Seward Park Co-op Members Suing Board of Directors Over Parking Garage Privatization
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There is a civil war brewing at the Seward Park Co-op on Grand Street, pitting cooperative members against the board of directors. At the heart of the discord is the onsite parking garage, which residents charge the board privatized in an “underhanded” manner without consulting residents.
Shareholders are now planning to file a lawsuit, and a meeting to discuss the matter was held this week. Attorney Ezra Glaser mapped out the strategy of legal proceedings, “in an attempt to invalidate the building’s contract with Icon Parking.” Don West, president of the 7th Precinct Community Council, has been spearheading the effort.
West, for his part, sent out the following press statement ahead of the aforementioned meeting.
The shareholders who dislike the way this privatization was done, that believe our shareholder rights have been abridged, have joined together to hire an attorney to represent us, in order to rectify this situation. We believe we have a good case. This is the sixth meeting, but the first since hiring the attorney to represent us.
Background: The Board of Directors of Seward Park Housing Corporation (SPHC) signed a contract to lease the Garage to Icon / Quik Park on March 2, 2016. It was a 6 to 5 vote. No informational meetings were held before the decision was made. Shareholders of our large co- op should have vote on this. It should be (and should have been) put to a referendum to decide if we want an outside contractor.
Before this each of 380 shareholders had their own space. They could come and go as they pleased. Handicapped people had easy access. They parked close to the exits near their apartments. With this vote everything changed.
The garage was built for tenant shareholders only. There should not be outside daily or monthly parkers.
Technically, the lease of the garage is in violation. The company, Icon, does not have a license to operate in the garage. They constructed office space, did general construction, put up signs and lighting, all without permits.
There is no Certificate of Occupancy (CO) for the Garage. There has been no CO since 2003. Background: the garage collapsed in 1999 and was reopened in 2003. The last Certificate of Occupancy dates from 1996. It states that the garage is for use by the cooperators of the building, not outside operators.