pm
Phil from Maspeth says:
Bob, I think it's great that Legal Services is able to argue for the rights of 2 organizations that don't have the money to hire other representation. That's kind of what they're for, after all, or do you just believe the courts are for the rich? And how should poor people stand up to a billionaire mayor making political deals? Welcome to America.
March 16, 2010, 5:54 pm
Bob from Williamsburg says:
Phil, unfortunately, neither Needelman nor Los Sures and St. Nicholas have been honest about why the oppose the plan. They oppose it because they feel that St. Nicholas and Los Sures should have been in control. This lawsuit is a pretext for a not for profit turf war, and the only people that will lose in the end are the low income tenants of NYC that won't have affordable apartments to move into.
March 16, 2010, 8:27 pm
Brian from InTheTriangle says:
Anyone who reads the details of the "Plan" can clearly and literally point out the many specifics that don't make any sense for promoting affordable housing; except to favor a certain lifestyle. The same fight is right now happening in East jerusalem, only difference
is they're being honest about it.
March 17, 2010, 6:21 pm
Bob from Williamsburg says:
Honest? Moishe Indig is on the Board of Directors of UJCare, one of the Petitioners in this lawsuit against the plan, and he has been named by the Village Voice to be one of the worst landlord's in NYC:
http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-03-16/news/new-york-s-ten-worst-landlords/

Is it appropriate for Legal Services to represent an organization that has Indig on it's Board? Has Legal Services represented any of the poorly run buildings that Indig owns and neglects?
March 17, 2010, 8:41 pm
Bob from Williamsburg says:
In fact, 684 Flushing is the subject of ongoing litigation between Legal Services Corp A and Moishe Indig.

Has Needelman explained this to the tenants at 684 Flushing? If not, then it seems as though he's committed a fairly serious ethical violation.

Page 36 of this Legal Services Corp A Document shows that the building is the subject of ongoing litigation.

http://www.bka.org/pdf/BKA_CED_docket_09.pdf

Unless the case at 684 Flushing is resolved, and the Village Voice article seems to suggest that it is far from resolved, then Needelman and Corp A are doing the tenants of that building a major disservice by representing the Indig affiliated, and some would say partially controlled UJCare. Who are these tenants supposed to trust?
March 19, 2010, 10:28 pm
Dealenger from Williamsburg says:
Throughout the years Los Sures has been under investigation for quite awhile, for submitting fake receipts overcharging building materials, contractors, staff, and only providing their friends, and people with cash under the table with low-income housing.

The worst part is that were the people are paying for it with through the city budget.

Annie is really shady... Would you trust you life with a person that's 36-years old and still has a chain-link decoration wrapped around the license-plate of her car?

I encourage all tenants affected by Annie & Los Sures to protest in front of their office at (213 S 4th Street) and inform the people of Brooklyn on how shady the tenant advocate business truly is.

March 16, 2011, 4:31 pm
Dealenger from Williamsburg says:
Throughout the years Los Sures has been under investigation for quite awhile, for submitting fake receipts overcharging building materials, contractors, staff, and only providing their friends, and people with cash under the table with low-income housing.

The worst part is that were the people are paying for it with through the city budget.

Annie is really shady... Would you trust you life with a person that's 36-years old and still has a chain-link decoration wrapped around the license-plate of her car?

I encourage all tenants affected by Annie & Los Sures to protest in front of their office at (213 S 4th Street) and inform the people of Brooklyn on how shady the tenant advocate business truly is.

March 16, 2011, 4:36 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links