Tom Casey's account of the deliberations of the Common Council Legal Committee over the Galvan Initiatives Foundation's Civic Hudson proposal is in today's Register-Star: "Much ado about police/court plan." Toward the end of the discussion, committee chair John Friedman (Third Ward) suggested that "financial due diligence should go both ways," saying that the City needed to vet the Lantern Organization, Eric Galloway's not-for-profit which it seems would own the building and operate the two low-income residential floors, to determine Lantern's financial fitness. This prompted Mark Greenberg, attorney for Eric Galloway, to ask, "If Carnegie, Ford, or Marina Abramovich came in, would you be hammering them about their financials?"
On the topic of the Lantern Organization, David Marston (First Ward) reported that his research had revealed that Lantern operated eleven supportive housing buildings in New York City, each of which had an average of twenty-six building code violations.
The discussion at last night's meeting clarified what the City is getting from Galvan/Lantern in this scheme: "a white box with partitions and plumbing and heating." The City will be responsible for financing all the interior finishes and equipment. The "indenture agreement" between the City and Galvan/Lantern will be either a triple net lease or a condominium agreement. In either case, the City would be responsible for maintenance costs. Friedman made the point that $100,000 a year for thirty years, which is being touted as the only cost to the City, "is not everything."
With the exception of Marston, all the members of the Legal Committee present--Friedman, Cappy Pierro (Fifth Ward), Don Moore (Council president)--seem to think the plan is a creative way--and perhaps the only way--to achieve what Friedman said would otherwise be an "unreachable goal." Friedman, Moore, and Marston agreed, however, that things were moving too fast. The debate at tonight's special meeting of the full Council will likely be whether the Council should pass a resolution of suppport for the project or adopt a memorandum of understanding. One or the other is needed to strengthen Galvan/Lantern's application for funding, which must be submitted by April 1. Tonight's special meeting begins at 6 p.m.