Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Talk again of privatization at Village View

We're hearing that there's another privatization effort underway — at least by one resident — at Village View, the 1,200-plus-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op between First Avenue and Avenue A, from Second Street to Sixth Street.

First, a little recent history: Back in August 2016, there was news that the residents/shareholders of Village View were mulling over whether to withdraw from the affordable housing program. 

By November 2016, the Board met ... and passed a motion: "to cease any further discussion of privatization, including a feasibility study, unless and until such time there is a clear indication from a large percentage of shareholders that there is an interest in learning more about privatization."

In recent weeks, a tenant — also with a Westhampton address — named Jerry Hackman has been leaving numerous flyers on doors and in mailboxes, according to one resident, who shared a copy of a missive here (click on the image below for more detail) ...
The message includes the claim that privatization is a "free gift for you without any risk." The letter ends with a promise: "Let Santa come early this year."

The resident who shared the above flyer described the message as "disgusting." The resident elaborated:
"We cannot close the path for others to affordable Mitchell-Lama housing, however rare this path remains. I hope neighbors are aware and talk to folks they know at Village View about the importance of preserving affordable housing in NYC, now more than ever."
Village View, which opened in 1964, consists of seven buildings.

Top photo via EVG archives

29 comments:

Brian said...

Southbridge Towers underwent privatization relatively recently. It was a 1600+ unit Mitchell Lama coop. I find the tone of the letter by Mr. Hackman a little creepy, like a snake oil salesman. He needs to have a cogent detailed plan with a lot of the number crunching that would make a majority of the residents trust and accept a transition plan that would keep the coop financially stable for those that remain and those that choose to cash out. Coop Village, in the lower east side went through a huge privatization around 2000. I think both Southbridge Towers and Coop Village both would be considered successful transitions in which low equity Mitchell Lama coops converted to financially stable market rate coops that emerged. But I am sure there are many opinions to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

I live at Village View - these notices have been floating around for months and months now. They are written in a very salesman-like tone - promising seniors they can stay as long as they like if they sign over their apartments (not saying how this would be enforced or not overturned later). It also brushes off the high taxes that would be owed on turning the units private.

At any rate, the stockholders would have to vote a majority just to explore privatization - and then vote to actually take the co-op private. And most have expressed no interest in doing so.

Anonymous said...

The only way to know what “most” think is to have a vote which never took place. This new push to privatize might have a stronger support in the post COVID world. Remember million plus have left NYC in the last year alone and the office world will never be the same. The population in VV is getting younger and these people are more likely, in my opinion, to suport privatization because they want to leave NYC as well but can’t get rid of the “golden handcuffs” that VV offers.
Mr Hackman that has been driving the new push to privatize is living up to his name but if there is support to privatize it will happen regardless.

Anonymous said...

The first rule of privatization is do not talk about privatization

Anonymous said...

Coop village is in the Bronx. If you are referring Steward Park and East River coops along Grand Street they were built and owned by the women's garment workers union, not Mitchell Lama

Anonymous said...

The person bombarding shareholders with these incoherent fliers ran for the board and came in last. Nevertheless, more fliers from him arrived after the election results. The broken record becomes harassment. Maybe he wasn't living at Village View in 2016, when an enormous backlash against a privatization effort stopped it dead in its tracks. What a time to push for eliminating affordable housing, right in the middle of a pandemic. Show some respect.

Anonymous said...

Always good to know that someone in Westhampton Beach has the interests of the East Village at heart. /s

Anonymous said...

“Enclosed is a BALLET” 🩰

Anonymous said...

I live in VV and someone in my building posted this letter with hilarious memes all over it making fun of this guy's incorrect usage of the word "philosophic" when he means "philanthropic" and used a picture of Harry Styles in a tutu from SNL to point out that "enclosed is a ballet" error. I wish I'd taken a pic before it was removed. Everyone I've spoken to in the community thinks this guy is a joke. And it's clear that he has no one's interests at heart besides his own. He just wants to retire to the Hamptons with as much money as possible and screw whatever happens to the population living here at VV when he does.

mrBKR1967 said...

It looks Jerry / Jerold Hackman wants to win the lottery twice. Privatization occurs at the expense of others. If Village Views privatization moves forward it will take away 50 years of capital that every New Yorker has paid into so he and others like him could have a subsidized real estate tax rate that is well below market value. That real estate tax subsidy and limited equity buy-in probably allowed him to buy another home in Westhampton Beach where the median home value is near $1 million. I wouldn't be surprised if he is violating the residency requirements required by HPD in making Village Views his primary residence as he is using a P.O. Box in Westhampton. Why did he recently become re-registered to vote at his Village View address after being registered to vote in Westhampton? One has to ask if his income affidavit is correct? Is he exceeding the maximum income requirements for more than three years in a row while living at VV? Did HPD give him a waiver for exceeding those maximums? Southbridge Towers is not successful. In a recent letter dated January 15, 2021 from John Fratta, SBT Board President, it states SBT is now being denied mortgages by major lenders. SBT financials do not comply with Fannie/Freddie. He states “there is a significant operating deficit." The cooperators at SBT will have pay a $7 million operating assessment in addition to a $3 million assessment to cover the deficit caused by the increase in real estate taxes. I don’t think the offering plan to go private at SBT projected enough information into the future to give a real sense of the risk and dangers you take when you leave the Mitchell-Lama program and your real estate taxes increase by millions overnight. A simple search on ACRIS probably shows SBT didn’t meet initial and yearly sales goals. The flip tax revenue that went along with the depressed sales doesn’t appear to be enough to pay for the substantial real estate tax increases. In an offering plan cooperators are usually given the option of staying on as cooperators or renters. The reason why some seniors sign over their apartment is because staying on as a renter is probably cheaper for them than having to pay substantial maintenance assessments like SBT is going through right now. Maintenance surcharges that are based on income are usually not included in those who choose to stay on as renters. The rent is based on the size of the apartment. Most seniors will see their maintenance go down if they choose to rent. Seniors are usually eligible for some type of SCRIE DRIE like benefit with a no eviction clause in the offering plan as long as they stay current. For those seniors who elected to stay on as renters, the money made from the sales of those apartments goes directly to SBT to help cover expenses. The post COVID environment has negative consequences on Mitchell-Lama coops that want to go private. SBT is a prime example of the high risks and hazards of leaving a ML coops before, during and after a pandemic.

Anonymous said...

The demographics of Village View are rapidly changing. The old original middle income tenants are dying off and being replaced by a younger more affluent group, primarily through relatives succession to the apartments which bypasses the income ceilings. It is only a matter of time before Village View is privatized.

Anonymous said...

As a younger person raising my family at Village View, I completely disagree with those who say it's the young tenants that prefer privatization. All the younger people I speak to here know how lucky we are to have these apartments and want to have our kids grow up in NYC.

Jerry is representing the views of selfish older folks who want a windfall to retire on - future Mitchell Lama tenants be damned. Typical pulling up the ladder behind them behavior, and I'm glad to see he's being treated as the joke that he is.

And Jerry, if you're reading this, stop harassing us with your dumb letters!

Anonymous said...

@8:10pm: "Jerry is representing the views of selfish older folks who want a windfall to retire on." NO, please be kind enough not to conflate all "older folks" with this one man! Don't tar everyone who's older with such a broad brush, especially b/c one day YOU will be among the "older folks" too.

Try to comprehend that older people are NOT "selfish" - that's a lie told to try to marginalize people. Does wanting to have an affordable roof over your head & still be able to eat = "selfish" to you? If so, you're selfish right now, at your "younger" age!

If, as you say, you are a "younger person raising my family in VV," then take a few minutes to mentally project who YOU will be and what YOU will want for yourself 40 years from now.

Do you think when you are old you'll want to know that you're not going to be evicted from the place you have lived in for so many years?

And when you are old, will you want younger people to say that everything is your fault because you're a selfish older person?

Anonymous said...

i am calling bullshit on most VV people , you claim to be big mitchell lama fans and middle income supporters.
how many single old people living in 2 and 3 bedrooms taking up space when you are supposed to downsize your unit , in my building there are many people out of the room to person scale. on my floor i have a single in a 2 bedroom a single in a 3 bedroom a single in a 2 bedroom and thats on half a wing on 1 floor in 1 building . lets address that now and see some realignment . you know who you are do the right thing kids move you move .....cmon mookie do the right thing

Sarah said...

Do you think when you are old you'll want to know that you're not going to be evicted from the place you have lived in for so many years?

(a) Not if it means stealing from future generations what you yourself got to enjoy

(b) If you think privatization somehow protects you more from eviction than being in M-L, you are very very very confused

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @10:01:

I said "selfish older folks", meaning the group of older people who are selfish - not that ALL older people are. He is *specifically* targeting & manipulating older folks who want to cash out of VV. Why do you think almost all of his arguments speak to how great this plan is for seniors?

I'm young but I've lived in Mitchell-Lamas for 30+ years, so I know exactly what I don't want in the future: more projects privatized for the benefit of the few. We all won the lottery by getting in here so why are people like Jerry - many of whom have second homes elsewhere - so eager to make a profit off dumb luck?

rodnee said...

I'm a younger VV resident (34) and have no interest in privatization. I didn't wait on the list for years to pay market rates.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:43PM

I understand this frustration - the wait for 3 bedrooms for families that really need them are cost prohibitive. But the way the apartment transfers work at Mitchell Lama co-ops makes downsizing so pointlessly expensive and therefore a stupid decision. It's also not enforceable like it is at Mitchell-Lama rentals.

Example:
1989: You "bought in" on your VV 3 bedroom for $7,000
2021: You want to downsize to a 1 bedroom. The current equity price on a 1 bed now is ~$19,000. You have to pay that $19,000 (plus admin/repair fees + moving costs) upfront. AND once you move and turn over the keys to your 3 bedroom, you have to wait until your old apartment "sells" to a new shareholder before you get your original $7,000 back. It can take months.

So you're paying extra money for a smaller apartment AND you have to do it all upfront. No mortgage. And you're probably old. Therefore downsizing is not a reasonable option for most.

Anonymous said...

I live at VV and downsized years ago. My family was one of the first in the complex in '64. They had a 3 bedroom. By the late '80s, my grandfather was the only one left. I moved in with him to go to school in the city. Once he passed, I downsized to a smaller unit, freeing up the older unit for a new family. Yeah, I lost out. I had to buy the new 1 bedroom for more than what the 3 BR cost in the '60s. And pay to 'restore' the old apartment back to original condition. But I was glad to make room for a family that needed it.

VV and Mitchel Llama are the only kinds of operations making affordable living in NYC possible. The neighborhood's already being swallowed up by million dollar condos - heck, one's going up right across the street from VV. Privatization makes no sense in a city starved for affordable housing.

Anonymous said...

@12:34am: Sorry, but you missed the point of my comment completely.

BTW, *everyone* currently living in VV could be accused of "stealing from future generations" IF it's ever privatized b/c there's no age restriction on "stealing from future generations" that I know of.

Anonymous said...

The letter is more than a bit strange, but the fact of the matter is that Village View will go private eventually. If you offer a group of people winning $1 million lottery tickets, eventually, some group of them will agree to accept them. The real question is whether that money will go to the original tenants of Village View who moved in when the neighborhood was less gentrified, or if it will go to a new generation of Millennial residents who don't even remember when the neighborhood was affordable. I may be hard for some to accept that is the real issue, but it is. The good news is that for those residents who do not choose to buy, they will have rent controlled apartments for the rest of their lives. (p.s. I am a Village View resident)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @12:26pm
Rent controlled doesn’t exist for “new” units anymore. You mean rent stabilized. And yes, they will be if VV goes private - with a massive increase in monthly maintenance charges. No more property tax break + additional financial penalties from privatization means everyone will have a much higher monthly cost. My maintenance now is $700 with no mortgage. Not gonna happen if this place goes private, so keep dreaming.

Anonymous @11:24am
You still seem confused. My comment wasn’t a criticism of *all* older people at VV. It was about him specifically writing a letter to target and mislead those seniors who want to privatize and make money. I missed your point because it was completely unrelated to my comment.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Hackman obviously has no appreciation for his residency at VV. It seems he wants to simply support his own cause of privatization with hopes of lining his own pockets. Notice he also lists his Westhampton return address as a PO Box, in order to protect his primary residence at VV. Jerry Hackman was running as a board member candidate in 2020 and the voting outcome for him was pathetic and low, with a turnout of around 75 votes (out of about 1200 eligible voters). Yet he still continues to bombard tenants with his fliers and announcements. Maybe he thinks the election results were fraud with votes ‘stolen’ from him! Since I consider his nonsense to be an offensive form of harassment I’ve reported him to management. They’ve assured me that privatization is off the table, especially since all tenants were already well informed about privatization, and strongly voted against it a few years ago. Management also assured me that the VV attorneys are well aware and looking into the matter regarding Jerry Hackman, although I believe their attorneys may have better things to do!

Anonymous said...

There is no talk about the privatization of Village View. Only the fliers that Jerry Hackman keeps passing around. The Village View Management says the issue of privatization is off the table since it was openly and thoroughly discussed and voted against about three years ago, The outcome was that the majority of residents did not want Village View to be privatized and still do not.

Anonymous said...

How about HPD (the overlord agency overseeing Mitchell Lama) rescind his right to shares as he is blatantly non compliant in his primary residency?! Believe me, the number of aging neighbors in our community stuck in walk-up buildings would love it if the waitlist would move faster if Jerry and many many others would release their hold on what they no longer need.

Anonymous said...

They need to go private while they still can and while this property is still desirable. There is a possibility that few years from now these apartments will not be worth as much.

Anonymous said...

I've been living in the east village since 1985. How does one even get an apartment at Village View?? (serious question)

It seems that unless you're an insider/friend of an insider you don't have a chance to get one of these affordable housing units. As i age, not so gracefully and my mobility is becoming limited I need an affordable housing option that doesn't require me to climb 5 flights of stairs which is my current situation.

MAREK said...

Not true!
3 years ago there was no vote what so ever against privatization quite oppositeThe Board promised to organize a few informational meetings about privatization and also promised to conduct feasibility study unfortunately, on one of the meetings with shareholders a small group of4-5 people shouted and intimidated the rest of us. Shortly after, the Board issued a statement about stoping to explorer the possibility of privatization. It was definitely caused by this small but apparently aggressive and influential people. As a matter of fact same people keep disrupting meetings organized by Mr Hackman
So maybe we should try to get together and together with our Board come back to original idea to invite people professionals and possibly people from already privatized ML to get real and truthful information about privatization. And only than we should be able to make informed and honest decision.
We don’t have to stick with mr Hackman. But so far he is the only one who tried to do something
We need more information and knowledge is the most important in this process
Hope that our Board will raise to the task

Brian said...

Coop City is in the Bronx. Coop Village are the group of Mitchell Lama type low equity housing sponsored by the women's garment workers but not owned by them.