City Council Might Probe Shady Rivington House Deal

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 at 5:19 am by

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Melissa Mark-Viverito and Margaret Chin, Photo: City Council

As the days pass, more public officials are jumping on the bandwagon of opposition against the $116 million sale of Rivington House. Pressure is mounting.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito admitted last week that she’s considering “oversight hearings” to investigate the controversial $116 million transaction that fleeced the neighborhood of its nursing home. “Obviously there’s a lot of concerns that have been raised with that transaction — how did it happen, come about,” Mark-Viverito told the Daily News. “Deed restrictions are there for a reason. How do we monitor them? So there is room there for us to play a role there in our oversight capacity, so we will explore that.”

Even more notable, however, is the role of Councilwoman Margaret Chin in all this. Capital New York reported last week that Mark-Viverito was not “informed by Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the district where the Rivington House is located, about the matter, despite Chin’s apparent knowledge of the issue well before it was reported in the press.”

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So, it’s certainly curious to see Chin joining with Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Daniel Squadron (and Gigi Li, Ha!) in demanding compensation for this sale into condos.

“There is room there for us to play a role in our oversight capacity so we will explore that,” Mark-Viverito said.

The Brooklyn-based Allure Group purchased the Rivington House HIV/AIDS facility from Village Care in November 2015 for $28 million with assurances that it would operate as a for-profit facility, plus an additional $16.15 million to the city to nullify the 1992 deed requiring the property operate as a non-profit. That contested removal, however, ultimately led to the $116 million sale and forthcoming luxury conversion by developers Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co., and Adam America Real Estate. (It was also reported that the property had already been under contract months before the deed was lifted.)

The scandal is also being investigated by the New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, city comptroller Scott Stringer, and the Department of Investigation.

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