Seward Park Co-op Board Prevails Against Disgruntled Residents in Parking Garage Privatizing Lawsuit
The Seward Park Board of Directors essentially privatized the garage as a for-profit parking operation when it entered a ten-year lease with Icon/Quik Park in early 2016. It was a 6 to 5 vote at the time. According to Habitat, property taxes more than doubled in the previous seven years while monthly maintenance had increased by just 14-percent, so the board made this deal as a profit engine to boost the bottom line.
However, disgruntled tenants led by Don West, president of the 7th Precinct Community Council, charged that no informational meetings were held before the decision was made; that the rights of those with parking spaces were violated; and that entering into agreement was illegal. Shareholders subsequently sued the board in New York Supreme Court.
Now, a year later, Justice Arthur Engoron just tossed the suit.
“The board was elected specifically to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the co-op,” Engoron wrote in his decision. “It would be nearly impossible for co-op boards to function if every time they had to act, they had to entertain potentially endless debate involving numerous varying positions.”
He wrote: “The board acted within its authority – i.e., converting the garage for the co-op’s financial benefit – even if its decision to do so was unpopular with some (apparently a minority of) shareholders.”
Engoron also ordered the plaintiffs to cover the legal fees the co-op board incurred while defending its position. Total cost will be determined later.