Government briefs

Bill cracks down on slumlords

Richard Anderson
A new City Council measure seeks to force slumlords to pay their debts to the city or risk not getting new permits and government contracts allowing them to build. “If they want to build more projects in the city, they should pay up first before they go on and build more,” Council member James Vacca, the bill’s sponsor, told the Daily News. Vacca’s so-called Bad Actors Bill would require developers who apply for new permits to name every investor with a 10 percent stake in the property and certify that none has debts exceeding $25,000 in taxes, water bills, fines or liens for emergency repairs done by the city. Mayor Bloomberg had not yet spoken publicly on it, but aides say they’re exploring ways to prevent those in debt from using city services. However, the New York Building Congress is against the bill and believes it will destroy job opportunities. “The hurdles to development activity in New York City are greater by far than in anyplace else in the country, and this just adds to it,” said Building Congress President Richard Anderson. “There must be a better way to accomplish this than to add to the regulatory morass that exists already.”

ILSA ruling a blow to 505 condo’s buyers

Lawrence Weiner
An Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act case brought against the 505, a 108-unit Hell’s Kitchen new condo, has been dismissed in U.S. District Court, the developer announced last month, marking a defeat for the 35 buyers. Fifty-three buyers filed ILSA claims, starting in June 2009. Subsequently, 18 of those either settled with the builder, Parkview Developers, or closed on their units at 505 West 47th Street. Buyers’ attorney Lawrence Weiner said his clients intend to appeal. “We feel that the trial court got it wrong,” said Weiner, who also has a pending ILSA appeal case at 5th on the Park in Harlem, which he filed in February. ILSA, a consumer protection law that requires developers of condos 99 units or larger to register with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been invoked in lawsuits directed at a number New York developments since the financial downturn, including the Edge and the Brompton.

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Cuomo meets resistance on property tax cap

New York property taxes could be increasing statewide. While Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has pledged to rein in tax increases, capping property tax hikes to 2 percent a year, local officials across New York want to boost property taxes before he enters office, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is due largely to budget shortfalls, which have been felt nationwide as well. According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a conservative policy group, property taxes would need to climb 3.5 percent to account for rising pension costs the state faces. Cuomo, meanwhile, remains stalwart in his tax stance. “Governor-elect Cuomo has proposed one of the most aggressive property tax caps because he believes New Yorkers are overtaxed and deserve real tax relief,” a Cuomo spokesperson said.

Mortgage foreclosure a key issue for AG

Eric Schneiderman
Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman’s legislative agenda may feel like déjà vu for a lot of New Yorkers, according to the New York Times, with mortgage foreclosure woes ranking among his top priorities. Like past attorneys general Elliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, Schneiderman said he plans to take aim at Wall Street, including mortgage lenders who may have contributed to the current fiscal malaise. “I’m very interested in the more grass-roots consequences of the economic meltdown, issues related to mortgage foreclosures [and] debt collection,” Schneiderman said.

Compiled by Yaffi Spodek