Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Report: Drama on 13th Street as family of actress Rosario Dawson looks to buy affordable housing



544 E. 13th St. near Avenue B is one of the 11 formerly abandoned East Village buildings that the city sold to tenants for a $1 via a deal brokered by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) in 2002. Under the terms of the deal, the tenants were to bring the buildings up to code.

However, as The Villager reported in October 2015, the conversions of No. 544 as well as 377 E. 10th St. between Avenue B and Avenue C were stalled. The city reportedly chipped in $1.78 million for the renovation work.

Under the terms of the UHAB deal, the original homesteaders are given the chance to buy apartments at a low price, "but have to earn no more than $53,450 a year and the home must be a primary residence, according to the city," as the Post reported on Sunday.

No. 544 has reportedly been the site on an ongoing feud between two factions, "one of them led by Isabel Celeste Dawson, the mother of actress Rosario Dawson, who grew up in the building," per the 2015 Villager article. At the time, members of the Dawson family, Isabel, her brother Nicky Scott, Isabel’s ex-husband Greg Dawson, and son Clay were in line for four units in the renovated building. (The Dawsons arrived at the building in 1986.)

On Sunday, the Post reported that the four members of the Dawson family along with a longtime friend will be getting the homes, which doesn't sit well with some of the other original homesteaders who point out that Rosario Dawson has an estimated worth of $16 million.

Per the Post:

“She’s supportive of her parents. I don’t understand why she hasn’t acquired housing for them elsewhere so these units could be for New Yorkers in need,” said Annie Wilson, one of the building’s founding homesteaders.

Another resident chafed, “This is low-income housing. They’re not supposed to be profiting from anything to do with it.”

And...

Adam Leitman Bailey, a lawyer who represents the Dawsons and some of the other residents, said he had reviewed tax returns for all of the residents and they qualified to buy the apartments.

“I can guarantee you that none of them are wealthy,” he said.

The Post piece has a lot more of the accusations and sordid details. You can read the whole piece here. Ditto for the 2015 Villager article here.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Homesteaders or urban pioneers have gotten the long shaft from the city for a long time these houses should be made available to people who reworked them or to Vets

Anonymous said...

social engineering at its finest.

Anonymous said...

If these people's tax returns prove their income is within guidelines it does not matter if their daughter who I assume will not live there, has a lot more money. I bigger scandal is in the works with a section 8 building on 12th Street. After booting out the residents nearly 8 years ago with an agreement to repair their building and sell the apartments for a very low price the city has now made a deal with a developer to move the 12th street former residents to another section 8 building on Ave A and possibly the building on 13th street. The building on 12th street which is a 5 story tenement will be demolished and replaced with a 7-8 story condo. This is a back room deal and so far has not been subject to a public hearing. The building on 12th street faces south and has direct view of Sauer park which is prime real-estate. Thank you Rosie for screwing us over.

Anonymous said...

This is similar. Residents at the two UHAB buildings did not bring the buildings up to code. Therefore the city chipped in 1.78 million and BFC Partners to renovate the buildings in exchange for development rights nearby to build more market rate housing. If the residents could not bring the buildings to code, the city should have taken back the building, renovated it itself and opened it up as a lottery for anyone in the neighborhood who met income criteria, not guaranteeing apartments to the people who couldn't manage it in the first place. They had their chance and they blew it. Why should we have to bear the burden of more luxury housing because these people could not bring their buildings up to code.

Gojira said...

So why is UHAB allowing this situation to continue? They and HPD are all up in every single HDFC's business, including a large number that run fine without their input, yet a nightmare mess like this is allowed to continue? How much money did the Dawson clan donate to Big Bill's slush fund - er, I mean, re-election campaign chest?

Donnie Moder said...

You know, her parents probably want to feel like they are making their own way. Which it seems they did. They also probably feel attached to the building they helped fix up and lived in (off and on, reportedly) for so long. So if they qualify with the income, they should stay there. Does not matter who their adult daughter is, who does not live with them anymore. The city has over 1.5 million so-called affordable housing units and millions of people are trying to get them. Usually there is no form of sweat equity involved, at least there was for this building.

Anonymous said...

@10:46
Yeah really. These residents are self interested just like everyone else and don't care about the neighborhood as a whole. The funny thing is how they are pointing the finger at the Dawson's. We are going to have more luxury housing because of all of them.
The HDFC's are pretty much market rate speculative housing at this point. Bloomberg didn't put any restrictions knowing human nature and ignorance were on his side.

cmarrtyy said...

The Dawsons could not care less. They stole the apartments fair and square. So there!

Anonymous said...

Downside of fame. Everyone trying to count your money.

Anonymous said...

Re 4:23 Vets would be a good way 2 go House some with some folks from the hood Vets are definitely a heads up

Anonymous said...

The Dawsons seem creepy. I would like my tax dollars to go to affordable housing not for renovated housing for people who let the buildings go to shit and not for people who didn't follow the rules and not at the expense of the neighborhood-to get more luxury housing to offset their renovated affordable buildings. I would not like my tax dollars to go to HDFC coops that are not affordable housing and so that low income residents can cash in. All of this is so unfair to the neighborhood.

sophocles said...

Parodoxically they have no money but have hired an expensive attorney. That being said their daughter's money is not theirs.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me when Whoopi Goldberg's mother remained in their public housing apartment in the 80's or 90's even after she was wealthy.
Interestingly, her mother then abandoned the apartment. I was a NYCHA Housing Assistant then, and we couldn't reclaim the apartment immediately because there were furnishings and possessions left in the apartment, So we had to spend months processing an "eviction".
There was rent loss and vacancy loss. Whoopi could have simply emptied the apartment when her.Mom moved out. Ironic and hypocritical since Whoopi was an advocate for the homeless back then!

Anonymous said...

They hired an expensive attorney? And how were they able to afford one? I doubt he or she is representing them pro bono. So you're implying Rosario Dawson is paying for their attorney.

I'm not directing this at you, 4:16pm, but if she is paying for their attorney then why is it unreasonable to think she pays all or part of their rent? If she pays all or part of their rent, that's unreported income thus tax evasion.

"Their daughter's money is not theirs" isn't necessarily so. They should be audited. The first red flag is she's registered to vote at that address why? Say she wanted to change her party affiliation back to No Party Affilation. She would receive notification of the change by mail at the address she's registered to vote at which means she'd need to come over there to get the notification unless someone forwards it to her, but again, why would she be registered at that address for AFFORDABLE HOUSING if she doesn't live there?
It takes literally seconds to change your home address online at the New York voter website. Second red flag is their daughter is rich. Let's say her net worth really is 16M and she has 10M in the bank. She could theoretically give each of her four relatives 1M each and still have 6M cash in the bank and a net worth of 12M, and she's only 38 thus more than young enough to make back that 4M. According to her imdb.com page she has SEVEN projects released or slated for release this year including Clerks III, a Marvel Comics series called The Defenders, and a pair of major motion picture company voiceover appearances, so she is still in demand and I doubt she is making A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints money with all that.

Yo Rosario move your fam out of housing real working people could use. Your family is not among them, or can Didi Gregorious the everyday shortstop for the New York Yankees whose career could end in seconds with an injury have his family live there? Your career could easily go on for years even if you put out subpar to mediocre crap. Rich people take care of their non-rich relatives they're cool with like your relatives are period, end of story, case closed. Spare me it's her money. You pay it backward as well as forward.



Anonymous said...

The developers are despicable slimes using poor people as prey. Someday they will rot. Where is Rosie?

Anonymous said...

Despite their having been there that long, they should really leave and let people who need it get places.

Anonymous said...

It is not Rosario's business to house her parents. If the parents are within income limits, they should be able to stay there.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Rosario has $16 million has absolutely nothing to do with her relatives. If the relatives meet the income requirement and are "original homesteaders" then they get the deal. Just like anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Income limits shmincome limits...I'm skeptical sorry. Again since you et.al. don't read beyond 140 characters anymore (Twitter), Rosario's voting address is this building and she is most likely paying for their lawyer, so it is not unreasonable to think she has a financial hand in her relatives living there. These people and she should be investigated as I find it odd that Ms.Dawson, a multimillionaire, has her voting address at this building when she doesn't and legally can't live there.

The fact that Ms.Dawson has 16M and is registered to vote at this address has everything to do with her relatives. The city of New York has a right to know if these people are receiving income or rent money from Ms.Dawson. They have a right to know if she is illegally living there.

'Say these people "meet the income requirement." How do we know Rosario doesn't pay them cash off the books?

Spare me it's not her responsibility or obligation to house her parents, I never said that, I said in so many words you couldn't figure out that she can afford to house them elsewhere, and they should let people who don't have a multimillinaire daughter live in the fucking apartments, okay? There, I said it. Ms.Dawson doesn't have a legal obligation to do this, but it could if not should be a moral obligation. And GTFOH if you tell me she wouldn't pay her parents' rent if they couldn't make rent. She's not letting her parents be evicted.

I personally think she is paying their rent under the table and registered to vote at that address cuz she lives there illegally and wants a piece of this apartment in some way but whatever.




Anonymous said...

10:19 AM
Ha. I love it. you're like comrade kaprugina when Dr. Zhivago returns to his home.

Anonymous said...

It's not always about income. It's about a neighborhood. These people are from here. From this building! They should definitely have dibs on it, low-income or not. And a relative making the money doesn't mean they make the money so it's fair game, sorry.

chris flash said...

Renovations were not the responsibility of building residents, but of UHAB, the legal owner, which received those buildings from the city for a token $1.00 payment each, in exchange for a promise to get all buildings up to code and back on the property tax rolls within a reasonable amount of time.

The untold story is why UHAB, after getting loans 3-4 times more than necessary to bring other formerly-city-owned squats up to code (UHAB has refused to open its books to show exactly what amounts were spent on each building, how much money was left over and WHERE it has gone), allowed ten years to pass, refusing to do the same for 2 squats on East 10th and East 13th Streets and then cut a deal with notorious real estate "developer" Donald Capoccia to do the work that UHAB could have done itself, in exchange for air right credits Capoccia plans to apply to other mega "market rate" projects in the area, along with other "consideration". This deal was forced upon the residents of both buildings by city council member Rosie Mendez.

The SHADOW will be telling this story and MORE in our upcoming issue. Some people aren't going to like it, but tough shit -- it will be TRUE and ACCURATE!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris. The Dawsons shouldn't get a free ride though, they should be investigated. I agree with 10:45 and 3:00 PM. Great information. Additionally there's a history of violence. Thank goodness Rosie will be out soon, but her hand picked successor Rivera will likely be no better and could actually be worse.

chris flash said...

ANONYMOUS May 16, 2017 at 10:13 AM: Please email us at: shadowpress@rocketmail.com. We would appreciate communicating with you....

Anonymous said...

I don't get it. If Rosario Dawson's second cousins want to live in a rent stabilized apartment, do we get the point the finger to her net worth in that case too?

If they income qualify, they income qualify. We don't get to point the finger at a wealthy relative and say "that makes you not worthy". It's none of our business.

Andreas Serna said...

Google Cash gift tax from family IRS "The annual exclusion applies to gifts to each donee. In other words, if you give each of your children $11,000 in 2002-2005, $12,000 in 2006-2008, $13,000 in 2009-2012 and $14,000 on or after January 1, 2013, the annual exclusion applies to each gift. The annual exclusion for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 is $14,000.Apr 10, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions on Gift Taxes - IRS.gov

Andreas Serna said...

Where you are register to vote and where you declare your residence for IRS tax filing are mutually exclusive.