Developer says DOB wrongfully approved Soho project because of James Capalino

Lou Madigan's rental project is next door to the condo tower he opposes
May 02, 2017 07:30AM

From left: Rendering of 568 Broome Street and James Capalino (credit: Getty)

The well-connected lobbyist at the center of the Rivington House scandal is now being accused of quietly persuading the Department of Buildings to allow a Soho condominium to exceed local height limits.

Developer Lou Madigan filed a lawsuit claiming that James Capalino lobbied the DOB to approve 568 Broome Street, a luxury condo tower that would rise 287 feet — 100 feet taller than the city normally allows, the New York Post reported. Madigan claims that the project’s developer, Murat Agirnasli, paid Capalino more the $100,000 to launch “a lobbying campaign out of the public eye” for the project.

Madigan, who is developing a rental building next door to Agirnasli’s site, wants the DOB to throw out its approvals of the Broome Street project and to turn over records related to Capalino and the proposed condo tower. The lawsuit alleges that the DOB showed “flagrant disregard for the Zoning Resolution” when it approved Agirnasli’s project, which will block views of the Hudson River for Madigan’s building.

“Not only did the DOB issue a lawful determination, but it subsequently concurred with that initial approval in a review,” a spokesperson for Capalino said in a statement. “It’s awfully hard to take this charge of illegality seriously, and hard to comprehend bizarre claims of secrecy regarding a publicly filed engagement.”

In August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was cutting ties with Capalino, his onetime friend and campaign bundler, amid several investigations into his administration. Capalino represented Village Care, the nonprofit that owned the Rivington House, and unsuccessfully lobbied to have a deed restriction on the nursing home removed. Village Care ultimately sold the property to the Allure Group, which successfully got the deed restriction removed.

Federal and state authorities announced in March that they wouldn’t pursue charges against the mayor in connection with the Campaign for One New York’s fundraising activities. [NYP] Kathryn Brenzel