A State Supreme Court judge starting tomorrow is scheduled to rule on a motion to block the city from rezoning the so-called Broadway Triangle urban renewal area in Brooklyn, a 31-acre site that activists say has favored politically connected members of the Hasidic community in Williamsburg over African American residents of Bedford Stuyvesant.
The Broadway Triangle Community Coalition will present expert testimony before Judge Emily Goodwin over what they claim to be long-standing housing segregation that has given members of the Hasidic community preferential treatment in public housing, despite a waiting list that is overwhelmingly black and Latino.
“Their goal an intention has always been to accommodate the political connected Hasidic Jewish community,” said attorney Marty Needelman of the Brooklyn Legal Services, representing the coalition. “Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg has totally given in to whatever they can come with.”
The lawsuit, filed in September 2009, alleges the Bloomberg administration steered affordable housing to Kings County Democratic Leader Vito Lopez and United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, at the expense of other rival Hasidic groups and African American residents of Bed-Stuy.
The coalition alleges that half of the affordable housing in South Williamsburg has gone to Hasidic allies of Lopez and other whites, while 90 percent of the people waiting for such housing are black and Hispanic.
Gabriel Taussig, chief of the city Law Department’s administrative law division, said the city will fight the proposed injunction.
“Because we believe there is no merit to plaintiff’s lawsuit, we are vigorously opposing their application for a preliminary injunction and we will demonstrate that the challenged actions were in all respects lawful,” he said.
In 2010, Lopez came under fire after U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch launched an investigation into possible civil rights violations.
In January, the city lost a bid to lift a stay on development of the site.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office was not immediately available for comment and nor was Lopez.