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The local Broadsheet (BS) was handed some inside information from Robin Forst at the BPCA to help their case in the court of public opinion. Recall, the BPCA is now heading to real court for the class action lawsuit being brought by at least three different lawfirms over the price gouging and poor services provided by the LeFrak-owned Gateway Plaza.
The BPCA leaked data to the BS that reveals that LeFrak has been making out like a bandit on its Gateway properties due to huge ground lease subsidies by the BPCA, to the tune of more than $198 Million since 1999. Those ground lease sweetheart deals were the carrot offered to entice LeFrak to offer apartment units at sub-market rates in order to fill the “affordable housing” quotient. Those deals were brokered, in large part, by none other than State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Now, according to the class action lawsuits, LeFrak is accused of making those rent-subsidized rates almost as expensive as market rate apartments by inflating electric bills that are paid directly to LeFrak rather than ConEd. In addition, LeFrak has skimped on infrastructure, such as heating units and proper windows, further increasing the cost to live in Gateway.
The low-income voters who live in Gateway are almost all Democrats who solidly support the local elected officials, such as Mr. Silver. In light of the recent news and court filings, it is now clear that Big Real Estate is benefiting from the likes of Sheldon Silver more than the common voter.