Crown Heights

East Flatbush housing complex residents say they face eviction because of board misspending

March 27, 2019 Paul Frangipane
Harry Silver Co Inc. shareholder Marcella Coma holds a sign protesting Unella Perry at the Community Board 9 general meeting on March 26. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane

Shareholders of an East Flatbush affordable housing development protested a Community Board 9 member at the group’s Tuesday meeting, charging her with conflict of interest and misappropriation of funds.

“Collusion,” shareholders of Harry Silver Housing Co. yelled at Unella Rhone-Perry during the CB9 general meeting at Medgar Evers College. The protesters see Rhone-Perry’s role as chairperson of the community board’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) committee as a conflict of interest with her position as president of Harry Silver Housing Co.

They also accused Rhone-Perry and the board at Harry Silver of misappropriating funds from loans meant to go toward maintenance for the building.

Harry Silver Co Inc. shareholder Leslie Jules protests alleged misappropriation of funds from the Harry Silver board and its president Unella Rhone-Perry. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
Harry Silver Co Inc. shareholder Leslie Jules protests alleged misappropriation of funds from the Harry Silver board and its president Unella Rhone-Perry. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane

“Unella Perry came along into the community, she has destroyed and caused dissension, she has taken loans and used it not allocating the money accordingly to Harry Silver,” said shareholder Marcella Coma. “This woman right here,” Coma said pointing to Rhone-Perry, “she has to go.”

Harry Silver Housing Co. is a Mitchell-Lama housing development at 828 Midwood St. at the border of Crown Heights and East Flatbush. It is supervised by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

The shareholders of the low-to-middle-income development alleged in a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court that Rhone-Perry and the Harry Silver Housing board took out an $8 million loan in 2015 attributed to repairs for the decrepit building and failed to perform maintenance.

The Harry Silver Housing board is now requesting a $12 million loan to cover the same costs and repairs, according to the shareholders.

Allyson Ledoux, a community board member who works alongside Rhone-Perry, supported allegations of misappropriated funds.

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“I can honestly tell you there’s misappropriation of our funds,” Ledoux said. “It’s being mismanaged totally, so it’s unfair for us to take another loan when the prior loan is supposed to do all the repairs that they are suggesting for the upcoming loans.”

Shareholders of Harry Silver Co held signs in protest in the audience at the Community Board 9 general meeting on March 26. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
Shareholders of Harry Silver Co held signs in protest in the audience at the Community Board 9 general meeting on March 26. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane

“There’s absolutely no misappropriation of any funds at any time,” Rhone-Perry told the Brooklyn Eagle. “The majority of shareholders are happy and this is what we go through. It’s like any family, you have people who have disagreements from time to time, I take it in my stride and just go with the flow looking at the big picture.”

Many of the residents who have lived in the housing complex for decades are facing eviction as loans increase the rents via maintenance fees, the shareholders said in a statement.

Of the $8 million loan from 2015, $2.8 million was spent to pay off the corporation’s previous loan, $700,000 was paid back to shareholders for money they were owed, and $700,000 went toward unpaid bills, according to Alex Freedman, vice president of the property’s management company Marion Scott Real Estate.

Freedman said the board did not feel comfortable spending the remaining $2.6 million on capital projects until there was a permanent loan in place. More than half of the proposed $12 million loan would then go toward capital improvements, Freedman said.

The court will have to determine if board members mismanaged funds from the 2015 loan.

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