The Daily Dirt: A peek into CHIP, RSA merger talks

Internal report lifts curtain on financial considerations

From left: RSA’s Joe Strasburg and CHIP’s Jay Martin (Getty, CHIP, RSA)
From left: RSA’s Joe Strasburg and CHIP’s Jay Martin (Getty, CHIP, RSA)

Two landlord groups may join forces after many decades of parallel existence.

If you created a Venn Diagram representing the Rent Stabilization Association and the Community Housing Improvement Program, much would be included in the overlapping section.

The groups share members and policy priorities. They both represent rent-stabilized owners, and sometimes find themselves competing for dues. They teamed up on a failed attempt to challenge the state’s rent law in the Supreme Court. They sometimes release joint statements on issues.

What would not be included in that section of commonalities is leadership style and spending power.

A report obtained by The Real Deal underscored the latter difference, identifying the various liabilities RSA would potentially be taking on if the two organizations merge.

The report says given CHIP’s cash burn, the group might not exist six months from now if it does not receive financial help. Of course, joining RSA would be of financial help.

CHIP explains the burn rate by saying it has wound down fundraising, yet continues to aggressively lobby on behalf of its members.

From the outside, it does not seem like the report has hurt the merger talks. When reached on Friday, RSA’s Joe Strasburg said talks were ongoing.

The report also details how much CHIP spends on lobbying:

— Brown & Weinraub: $10,000 a month, starting in June 16, 2023

— Allied Government Affairs: $10,000 a month for 2023

— MirRam Group, $15,000 a month for the year ending Jan. 14, 2024; and a separate contract from Dec. 15, 2022, to Jan. 14, 2024, at $15,000 a month.

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— O’Donnell & Associates: $8,000 a month for Jan. 1 to June 30, 2023.

— Patrick Siconolfi Consultancy Agreement, $3,051, full term unclear

— Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates: $12,500 a month for 2023

That’s about $50,000 per month.

What we’re thinking about next: If CHIP and RSA merge, what will the new supergroup be called? Send suggestions to

A thing we’ve learned: Albany has a “Santa Speedo Sprint.” It is pretty much what it sounds like.

Elsewhere in New York…

— In light of SantaCon on Saturday, the MTA is banning alcohol on all Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains this weekend, NBC New York reports. The agency plans to deploy additional officers to enforce the ban.

— The state Police Benevolent Association is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign legislation that would allow its members to retire and start receiving a pension after 20 years of service, the Times-Union reports. Benefits currently kick in after year 25.

— Now you can pretend to be an ironworker sitting precariously on a beam. Rockefeller Center’s “The Beam” recreates the iconic (though staged) 1932 photo of ironworkers eating lunch while suspended over the skyline. The attraction is located on the 69th floor, 12 feet above the observation deck, Gothamist reports. Riders are strapped in and spun 180 degrees, providing a view of the skyline and Central Park.