Comments (1) 12:00 AM posted by admin |
David Kircher, you may have met your match.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Emmanuel Ku, President of Dakko of Queens, NY, and if everything goes according to plan, he’s going to be the next owner of the Parkview Apartments. Mr. Ku is a known New York City slumlord. He is most famous for his purchase of Pueblo de MayagÃ¼ez in the South Bronx. At the time of his purchase of the complex, Mr. Ku’s buildings had over 1500 code violations. He had been fined by the city of New York eighteen times for a total of $23K. NYC was also suing him over a 25-unit building in Harlem that had over 200 code violations. He also had two buildings in Brooklyn with over 600 code violations in a mere 15 units. After owning Pueblo de MayagÃ¼ez for little over a year, residents were reporting broken windows and roaches. In fact, no money was spent on rehabilitation, the units are no longer affordable to non-voucher holders, and crime and drug activity has increased. Luckily for the resdients of the Parkview Apartments, Mr. Ku calls himself “the daredevil landlord,” and Mr. Ku is going to show his daredevil side by making parking at Parkview his top priority because uneven pavement could lead to lawsuits from drug dealers.
Yesterday you may recall that I spun a yarn about the tragic happenings of the Parkview Apartments based on the information I had at the time. Well, I couldn’t have gotten that any more wrong even if I’d tried. Bob Woodward bounced back from “Wired,” so hopefully I can recover from this. In my defense, I think what I pieced together was pretty fair based on the published information available. I lay most of the blame on my lousy sources.
As it turns out, I have my own Linda Lovelace. While that will make for some interesting Google searches one day, I have some information that tells the other side of the story. It paints an entirely different picture than what was portrayed in the newspapers. The City was acting in the best interests of the Parkview residents when they scrutinized the YHC plan. They met with the YHC on May 10th to resolve the list of twenty-five conditions that City Council placed on the purchase. Over the course of the next two and a half weeks, the two sides traded proposals several more times until time finally ran out on the 20th. The deadline was missed and the auction would proceed as planned. During the week of the 23rd, the two sides finally came to an agreement right before the auction date. In the end, HUD may or may not have reneged on their half of the bargain when they told the City and the YHC there was not enough time to understand the deal because it was too complicated. On May 27th at 10AM, the auction went ahead as planned.
Everyone wanted to get Parkview back on the tax rolls. The City is broke. It needs all the cash it can find. What I don’t understand, is why a line in the sand was drawn over $40K. As it stands, Mr. Ku’s purchase price of $2.6M will be taxed at 73.1 mils with around 30 mils going directly into the City’s coffers. The money is important. Ypsilanti has too many PILOT programs already. We’re not running a charity here.
But everyone must have known that if a deal wasn’t struck and the property was auctioned off, that somebody like Mr. Ku was going to swoop in and buy the place. That’s what makes this all so tragic. There are dozens of lawsuits between tenants who had their apartments sold at HUD foreclosure sales and the landlords who bought them. Most of these lawsuits involve properties that were sold and had Section 8 contracts terminated. It appears that the risk of having the YHC rehab the apartments was greater than the risk of having an out-of-town slumlord buy and operate the apartments.
Maybe Wesley Finch of The Finch Group was the answer. Finch guided housing policy of former-President Clinton, but unlike the glowing reviews heaped on his company by Mayor Farmer, the Finch Group has received mixed reviews in the world of affordable housing. Wesley Finch was forced to step down as Senator John F. Kerry’s top fundraiser after the Boston Herald reported on the condition of three of the properties managed by his company. In 1996, a Finch-related firm filed for Chapter 11 protection after the an apartment complex was set to have its utilities shut off after falling $544K behind in payments and $430K behind in back taxes.
The City, the YHC, and the residents are now in a holding pattern waiting to see what the self-proclaimed daredevil landlord has up his sleeve.