Tenants take issue with price hikes at the Amalgamated


A small group of tenants testified against a proposal to raise rents at the Amalgamated Housing Cooperative last week, but the co-op’s board of directors argues that the increase is necessary to help pay for capital improvements

At the March 6 hearing, hosted by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal at Amalgamated’s Vladeck Hall, nine tenants spoke against raising rent by $14 per room. Rent at the Amalgamated, including utilities, now costs $196.56 per room. The group, informally led by cooperator Jay Hauben, argues the Amalgamated can avoid a rent increase by taking out a 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year one the co-op board is currently preparing to sign on to. 

Mr. Hauben argues that a rent increase would make the Amalgamated unaffordable and that the plan would force current tenants to pay for improvements that will benefit future tenants. 

Ed Yaker, president of the Amalgamated co-op board, argued the opposite, saying this plan will “preserve the Amalgamated as affordable housing for the long term, not just the next year or two.”

Mr. Yaker and general manager Charles Zsebedics said a physical needs assessment completed by an architect had determined that capital improvements were necessary. 

The assessment said the parking garage is in desperate need of renovation and that the 41-year-old balconies have outlived their life expectancy and are now in need of major repairs.

Mr. Yaker said the Amalgamated should not have let conditions deteriorate to the extent that they have. 

“We have never had the courage to raise the money we needed to maintain our physical property and that’s why we have the kind of needs we have today,” Mr. Yaker said.

DHCR is expected to make a determination on the rent increase in the coming weeks. The agency, which oversees the Amalgamated because it is a limited-equity housing cooperative, can approve the increase or amend it as it sees fit. DHCR will likely approve some increase. It determined in a budget projection for 2013 that the Amalgamated is operating at a deficit, a point many cooperators challenged.

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“We have never had the courage to raise the money we needed to maintain our physical property and that’s why we have the kind of needs we have today,” Mr. Yaker said.

Ed Yaker is quite clever with his manipulation of fact through the use of word play. Yaker is implying the "we" are a bunch of sissies who couldnt bear to raise the rent. Not true. Yaker had the chutzpah to sign a multi-million dollar countract for an elevator modernization project that benefit few and impressed even fewer. The elevators are just as slow and just as fallible as they were before...but they shole nuff are purdy to look at. Yiggy makes sure he blows through precious coop resources on his propaganda machine i.e. The Amalgamated Education Office. One of the employees in the education office was recently relieved of her Amalgamated/Costco American Express card which was being used to purchase big ticket items for herself and her family members. The "Soul of the Coop" is really just a front for Yakers dirty work. Over 5 million on an elevator facelift...meanwhile, the buildings are falling apart. Nice.

Courage? Only a bunch of cowards would steal from working class moderate income families...but it happens. I would bet Yiggy's house in Vermont someone has been siphoning money from the Coop. It would take a small army of dedicated forensic accountants to find the fraud, but, it can be done. Start with the AM&G Waterproofing Co. contract. You might also want to go back a couple of decades to figure out when the Coop decided to STOP maintaining the property with the maintenance collected from shareholders and renters. Perhaps when it was decided the Coop would no longer be largely homogenous? A decision was made to stop maintaining the property in order to push all repairs on "future" tenants...which now consists of a nice mix of folks as a opposed to one religious group.

Yaker better try harder than claiming he's just a wittle ol putty tat...the guy is craftier than Velveeta Cheese.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013