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Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:08 PM

 

$4.8 million in Hurricane Sandy funds used to build New Brunswick NJ apartment tower

By Alex Napoliello/NJ.com
on January 31, 2014 at 5:18 PM, updated January 31, 2014 at 5:19 PM

"New Jersey’s Housing and Mortgage Finance agency approved the disbursement of $4.8 million in Hurricane Sandy relief funds to help build an apartment tower in New Brunswick, according to an investigation from NBC’s I-Team.

The funding was part of the state’s Fund for Rebuilding Multifamily Housing — a program intended to speed construction of new affordable housing in communities ravaged by the storm.

Only 48 of the 238 apartment units in the New Brunswick apartment building will be classified as affordable housing, the report said. The building will have 8,000 square feet of retail space, a parking deck and a fitness center, the developer, a firm called Boraie, told NBC.

Furthermore, New Brunswick suffered relatively little damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the report said. A Rutgers University study ranked New Brunswick 188th on a list of communities that suffered the most damage from Sandy."

For those of you who don't know NJ, New Brunswick is well inland from the NJ shore. - LibE

More:
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/48_million_in_sandy_relief_funds_went_to_new_brunswick_apartment_complex.html

31 replies, 4555 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply $4.8 million in Hurricane Sandy funds used to build New Brunswick NJ apartment tower (Original post)
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 OP
DURHAM D Jan 2014 #1
flamingdem Jan 2014 #2
El Shaman Jan 2014 #17
Spazito Jan 2014 #3
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 #4
Spazito Jan 2014 #5
okaawhatever Jan 2014 #6
Walk away Jan 2014 #8
spanone Jan 2014 #7
BumRushDaShow Jan 2014 #9
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 #16
klook Jan 2014 #10
DURHAM D Jan 2014 #11
another_liberal Jan 2014 #12
George II Jan 2014 #13
DURHAM D Jan 2014 #14
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 #18
Spazito Jan 2014 #19
George II Jan 2014 #21
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 #24
Spazito Jan 2014 #26
El Shaman Jan 2014 #15
George II Jan 2014 #22
WhiteTara Jan 2014 #20
mucifer Jan 2014 #23
Laxman Jan 2014 #25
LiberalEsto Jan 2014 #27
complain jane Feb 2014 #28
Cha Feb 2014 #29
cleduc Feb 2014 #30
LiberalEsto Feb 2014 #31

Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:15 PM

1. Wow what a day for New Jersey news. nt

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:17 PM

2. This should fully piss off every ethical New Jersian

That's not about affordable housing, ridiculous.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:52 PM

17. Is the

ID card included!!!?

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:24 PM

3. Hmmm, this seems to yet another development project that was...

in the planning well before Hurricane Sandy. I found this article about what seems to be about this project and it is dated March 2012 yet Hurricane Sandy didn't happen until October of 2012:

Planning Board to Hear From Public On Boraie Development's Plan for 16-Story Apartment Tower & Parking Deck

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - This Tuesday, several residents of New Brunswick's 5th Ward neighborhood are expected to attend a public meeting where the city's Planning Board will decide on an application filed by Boraie Development LLC to build a new mixed-use apartment building.

The application's fate will decide whether eight houses, four each on Somerset and Condict Streets, will be demolished to make room for 238 apartments, 237 parking spaces, a health club, and an 8,800 square foot retail store. All eight of the existing homes are owned by Osman and Magda Boraie, of Milltown.

http://newbrunswicktoday.com/article/planning-board-hear-public-boraie-developments-plan-16-story-apartment-tower-parking-deck

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Response to Spazito (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:47 PM

4. In other words, it wasn't planned to replace hurricane-damaged housing

 

because it was planned prior to the hurricane.

I am glad I no longer live in the New Brunswick area. There was a lot of corruption during the years when the city's "redevelopment" started, and I saw good businesses and good neighborhoods destroyed in the process. Obviously the corruption remains ongoing.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:54 PM

5. Yep, it had nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy and everything to do with...

Hurricane Sandy being used as a slush fund, imo.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:56 PM

6. Having some experience with real estate I'll tell you what I think happened. The plan was to build

the apartment complex. When the storm hit, Christie or the developers realized federal funds would be available. They started reviewing how they could help their buddies, and/or extort campaign donations. Realizing public money would be available for a project with low income housing, they changed some of those apartments to "low income" to qualify. Christie signed off on it, no problem. The important thing is that the developer makes more from the government than he loses by reducing the rents/sales price.

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Response to okaawhatever (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:04 PM

8. It could be crappier than that...

It's possible that the price of the original deal to develop already included a percentage of affordable housing. Most large projects in NJ include a deal for AH. Most of the units go to relatives of local pols. They put them on waiting lists from day one.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 08:57 PM

7. 'Only 48 of the 238 apartment units in the New Brunswick apartment building......

will be classified as affordable housing' how clever.

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:52 PM

16. J&J pretty much owns and operates New Brunswick, and has for decades

 

Last edited Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:02 PM - Edit history (1)

The other major players in the city are the Middlesex County government and Rutgers U, but both usually go along with what J&J wants.

I tangled with J&J many a time as a newspaper reporter. Sometimes I think all the lawsuits about Tylenol and a number of their other products are the result of the corporation's bad karma coming back and biting it in the butt.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:13 PM

10. Politics ain't beanbag.

In Christie's case, it's a bag of cash.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:16 PM

11. I don't understand why Cong.Darell Issa has not already called a

congressional hearing to review use of Sandy funds.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #11)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:32 PM

12. Benghazi, no time, Benghazi . . .

 

Obamacare scandal, no time, Benghazi, can't talk now, Gates book accusations, maybe later, Benghazi . . .

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:36 PM

13. Did the mayor of New Brunswick endorse Christie?

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Response to George II (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:40 PM

14. My, my.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Chris-Christie-Sandy-Aid-Questions-New-Apartment-Tower-Untouched-Storm-242872821.html


Why yes. The Democratic mayor did indeed endorse Crispy.


ETA: And this explains an endorsement I thought was really odd at the time -

Another endorsement secured by Christie came from former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. He has invested with Boraie on other real estate projects.

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Response to DURHAM D (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:57 PM

18. Not sure if Cahill endorsed Christie

 

Last edited Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:19 PM - Edit history (1)

I did a search; unable to come up with an answer.

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Response to George II (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:00 PM

19. It is as yet unclear whether the Mayor, James Cahill endorsed Christie BUT...

Christie did gain a high profile endorsement after the project was given Sandy money:

"Another endorsement secured by Christie came from former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. He has invested with Boraie on other real estate projects.

Five months after the HMFA approved the Boraie application for Sandy funds, O'Neal appeared in a commercial endorsing Christie.

snip

Representatives for O'Neal did not respond to the I-Team's request for comment. Calls to Boraie Development were not returned. It is unclear if O'Neal has invested directly in the New Brunswick apartment tower."

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Chris-Christie-Sandy-Aid-Questions-New-Apartment-Tower-Untouched-Storm-242872821.html



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Response to Spazito (Reply #19)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:53 PM

21. I wonder, is this Cahill related to the republican governor William Cahill of the '70s?

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Response to George II (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:01 PM

24. Dunno, but he's the cousin of former New Brunswick mayor John Lynch

 

who was also a state senator and did a prison stretch for fraud not too long ago.

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Response to George II (Reply #21)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:06 PM

26. I can't find anything so far that indicates either way...

it is interesting given they the same last name and William Cahill was the governor of New Jersey at one time.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 09:51 PM

15. Nothing smells better then:

small government (according to the GOPeersTeaeers)

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Response to El Shaman (Reply #15)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:55 PM

22. Well, after 20 years of eating prison food, I'd guess Christie will be smaller!

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:43 PM

20. I read 6 million for the apartments and 4.8 for

all of Hoboken.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 10:58 PM

23. Sounds like TIF money in Chicago. It's supposed to go for community development

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:03 PM

25. This Is A Little Complicated....

but trust me, at the end it still stinks. The first chunk of money that came from the Federal government for Sandy relief required an "Action Plan" on how the money was going to be spent. Along with all the expensive shore mansions in places like Mantaloking, there were a lot of very affordable homes in places like Union Beach and Keansburg that were trashed as well as many rental units. Christie's first version of the action plan contained no provisions for rebuilding affordable units. This was contrary to HUD policy. NJ's own current affordable housing laws have been in limbo since Christie took office and basically eliminated the Council on Affordable Housing. Its also part of the reason why we only have 5 Supreme Court justices right now, but that is a story for another day.

Christie was forced, after a law suit was immediately filed by affordable housing advocates in the state, to re-work his action plan and put in some rhetoric about building affordable units. Rather than actually build new units, he has re-purposed Sandy money to currently planned developments, like this one and one in Belleville. It did nothing to foster Sandy recovery and nothing to replace the affordable housing destroyed by Sandy. This is bad on so many fronts. It is perversion of the Sandy money by not using for its intended purpose and pay-offs in the form of enabling pet projects to go forward.

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Response to Laxman (Reply #25)

Fri Jan 31, 2014, 11:07 PM

27. You raise good points

 

The politicians love doing stuff like this because after the project is built, how can that money be recovered? It can't, and the structure remains.

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Response to Laxman (Reply #25)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 02:49 AM

28. +1

Great explanation. Thanks.

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Sat Feb 1, 2014, 05:32 PM

29. KICK~!

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Response to LiberalEsto (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 02:49 PM

30. "It’s a small world"

 

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/02/the_auditor_sweeney_clamps_down_on_gwb_scandal_press_appearances.html
It’s a small world
You may have come across the name Anthony Marchetta recently.

Marchetta, executive director of the state Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, was quoted in The Star-Ledger defending the Christie administration’s distribution of Sandy aid to a project that was touted as a way to help seniors remain in Belleville, which suffered relatively little damage.

But The Auditor only recently learned about Marchetta’s connection to the Christie administration. As it turns out, he’s the father of Mary O’Dowd, the state’s health commissioner, who’s married to Kevin O’Dowd, the governor’s chief of staff turned nominee for attorney general.


In the comments below the article:
Please add to the politically connected Marchetta family, Anthony Marchetta's son Russell. The city of New Brunswick's spokeman where 4.8 million Sandy dollars were steered into a town that suffered less damage than Belleville. Hmmmmm.....


$4.8 million in Sandy relief funds went to help build New Brunswick apartment complex
http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/01/48_million_in_sandy_relief_funds_went_to_new_brunswick_apartment_complex.html
Only 48 of the 238 apartment units in the New Brunswick apartment building will be classified as affordable housing, the report said. The building will have 8,000 square feet of retail space, a parking deck and a fitness center, the developer, a firm called Boraie, told NBC.

Furthermore, New Brunswick suffered relatively little damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy, the report said. A Rutgers University study ranked New Brunswick 188th on a list of communities that suffered the most damage from Sandy.


$4.8 mil is conveniently just below the $5 mil cutoff for legal monitoring for the justification of Sandy funds.

This also smells bad and should be added to the list of scrutinizing the use of Sandy funds.

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Response to cleduc (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 03:36 PM

31. Family ties

 

Very interesting, thanks for posting this!

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