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December 18, 2009

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz purchases $1.45 million home in Windsor Terrace

NY Daily News
by Erin Einhorn and Erin Durkin

Lifelong tenant Marty Markowitz is trading his Park Slope rental for a home of his own - a two-story, three-bedroom brick house in Windsor Terrace.

The borough president and his wife, Jamie, dropped $1.45million on the new house - a semidetached home nestled on a tree-lined street a block from Prospect Park - on Nov. 30 with a $417,000 mortgage.

"I've always been a tenant, all my life. This is the first time I'm a property owner," Markowitz said.

Ah, the irony! As the Empire State Development Corporation and Forest City Ratner get ready to seize the properties of the remaining homeowners in the footprint of the Atlantic Yards project — for which Markowitz has played chief cheerleader for the past six years — Markowitz himself is becoming a first-time homeowner.

Markowitz wouldn't give details about the purchase, initially refusing to say where he got the money for his $1 million-plus down payment.

Later, an aide said about $750,000 of the down payment came from the sale of a Manhattan Beach home his wife inherited from her parents when they died.

The rest came from savings and from a settlement paid to Markowitz in a slip-and-fall case [NLG: Say what?!], his spokesman Mark Zustovich said.

Still, the sale comes with controversy.

Markowitz used his chief of staff, Carlo Scissura, as a lawyer for the property deal. City law says city lawyers can't represent their public official bosses in private legal matters.

Markowitz initially denied Scissura was involved. "I do not believe he was the attorney of record," he said.

When the Daily News noted that Scissura is listed as the lawyer in property records, Zustovich argued that the law applies only to lawyers working for the city as attorneys, not as chiefs of staff.


Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, When Markowitz played poor at the affordable housing information session, he and his wife had a down payment in hand

But the purchase, and the funds behind it, also undermine one very conspicuous "man of the people" claim Markowitz made in the midst of the Atlantic Yards debate.

At a 7/11/06 affordable housing information session sponsored by Forest City Ratner, Markowitz declared, as I reported, that “this is an exciting time to live in Brooklyn,” but, regarding new developments, “Sadly, almost all are beyond our reach—yours and mine.”

I noted that Markowitz earned $135,000, and eats a lot of free meals.

Now the Daily News tells us that about $750,000 of the down payment for the $1.45 million house came from the sale of a Manhattan Beach home Markowitz's wife Jamie Snow inherited from her parents.

And a check of records suggests that Markowitz and Snow had that money in hand when the BP appeared at that affordable housing information session.

Snow's mother died on 7/7/04. The family house was sold on 2/7/05 for $1.4 million, with Jamie Snow Markowitz, her brother, and her mother's estate listed as the sellers. The affordable housing information session came 17 months later.

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, BEEP Markowitz's New Home Is Blighted

Congratulations to the BEEP on his new home!

There is only one problem. It seems to be underutlized. It also looks like there are a few sidewalk cracks, and we can't be sure but that bush looks more like a big patch of weeds. And it looks like the mortar is cracking in some spots.

In other words, we're sorry to inform the Borough President that his new home is blighted and must be taken by eminent domain. Because, it really could serve a better purpose than housing him and his wife.

Them's the breaks.

Posted by eric at December 18, 2009 12:29 AM