Government briefs

Judge rebukes state agency over Atlantic Yards timetable

Judge Marcy Friedman of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn issued a rebuke to the Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency overseeing the $5 billion Atlantic Yards project, for making “totally incomplete representations” in legal papers about how long it would take to build the project, according to the New York Times. Last month, Friedman ordered the agency to justify its decision to require only a 10-year environmental impact statement. The agency’s own agreement with developer Forest City Ratner allows 25 years for construction of the project. Forest City Ratner officials have acknowledged that the 10-year timetable was a best-case scenario. Friedman wrote in the ruling, which was first publicized by the Atlantic Yards Report, that if the agency concludes that a 10-year timetable continues to be reasonable, “then it must expressly make such findings and provide a detailed, reasoned basis for the findings.”

AG asks court to dismiss lawsuit by Extell

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo asked a state Supreme Court judge to dismiss a new lawsuit by Extell Development and Carlyle Realty Partners, arguing the developers missed the deadline to appeal his April 9 order to refund $16 million in escrow funds at the Upper West Side’s Rushmore. The developers filed a suit last month in New York State Supreme Court, arguing that Cuomo erred in allowing 41 buyers to get out of their contracts at the condo building at 80 Riverside Boulevard. The so-called Article 78 appeal was filed after the developers lost their case in federal court and filed a state appeal in a last-ditch effort. “Here as the [federal] District Court has already pointed out, petitioner should have gone directly to the [state] Supreme Court,” said Assistant AG Andrew Meier in his filing. “As it failed to do so, it has failed to timely commence this Article 78 proceeding, and is thus barred by the statute of limitations.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Activists rally for rent cap for HIV/AIDS program

A group of local activists held a rally last month urging Governor David Paterson to sign a bill that would ensure people living with HIV/AIDS relying on rental assistance would pay no more than 30 percent of their income for housing. The bill, introduced by Assembly member Deborah Glick and State Senator Tom Duane, would affect all individuals enrolled in the HIV/AIDS Services Administration’s housing assistance program. Currently, some of the program’s enrollees pay upward of 70 percent of their income toward their rent, according to activists. Paterson vetoed the legislation in September, citing the cost of the bill. Thus far, activists say, Paterson has failed to reintroduce the bill in his agenda.

NYC Housing Authority GM relocates

New York City Housing Authority general manager Mike Kelly has been asked to temporarily lead the Philadelphia Housing Authority — with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s blessing. Kelly, who worked under Chairman John Rhea, will be responsible for “leading Philadelphia through [a] transition period,” Bloomberg said. The new role, for which he was recruited by Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, comes after Kelly completed a public-private transaction that brought $300 million in additional capital to the New York agency, Bloomberg said. Kelly has previously worked with housing agencies in San Francisco, New Orleans and the District of Columbia.

Compiled by Yaffi Spodek