Westchester housing settlement: Justice Department files papers in county’s case over $7.4 million in grants

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The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York filed papers in federal court Friday opposing Westchester County’s effort to stop the government from reallocating $7.4 million in community development grants from 2011.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has said it will send the money to other communities some time over the summer if the county does not submit an acceptable analysis of zoning that could block housing choices by minorities. The analysis is required by the 2009 fair housing settlement between the government and the county as well as federal law governing the grants, including Community Development Block Grants.

The county went to court to stop the reallocation in April. Judge Denise Cote, who oversees the settlement agreement, declined to grant a temporary stay and the court filings are due over the next couple of weeks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Kennedy argued the county is trying to reopen a fight that was settled by a magistrate judge in late 2011. The monitor overseeing the case and then the magistrate judge ruled that the language of the settlement gives HUD the discretion to decide if the analysis of impediments, which includes the zoning analysis, is acceptable. The county didn’t appeal. Kennedy also argues federal law gives HUD discretion to decide when the county’s analysis is acceptable.

“In essence, the County is asking the Court to compel a federal agency to award grant money to a county with a well-documented history of noncompliance with grant conditions — absent any assurances that the county will comply in the future,” Kennedy wrote.

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5 Comments

  1. Jackson Davies on

    Astorino: Because of your arrogance (and lies) localities in Westchester will now lose millions of planned and needed improvements that will now increase local taxes to complete. Bad policy by Astorino for sure !

  2. Better Westchester on

    County Executive Astorino’s total disregard for the settlement decision and his absolute defiance to ignore the FEDERAL government, is not only going to lose the money EVERY district in Westchester County needs, but will end up raising taxes to pay all the fines which will be incurred. Or will there just be hundreds more layoffs to offset the penalties.

  3. RealityCheck on

    When a county executive is so obstinate and refused to work with the federal government agency, to the point where millions of dollars can be lost, is just another example of how the current administrations deals with anyone who is in there way. It is just a foolish approach. Is this just the beginning for the 2014 budged cries of woo!! Bottom line, this is just poor management! Remember November folks!

  4. Move on! Admit that you cannot fight with the Feds and move on! This was a Andy Spano mess that was inherited by Rob Astorino. Move on! Westchester and the taxpayers are now stuck with it. Move on! Do not cast Westchester County in the same mold as Yonkers in their desegregation case which cost Yonkers taxpayers millions. Move on! When you take Federal money there is ALWAYS strings attached. Deal with it and move on!

  5. I am of the Opnion that The “Westchester County” is at as much Federal Default as much as any County or State that has ” failed to satisfy and demonstrate” not just this “Hud” or “Equal Housing Opportunities” for the less affluent Inhabitants of The United State. . . ( Particularly forThe Black Americans) lest The Currently Fashionable English Language Usag√© of African-Americans!

    Herewithstanding and Whereas ” any Legal Entities Comprising of or within The Definitions of ( Person ) has failed the Burden of Proofing what have they done to assimilate the ” diversities ” into the Union?

    HABIBHASAN- An American Storyteller
    Lords Year of 2013.
    The United States of America.