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As Rivington House Scandal Looms, Pols Call For Reform To Deed Restrictions

Ask the city to introduce a public notification process while considering the lifting of a deed

Image via PropertyShark

In light of the scandal surrounding Rivington House, a group of elected officials are now demanding that the city change the existing laws pertaining to deed restrictions and make the whole process more transparent.

At press conference outside of the nursing home facility this morning, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer outlined a plan that they hope will prevent future situations like the one taking place at Rivington House right now.

So here's what they want if the city considers lifting any deed restrictions:

  • Public notice to the local community board, borough president, and City Council members.
  • An online database on properties where the city has imposed deed restrictions. And that that database have information such as location, information on the owners, a description of restrictions and why they were put in place, and images of the requisite property documents.

"The loss of Rivington House has been a terrible blow to the community that embraced this building's original residents, people with HIV/AIDS, at a time when few other neighborhoods were willing to do so," Chin said. "As a result of this transaction, made with no meaningful public notification, this community lost an asset that rightfully belonged to current and future generations."

Both Chin and Brewer would like to see the building being restored to a care facility despite the revelation of the sale.

The local community board, and in turn Chin's office began hearing of the sale sometime at the end of November/early December last year. But it wasn't until some inspired reporting and investigating by the Lo-Down that people became aware of murky dealings behind Rivington House.

The sale and the lifting of the deed restriction are now being investigated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, the NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the city's Department of Investigation.