Brooklyn’s sprawling Starrett City, the largest federally subsidized housing development in the nation, is being sold for more than $850 – $14 million of which will go into the pocket of the president of the United States, The New York Times reports.
The sale of the complex overlooking Jamaica Bay must be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and state housing officials, raising potential conflicts of interest for the president and his family. Donald Trump owns a 4 percent stake in the complex, according to his federal financial disclosure forms; other members of the Trump family also own stakes in the partnership.
The potential conflict of interest has caught the eyes of U.S. Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes Starrett City, and Elijah E. Cummings, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “The president is on both sides of the negotiation – he oversees the government entity providing taxpayer funds and he pockets some of that money himself,” the congressmen wrote in a July 7 letter to the Donald J. Trump Trust, which holds the president’s business interests, and HUD secretary Ben Carson, an avowed foe of government-subsidized housing.
Carol Deane, the managing partner for the sellers, Starrett City Associates, said that the sales agreement “provides stability for our residents, and guarantees their apartments will remain affordable for many years to come.” Under previous agreements with the state and federal governments, the owner of Starrett City is locked into rent-regulated housing programs for at least another 22 years.
The buyer is a joint venture of the Brooksville Company, a recently formed residential real estate firm, and Rockpoint Group, a private equity firm that invests in real estate. Andrew MacArthur, the founder of Brooksville, said that he and Rockpoint were “committed to preserving the original vision of the complex as stable, quality affordable housing.”
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