The Real Deal New York

Office that produces “Worst landlords of NYC” list would be abolished under proposed council bill

Brooklyn Councilman Kalman Yeger suggested not replacing Letitia James as she prepares to move to the Attorney General role
November 14, 2018 09:40AM

Kalman Yeger and Tish James and (Credit: Twitter and Getty Images)

As Letitia James prepares to move into the New York Attorney General’s post, her current role as Public Advocate remains up for grabs.

But while some local politicians are lining up for the job, Brooklyn council member Kalman Yeger, a Democrat, will introduce a bill Wednesday to scrap the position.

“We never had a vacancy where we can actually say, ‘Do we need it moving forward?’ ” Yeger told the Wall Street Journal.

If it were to happen, the abolition of the position would bring a smile to the face of many of the city’s landlords, many of whom have taken umbrage with the “worst landlords of New York City” list that is produced annually.

Yeger’s move reportedly comes with support from fellow council members Ritchie Torres and Mark Gjonaj of the Bronx and Bob Holden of Queens.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was the city’s third public advocate, reportedly supports it going forward.

The office has a $3 million annual budget, and the public advocate receives $184,000 in salary annually. The position presides over the city council without voting rights, and serves as a watchdog for the city.

In a Twitter post, Torres wrote that the office must be strengthened or scrapped. “The office of public advocate seems too structurally powerless to provide deep and sustained oversight over mayoral agencies,” he wrote.

The push comes after James won the election for Attorney General’s Office last week, and will depart the Public Advocate role on January 2. She has established herself as a tenant-advocate and clashed with the real estate industry often.

If Yeger’s bill is approved, the future of the Public Advocate’s office will be up for a referendum in 2020. [WSJ] — David Jeans