Borough President Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin today celebrated the enactment of their tough new legislation introducing transparency and Mayoral accountability to the murky process that resulted in Rivington House’s sale to a luxury condominium developer. Chin and Brewer introduced the legislation in response to widespread outrage over the City’s removal of a deed restriction that had protected the Lower East Side property, reserving it for use as a nonprofit community healthcare facility.
“Our city government failed when it did not protect Rivington House. When government screws up, it’s our first job to figure out why and make sure it cannot happen again,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Today’s legislation is a strong reform package that addresses the key failures that led to the loss of Rivington House, sets new standards for transparency so for the first time, we’ll know where all these deed restrictions are and what they’re protecting, and gives its reforms the permanence of law, so they can’t be undone in future administrations.”
Council Member Margaret S. Chin said: “Our city is not a playground for powerful real estate interests. Every transaction that involves properties set aside for the good of the people of our City, such as Rivington House, needs to be subject to the greatest amount of public input, transparency, and accountability as possible. Our legislation, which creates a public database of deed restrictions, requires notification of elected and community officials of transactions involving deed restrictions, and demands Mayoral sign-off for any deed restriction removal, achieves that goal. Today we are united with a simple message: No more Rivington Houses, not on this Mayor’s, or any other Mayor’s watch. I am proud to join Borough President Brewer and Speaker Mark-Viverito in solidarity with the Lower East Side residents who woke up one morning to find a cherished, community asset taken from them.”