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De Blasio secured mortgages from bank linked to landlords in contested housing deal

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The bank has ties to the men who sold 17 buildings for $173M to the city

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family stand outside of their white clapboard and red brick Park Slope, Brooklyn  home.
Bill de Blasio, right, is sworn in as the mayor of New York City in 2014 in front of his Park Slope home.
Seth Wenig/AP Photo

Mayor Bill de Blasio secured mortgages for his Park Slope buildings from the bank founded by the brother of the men who are benefiting from a controversial $173 million real estate deal with the city, The New York Daily News reports.

The two Brooklyn homes owned by de Blasio each carry mortgages acquired from Wall Street Mortgage Bankers, which was founded by Abraham Podolsky—the bank’s treasurer, secretary, and former president, according to the newspaper. Abraham is the brother of infamous landlords Jay and Stuart Podolsky, who in April sold 17 buildings to the city for $173 million. Abraham could not be reached by Curbed for comment and did not return multiple messages by the The Daily News.

George Arzt, a spokesman for Jay and Stuart Podolsky, vigorously denied that the pair had any knowledge of the mortgages.

“Lewis Carroll, of Alice in Wonderland fame, could not create a work of fiction like this,” Arzt said. “The facts are: Stuart and Jay Podolsky parted ways in business with their brother Abe in the 1980’s. They do not know, nor did he ever know anything about any mortgage the mayor may have received.”

The city’s deal with Jay and Stuart Podolsky will convert 468 apartments in the Giuliani-era cluster site program, which is used to house the homeless, in the Bronx and Brooklyn back into permanently rent-stabilized apartments. But the sale came under swift scrutiny when just a day after the city closed the deal, Comptroller Scott Stringer hit the de Blasio administration with a subpoena for appraisals conducted as part of the $173 million agreement.

Independent appraisals have pegged the properties’ value at $143.1 million. But one city appraisal valued the buildings as low as $49.67 million, according to The Daily News.

Records filed with the city’s Department of Finance show that de Blasio’s clapboard row house on 11th Street has a $625,000 mortgage from Wall Street Mortgage Bankers, The Daily News reports. That agreement, city finance records show, is dated June 26, 2014—six months after de Blasio began his first term as mayor—and is due on July 1 2044.

A separate Wall Street Mortgage loan on de Blasio’s second Park Slope property, also on 11th Street, is for $630,500 and is due in 2042, according to finance records.

A mayoral spokesperson denied that the mortgages factored into the city’s housing deal.

“The only thing that factored into this deal was the best interest of our homeless New Yorkers,” said de Blasio representative Freddi Goldstein. “Nothing else played a role.”