Velázquez Blasts Opponent Gjonaj for Housing Lawsuit Election Ploy

Velázquez Blasts Opponent Gjonaj for Housing Lawsuit Election Ploy

Community Board member and Democratic Council candidate warns of efforts by Bronx Assemblyman to cloud troubling real estate ties with pandering supportive housing lawsuit

THE BRONX, N.Y. – Mark Gjonaj’s housing lawsuit is nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to get votes right before the election, and distract from his deep ties to the real estate industry and anti-tenant record as a legislator. This is the same tactic he used at Tracey Towers during his first election, and that ended in a 61% rent hike for tenants already struggling to make ends meet. I have no doubt that this latest ploy by my opponent will do little to solve any real housing problems, and will likely harm our East Bronx communities in the long run.

For too long, the Bronx has seen more than its fair share of city programs placed without community input but filing a last-minute lawsuit before election day isn’t the way to solve the problem. While Gjonaj is concerned with the whole Bronx’s share of these programs, his ill-conceived lawsuit opens a Pandora’s box that would likely lead to our East Bronx communities getting more supportive housing facilities, with other areas in the Bronx set to lose some of these facilities. This could lead to a development bonanza for Gjonaj’s real estate landlord and developer donors at our communities’ expense.

Gjonaj is a big landlord and developer who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from the real estate industry, including from notorious homeless shelter provider Mark Stagg, who recently constructed a building at 1680 Pelham Parkway that could quickly be converted into homeless housing, and Michael D’Alessio, who owns 2800 Bruckner Blvd that is another rumored homeless shelter, supportive housing site, or detox center.

Unlike my opponent, I am not motivated by large donations from real estate industry leaders, but rather by the desire to improve our community and protect our quality of life. This is what I have fought for during the 2800 Bruckner Blvd. controversy. As our next City Council Member, I will tirelessly fight against any supportive housing or homeless shelters in our community, rather than file risky lawsuits that may harm our neighborhood.

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