Luna Park co-op loses $500K in taxpayer funds amid bribery scandal
A Brooklyn councilmember pulled $500,000 in funding from the Luna Park Housing Corporation days after the women in charge of the Coney Island affordable housing complex were arrested for allegedly accepting bribes to fudge the co-op’s waitlist, the Brooklyn Eagle has learned.
Councilmember Chaim Deutsch provided the half-million dollars to Luna Park in 2018 for security upgrades to doors after someone was raped in the stairwell of one of the buildings in late 2015. He then withdrew the funds after Anna Treybich, the former president of the co-op board, along with former board member Irina Seltser and former office manager Karina Andriyan, was arrested on May 21 for allegedly accepting $874,000 in bribes to help unqualified applicants land apartments at the highly sought-after development.
“Nothing was spent yet. So since the funding will be flagged, I’m pulling it out and reallocating it to other projects,” Deutsch told the Eagle.
Deutsch said that the request for funding did not come from Treybich specifically.
“They have a co-op board. I don’t know exactly how it works. All I know is I allocated $500,000 for security upgrades for doors,” he said.
Deutsch disbursed the unspent money to three separate projects. He gave just over half to fund a media studio at W.A. Cunningham I.S. 234. He gave $36,000 to the NYPD’s mounted unit — police who patrol the city on horseback. The rest went to funding an art-and-therapy wing at the Auditory Oral School of New York.
At some point, Deutsch said, he would like to see funding for the security upgrades he originally supported at Luna Park.
“It’s definitely important. It needs to get done. And that’s a conversation I’m going to be having with [the Department of Housing Preservation and Development],” the councilmember told the Eagle.
The Luna Park co-op, which houses about 6,000 people, is a Mitchell-Lama development. Mitchell-Lama buildings — affordable co-ops for moderate and middle-income families — have notoriously long wait-lists with some families waiting decades to secure the coveted apartments.
At Luna Park, however, Treybich, Seltser and Andriyan allegedly helped applicants shoot up the waitlist by forging birth and marriage certificates in exchange for bribes between $10,000 and $120,000.
The district attorney’s investigation is ongoing.
Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez believes that there are more people currently living in Luna Park apartments who got their co-ops through bribes.
A City Council source told the Eagle that more arrests are expected soon.
When the Eagle asked Gonzalez if he expected more arrests, he said, “Stay tuned.”
Follow reporter Noah Goldberg on Twitter.
Leave a Comment
Leave a Comment