Friday, December 30, 2016

ProPublica: Why Big Developers Give $$$ to Politicians

(Illustration by Guy Parsons for ProPublica)
Why Developers of Manhattan Luxury Towers Give Millions to Upstate Candidates
A first-of-its-kind analysis shows just how tactical the real-estate industry is about bankrolling state legislators who will protect its $1.4 billion tax break and weaken rent laws.

by Cezary Podkul and Derek Kravitz, ProPublica, and Will Parker, The Real Deal, Dec. 30, 2016, 8 a.m.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Fateful Vote that Made NYC Rents So High

The Fateful Vote That Made 

New York City Rents So High

A 1994 City Council vote enabling landlords to dodge limits on rent increases has had a profound impact on the lives of New Yorkers.

McKee's Media - 12/8/2016

Articles of Interest to Tenant Advocates

The Villager: Hundreds of downtown residents picket Chin & de Blasio to save Elizabeth Street garden
New York Times: City plans infrastructure for South Bronx riverfront to prepare for future development

Housing the Homeless
New York Times: Death of two sisters in radiator malfunction shines spotlight on de Blasio's efforts to address soaring homeless problems
Daily News: Defective radiator that killed two infants was reported in 2015
DNA Info: Council member Rafael Salamanca introduces bills to stop City from placing homeless families in buildings owned by slumlords

Landlords cheating tenants of rent stabilization protections, including 421-A
New York Patch: ProPublica publishes report showing landlords are bilking NYC out of millions of dollars & cheating tenants out of rent stabilization protections
New York Patch: De Blasio says NYC will crack down on landlords who get 421-a tax breaks but do not comply with rent stabilization
ProPublica: Find out with one click if your building is supposed to be rent-stabilized in return for 421-a tax benefits
Raphael Ruttenberg: Tenants left high & dry in crackdown on 421-a landlords (Daily News OpEd)
The Villager: Raphael Toledano ready to throw in the towel on 13 LES buildings

McKee's Media - 12/5/2016


The Real Deal: The sloppy 421-a dispute


Landlords and Tenants

Trump picks Ben Carson to head HUD

McKee's Media - 12/1/2016


Landlords plead guilty to harassment (no jail time)
Gothamist: Brooklyn D.A. lets slumlords Joel & Amron Israel plead quilty to tenant harassment without any jail time
New York Times: Landlord brothers admit to illegal eviction campaign in Brooklyn

AirBnB drops lawsuit against NYC
New York Times: Airbnb capitulates, drops lawsuit against NYC

Tom Waters, Community Service Society: 421-a is a wasteful subsidy to real estate developers & Cuomo's new deal would make it worse (New York Slant)
New York Slant: REBNY rebuts CSS analysis of Cuomo's 421-a deal
Newsday editorial: Cuomo should not link unrelated issues to pay raise; plus his 421-a deal is wasteful and should not be passed at all

Who will control the State Senate
Newsday: Democrat John Brooks ahead of GOP state senator Michael Venditto by 41 votes as recount ends in State Senate District 8; if Brooks win, Dems will have a 32-31 majority
New York Times: Democrat ahead by 41 votes in race for Long Island state senate seat; GOP vows to fight results in court; 1100 votes being challenged
Daily News: Cuomo urged to unite Democrats so they can control state senate
Crain's on maneuvers around control of state senate
Capitol Confidential: Stewart-Cousins talks with Cuomo about uniting state senate Dems
Tenant/Inquilino: Why the attempt to flip the state senate to Democratic control failed

Trump's son-in-law not maintaining apartments
The Villager: How can Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner be expected to negotiate peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians when he cannot bring his apartment buildings up to snuff?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rally against 421-A deal

The proposed deal between the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY) and the construction unions guarantees higher wages for buildings constructed with proposed 421-A tax breaks.  But at what cost?  On THURSDAY, DEC. 1 at 1 PM at City Hall in Manhattan, join the Real Rent Reform Campaign, the Alliance for Tenant Power and other coalitions opposed to the $billion giveaway to developers. 

See NY Slant's article by Tom Waters


NOVEMBER 29, 2016 |  

In recent years, 421-a has cost New York City more than a billion dollars a year in foregone tax revenue ($1.2 billion in 2016), while producing about $100 million a year worth of affordable housing.
Cuomo’s proposal would cost the city $2.4 billion a year in revenue, without bringing about a remotely comparable increase in affordability benefit.
This enormous new tax expenditure would be wasteful in any context, but it is especially ill advised at a time when vital federal subsidy streams to the city are in jeopardy in a Trump presidency. For comparison, the New York City Housing Authority currently receives $910 million a year in federal operating subsidies for public housing and $930 million a year for Section 8 vouchers. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Albany tax give-away to developers - Nov. 11, 2016 ?

From the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development website:

Albany Gives Our Budget Away to REBNY As the City Faces Massive Loss of Federal Support

Albany Deal Will Give Away Billions More in Extended Real Estate Tax Exemption Proposal

The big-real estate developers lobbying group, REBNY, announced a proposed new deal today to bring back the controversial 421a Developers Tax Exemption. As ANHD pointed out in a blog last week, the proposal is unconscionable on its face because it will give developers an additional 10-year exemption, on top of an already grossly excessive 25-year proposed exemption, creating a tax break that is unprecedented and unjustifiable on any fiscal or programmatic grounds – all at the expense of New York City taxpayers
It will give developers an additional 10-year exemption, on top of an already grossly excessive 25-year proposed exemption, creating a tax break that is unprecedented and unjustifiable on any fiscal or programmatic grounds – all at the expense of New York City taxpayers.
The 421a Exemption – commonly referred to as the Trump Real Estate Tax Exemption because he used the program early and often – expired last year as Albany tried to engineer a deal between REBNY and the trade unions. Now, Albany again wants to pay REBNY to make a deal with the trade unions, in effect, stuffing an extra $10 into REBNY’s pocket to get the group to give 25 cents to the trade unions.
This comes at a time when the City is facing the potential loss of massive federal funds under President Trump, including funds for essential housing programs such as the Section 8 Rent Voucher program. Yet, Albany may be mortgaging away our local tax base, the exact funds we need to support our residents as Federal support is diminished.
This comes at a time when the City is facing the potential loss of massive federal funds under President Trump, including funds for essential housing programs such as the Section 8 Rent Voucher program. Yet, Albany may be mortgaging away our local tax base, the exact funds we need to support our residents as Federal support is diminished.
The 421a proposal on the table – which would allow developers to pay ZERO taxes for the next 35 years – will make 421a appealing to even more real estate developers. The New York City Independent Budget Office projects that, as more developers flock to the enriched program, the cost of 421a to NYC tax payers will jump from $1.4 billion in FY15 to between $5.6 and $7.1 billion over the next 10 years alone. And this is just from the increase in the number of developers subscribing to the program; it does not account for the billions more that 421a will cost since the building will be tax free for a lucrative 35 years – 10 years longer than under Mayor de Blasio’s plan.
This comes at a time when new data concerning building permits and land prices indicates that new construction has adjusted to a housing market without the 421a Exemption and is quickly recovering, and that the existence of 421a itself may have been hindering development in key markets by inflating land prices.

Monday, November 7, 2016

McKee's Media - Nov. 7, 2016: VOTE

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 - VOTE!

Click on this NYS Board of Elections link to find out 
where your polling place is located.

New York City residents: visit the NYC Board of 
Elections poll site locator

NOTE: Write down your Election District (ED) and 
your Assembly District (AD). This info can be found 
on the NYC Board of Elections website above. Having 
this info will allow you to skip the check-in table at your 
poll site and go directly to the sign-in table for your AD 
and ED.


Zack Fink: Cuomo stumps for Hillary, state senate Dems in last-minute push (Time Warners News)

McKee's Media November 5, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

McKee's Media - Oct. 28, 2016

Articles of Interest to Tenant Advocates:


Mike McKee

Help elect pro-tenant candidates to the NYS Senate!

Tenants' PAC
 11 Days to the Tuesday, November 8 Election!
Election Day is 12 days from today. Tenants PAC needs YOU to help turn the New York State Senate BLUE. Developments nationally and locally in the last couple of weeks have enhanced our chances of flipping the state senate, but this will not happen without your help.

Tenants PAC needs you to volunteer to help Get Out The Vote in Nassau or Westchester County on Tuesday, November 8, and the weekend before (Saturday Nov. 5 & Sunday Nov. 6). Many elections are won or lost in the field during the last weekend. We need you to help door-knock, palm card, and engage in visibility efforts. We also need cars and drivers.

We also need you to contribute to help elect pro-tenant Democrats. Thanks to your generosity, Tenants PAC has now contributed an unprecedented $83,000 to ten pro-tenant state senate candidates in Nassau & Westchester Counties, in the Hudson Valley, and in western New York. We are trying to raise funds to do one last round of contributions.

To volunteer for GOTV, or for information:

To contribute, click here.

McKee's Media - Oct. 26, 2016

Tenants' PAC
Help elect a REAL Democratic New York State Senate
Our friends at Citizen Action and Greater NYC for Change are offering opportunities to phone bank from Manhattan and Brooklyn, and to door-knock, to help elect progressive Democrats to the New York State Senate. Greater NYC for Change is sponsoring phone banks tonight and next Wednesday, in Chelsea. Phone banks are available other evenings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Bring a charged cell phone. You can also sign up for door-knocking. Click on the links below for more information.  

Wednesday, November 2nd: Sign up under "Manhattan Phonebanking Opportunities."

Tenants PAC is still trying to raise funds to make one more round of contributions to several of our endorsed pro-tenant candidates. This is crunch time: the election is 13 days away. To contribute, click here.

Articles of Interest to Tenant Advocates:




McKee's Media, Oct. 25, 2016

Tenants' PAC
The statewide election is two weeks from today: Tuesday, November 8.
The fate of our rent protection laws rides on the outcome of several competitive elections for state senate in Nassau County, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley and Western New York. Tenants PAC needs YOUR help to turn the New York State Senate BLUE.

To volunteer to help Get Out The Vote for pro-tenant candidates in Nassau & Westchester Counties, email action@tenantspac.orgTo donate to help elect pro-tenant Democrats, click on this link.
Articles of Interest to Tenant Advocates:

New law: Those who place ads for illegal "AirBnB"-type rentals will be fined

McKee's Media - Oct. 20, 2016

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal and others to crack down on scofflaw "sharing" companies like Airbnb that are exacerbating our affordable housing crisis. It is now Chapter 396 of the Laws of 2016. People who advertise to rent apartments for less than 30 days will now be subject to stiff fines. This is a terrific victory and is a credit to all the activists and groups working on this issue. Thanks to Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, as well as all the other legislators who co-sponsored the bill. And thanks to Governor Cuomo for doing the right thing on this one.

Articles of Interest to Tenant Advocates:

Landlords collect tax breaks even when not keeping homes affordable

Where is the poor, struggling landlord of rent stabilized housing?

Corruption allegations




The statewide election for New York State Senate is only 18 days away: Tuesday, November 8. Tenants PAC is still trying to raise funds to make additional contributions to pro-tenant candidates. We are also recruiting volunteers to help Get Out The Vote in Nassau County and Westchester County. Help us turn the state senate BLUE.

To volunteer, or for more info: 

Mike McKee