An editorial yesterday, The City Council is a sorry spectacle, the Daily News investigation showed in sordid detail, highlights a few, including these two:
Two Brooklynites won the award for the worst of the worst. Erik Dilan and Darlene Mealy represent districts with large low-income populations, where families with limited resources face the tough challenge of finding decent places to live.Mealy was one of the two members of the 16-member Brooklyn City Council delegation to show up at the March 2010 Atlantic Yards arena groundbreaking. Mealy's gotten campaign contributions from members of BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development), an Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement signatory, and has supported BUILD with discretionary grants.
And what has Dilan, of Bushwick, chairman of the Housing Committee, done to help? He helped himself, of course. He moved into a subsidized apartment that is supposed to be for families with incomes of less than $114,000. He and his wife reported incomes $40,000 over the limit.
Mealy, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, is also squatting on housing that should be occupied by someone making a lot less than the $112,500 salary plus a $10,000 lulu she gets for her part-time Council job.
She and her sister bought a taxpayer-subsized three-bedroom co-op in Bed-Stuy in 1993, when Mealy worked for the Transit Authority. Their joint income was supposed to be less than $15,000. Two years later, they came up with a $14,000 down payment for a brownstone.
Dilan, as the graphic at left shows, was one of the earliest elected officials to support Atlantic Yards; the list is from the bid for the Vanderbilt Yard that Forest City Ratner delivered in July 2005 to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
What about Sanders?
Also note the presence on that list of Council Member James Sanders.
He presided over the notorious May 2004 City Council Committee hearing in which Forest City Ratner and its allies spoke all morning, before a full slate of committee members and the press, while project opponents faced empty chairs and a media blackout in the afternoon--a scene prominent in the upcoming Battle for Brooklyn documentary.
The Daily News pointed out that Sanders, while criticizing predatory lenders, had his own conflict:
He failed to mention that he had stopped paying his mortgage and his home was in foreclosure.That reasoning prompted an editorial scoffing at his excuse:
The no-money-down mortgages he got to buy a $588,000 two-family in Far Rockaway in 2006 proved overwhelming; Sanders quit making his $3,000 monthly mortgage payment by April 2009.
He calls himself a "victim" and represents himself in court, trying to avoid eviction and damning predatory lenders.
...Sanders declined to discuss his case, but predicted his final settlement will allow "other victims to learn that they, too, have a way to fight back.
Identified by the Daily News I-Team as delinquent on his payments, Sanders countered that he was a victim of predatory lending rather than a plain old deadbeat.
It was the bank that lured him into a $588,000 mortgage on a Far Rockaway home in 2006.
It was the bank that made him believe he could afford $3,000-a-month payments.
It was the bank that got annoyed when he stopped sending in checks.
It was the bank that has insisted on foreclosing.
It was the bank that doesn't understand why he should be allowed to stay in the house payment-free after two years.
As Sanders pleaded in court, "My family and I were likely the victims of dishonest, deceitful and ... corrupt lending practices."
So here we have an elected official who purports to be smart enough to write laws while pleading that he was bamboozled into borrowing half a million dollars he could not afford.
How dumb is that?
New York Knucklehead dumb.