Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Representing the 8th District of New York

Rep. Jeffries, Borough President Adams Address Potential Starrett City Sale and Donald Trump's Role as Part Owner

Sep 11, 2017
Press Release

BROOKLYN, NY –  On Sunday, September 10 at 2:00 pm, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a member of House Democratic leadership whose district includes Starrett City, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Roxanne Persaud, District Leader Nikki Lucas and residents discussed the potential sale of Starrett City.  As the largest federally-subsidized housing development in the nation, residents and Brooklynites are alarmed at the prospect that a sale could unfairly benefit President Trump and result in a significant loss of affordable housing at a time when gentrification sweeps through Brooklyn.

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 has offered $850 million for the development.  Starrett City is currently under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and New York State Homes and Community Renewal that require apartments to remain affordable and under current rent restrictions until 2039.  Both HUD and the State will have to approve the sale.  

Residents of Starrett City and elected officials gathered to make clear that in order to obtain any meaningful community support, several conditions must be met.  First, the existing 30-year affordability agreement must be enforced.  Second, the potential buyer must demonstrate a track record of maintaining affordable properties with the dignity and respect that the residents deserve.  Third, things must get better for the residents of Starrett City if a change in ownership takes place.

Rep. Jeffries said: “Starrett City is home to thousands of working families and senior citizens, many of whom have lived in the development for decades.  These residents deserve to live in housing that is safe, clean and affordable.  Once again the residents are forced to confront a cloud of uncertainty about the future as a result of the possible sale.  We will not allow the residents of Starrett City to be pushed out.  We will not allow the gentrification steamroller to run over East New York.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said: “Starrett City has been the anchor of the East New York community, a stable place for hard-working, middle-class New Yorkers to raise healthy children and families.  The call is for the affordability of this development to be maintained and extended. We are only as powerful as these residents, so we need to knock on every door and organize.”

New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud said: “The residents of Starrett City must have a seat at the table.  We will hold everyone accountable to what is in the best interest of the residents. We intend to hold the potential buyer to these standards.”

District Leader Nikki Lucas said: “This is one fight for everyone.  It is for our seniors and youth that call this place home, for the small businesses in the area, tenants that receive subsidies, those that pay fair market values and for the employees at Starrett City.  This is about affordability as a bigger picture.”  

Donald Trump is part owner of Starrett City.  He also appoints the high ranking officials at the Department of Housing & Urban Development who have the power to decide whether to approve the sale.

Rep. Jeffries concluded: “Donald Trump is on both sides of this transaction, which is unfair, unethical and unacceptable. He must recuse himself.  All political appointees at the Department of Housing & Urban Development must recuse themselves.  The proposed change in ownership must be evaluated on the merits, based solely on what is in the best interest of the residents of Starrett City. Nothing more, nothing less.”

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is a member of House Democratic Leadership and the Judiciary Committee. He represents the 8th Congressional district, including Starrett City, in the House of Representatives