Millionaires exploiting Mitchell-Lama housing program: audit

Analysis found 230 tenants were earning $250K-plus

From left: Penn South in Chelsea and Kings Bay II in Brooklyn
From left: Penn South in Chelsea and Kings Bay II in Brooklyn

Millionaires enjoy the best the city has to offer — including, it seems, affordable housing, according to a new report.

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli conducted an audit of city’s 97 subsidized Mitchell-Lama developments and found 230 tenants earning $250,000 or more, including a tenant who was raking in $1.4 million, in 2012.

Mitchell-Lama is housing for those in the middle-income bracket — they earn too much for public housing but can’t afford market-rate rents. Created in 1955, the program, which includes 45,000 regulated apartments, comprises both rental units and low-cost co-ops, the New York Daily News reported.

At Chelsea’s Penn South complex, two residents reported incomes above a $1 million in 2012, one for $1.4 million and other for almost $1.2 million, the Daily News reported.

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The audit looked at five complexes: Big Six Towers in Queens, Confucius Plaza in Manhattan, North Shore on Staten Island, Tracey Towers in the Bronx, Kings Bay II in Brooklyn, where a tenant was paying $636 a month in rent while pulling in $801,377 in 2012, according to the Daily News.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is mandated by state law to ask tenants to leave the program if their income exceeds 125 percent of the eligibility limit, but that’s not the case according to the audit, the Daily News reported.

HPD Commissioner Vicki Been told the Daily News that the number of tenants making more than $250,000 is “quite small.”

In December, residents of the Clinton Towers complex, which is part of the program, faced a 20 percent rent hike and enlisted politicians to fight the increase. [NYDN]Dusica Sue Malesevic