As discussed at the open meeting January 8, a class action lawsuit was issued against HPD in which Cadman Plaza North was named. A link to the lawsuit is here: https://www.classaction.org/media/astacio-et-al-v-city-of-new-york-et-al.pdf The communication from our attorney is below:
On December 5, 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York alleging that the Mitchell-Lama program has failed to be administered in a fair and consistent manner. The only defendants named are The City of New York, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) and Louise Carroll, the Commissioner of HPD. This memo addresses the general allegations of the complaint and describes some examples of alleged misconduct.
The Complaint at Large:
The plaintiffs allege that they (i) were placed on waiting lists at various Mitchell-Lama housing developments, (ii) paid non-refundable application fees, (iii) were never contacted about the availability of an apartment, and (iv) were unjustly removed from waiting lists without notice or explanation. The complaint further alleges that HPD failed to monitor and supervise these waiting lists and refers to a report produced by the Division of State Government Accountability (Report 2014-N-3) entitled “The Mitchell- Lama Program: Awarding Housing Units and Maintaining Waiting Lists” in support of such allegations. The class (meaning people who may join in this action) compromises of: all persons who any time after January 1, 2009 were placed on a waiting list and were subsequently removed from the waiting list without proper notice.
The complaint only alleges one count for relief: violation of due process, that is that each plaintiff acquired a property interest in their place on the waiting list and right to an apartment once they (the plaintiff) reached the top of the list, but were deprived of this property interest without sufficient notice or an opportunity to be heard and that they were thus deprived of a property interest without due process. We believe HPD and the other named defendants will dispute the allegations.
Plaintiff Adrian Salas and his alleged experience with the “Cadman Towers” Waiting List:
The Report 2014-N-3 dated July 2015 focused on three developments, one of which was named as Cadman Towers (a 421-unit Mitchell-Lama located in Brooklyn) but the Complaint interchangeably uses Cadman Towers and Cadman Plaza North. However, Plaintiff Mr. Salas’s claims appear to relate to the waiting list at Cadman Plaza North. KLL confirmed that Mr. Salas’s name appears at Number 291 on CPN’s third one- bedroom waitlist (from the October 23, 2009 lottery) with a notation indicating that his application fee was not received. Mr. Salas alleges that he submitted an application for a 1-bedroom apartment at Cadman Towers in 2009, paid the application fee and that the notation was inaccurate and he should remain on the waiting list as an eligible applicant. Management advises they have not reached this list, so even if Mr. Salas is correct, he has not yet suffered any loss or consequence. The Complaint, either intentionally or mistakenly intertwines Cadman Towers and Cadman Plaza North. There are also allegations relating to two apartments of other improprieties relating to occupants’ qualifications in relation to income.
The Complaint focuses upon HPD’s alleged failure to (i) ensure that applicants are offered apartments in the order in which they were placed on the waiting lists, (ii) assure that applicants receive notification prior to being removed from waiting lists, and (iii) assure that applicants are not improperly removed from waiting lists. We thought it prudent to advise the Board of the allegations raised. Cadman Plaza North is just one of 17 city-supervised Mitchell-Lama developments discussed in the Complaint. Cadman Plaza North is not a defendant. There is no need for Cadman Plaza North to take any action in relating to this complaint. We will continue to monitor the proceeding and recommend that CPN continue (as it has been) to investigate complaints of non-primary residence, follow the process for succession rights applications, and offer apartments pursuant to the applicable waiting lists.
If you have any questions regarding the above, please let us know. Thank you.
Kagan Lubic Lepper Finkelstein & Gold, LLP