More than a dozen members of the state’s powerful Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus are calling on both the New York State Unified Court Systemand the De Blasio Administration to put a moratorium on and investigate the 66 properties that were bundled together and taken through in rem foreclosure proceedings and judgment in December 2017.
The city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), through its Third Party Transfer (TPT) program, filed a request for the foreclosure judgement on Nov. 27, 2017, and State Supreme Court Judge Mark Partnow signed a judgement of foreclosure on Dec. 5, 2017.
KCP has found four property owners that produced compelling evidence of improprieties in the seizures of property. All say they received no notification of a court proceeding, and only learned of it after notices of new ownership was sent to tenants in the building. Further all four property owners were either black or brown, owned their properties free and clear with no mortgages and lived in increasingly gentrifying neighborhoods where property values are now worth in the millions of dollars.
State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Bedofrd-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Boerum Hll, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Gowanus, Park Slope), who was the chief initaitor of the letter, said the KCP stories took up a huge chunk of the Caucus’ recent summit meeting where it was determined that the TPT program is also an issue in the Bronx and Queens.
“More than a dozen people [lawmakers] from across the city agreed to sign the letter. That is how widely it was felt in our Caucus,” said Montgomery.
“The issue of people’s property being taken is critically important to all of us, and as state electeds we wanted to initiate a movement at least among ourselves to see what steps we can take in helping to resolve this problem for people we represent. We will also be talking to borough presidents and city council members. We don’t want to usurp anyone’s authority, but we thought it is extremely important as state representatives to utilize the authority we have to try to rectify this situation,” she added.
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