Union played key role in controversial Rivington House sale
1199SEIU said it helped select Allure as the buyer in order to preserve jobs
The city’s powerful health care union played a key role in the sale of Rivington House — a Lower East Side nursing home once eyed for affordable housing that instead was flipped to the developer of luxury condominiums.
New records show that 1199SEIU played a key role in orchestrating the 2015 sale of the property to the Allure Group and its partners from the prior owner, VillageCare. Allure subsequently convinced the city to lift a deed restriction on the building and sold the property to Slate Property Group for a $72 million profit.
A trove of emails and documents show that 1199’s political director, Kevin Finnegan, helped to select Allure as the buyer, and later was in regular contact with Allure’s Joel Landau and City Hall employees, according to documents obtained by Politico.
His objective? Preserve several hundred jobs at the AIDS residence run by VillageCare, which also owed the union $18 million in pension obligations.
But while Allure requested a change in financing related to the property — which would involve waiving the $16.1 million fee — the city refused. Later, Allure’s Landau argued the fee was too steep, prompting him to flip the building.
The report comes on the heels of a damning report by the city’s Department of Investigations. That report accused City Hall of impeding its investigation, and found that a Slate representative urged employees to not discuss the deal. [Politico] — E.B. Solomont