Monday, April 19, 2021

Galvan Responds

At the informal meeting of the Common Council last Monday, a resolution was introduced which sought to make recommendations to the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) regarding the applications for PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) for the two buildings being proposed by the Galvan Foundation for North Seventh Street, the area of the city that has been dubbed the "Depot District."

The resolution, which was written by aldermen John Rosenthal (Fourth Ward) and Jane Trombley (First Ward), makes two specific recommendations:
  1. The Common Council encourages the IDA to decline the application for a PILOT tax abatement for the market rate rental housing development proposed for 708 State Street, Hudson, NY.
  2. The Common Council agrees with the PILOT tax abatement for the mixed-use rental housing development and encourages the IDA to stipulate that there will be NO involvement from Galvan Partners LLC, or any other for-profit subsidiary associated with any member of the Galvan Foundation, for any building management or construction management of either of the proposed building properties.
The resolution and the discussion that ensued compelled Dan Hubbell, one of the attorneys employed by Galvan on this project, to send a letter on Friday to Council president Tom DePietro, copying all the aldermen as well as Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council. The letter, which can be read in its entirety here, maintains that the resolution "personally (and falsely) attacks the Foundation and affiliated entities led by principals T. Eric Galloway and the late Henry van Ameringen" and makes reference to "additional false and defamatory accusations against Mr. Galloway and the Foundation" during the discussion at the informal meeting. At one point, the letter seems to intimate that opposition to the Galvan proposal for the Depot District may be racially motivated. The following is quoted from the letter:
The Foundation understands that certain members of the Council may personally oppose the Projects, which are intended to provide affordable housing to the lower- and middle-income populations of Hudson. It is profoundly disappointing, however, that these members' attempts to shut down the Projects come in the form of false personal attacks against Mr. Galloway. It is impossible to ignore that the only private individual that these Common Council members have ever attacked in this way happens to be a successful black man proposing affordable housing.
The letter goes on for six pages, citing the paragraphs in the resolution considered to be "nothing more than a defamatory and unfounded personal attack on the Foundation and Mr. Galloway" and asserting that "Mr. Galloway [has] never received any salary, profit, income, or other financial benefit from Galvan Partners, the Foundation, or any subsidiary or affiliated entity of the Foundation." The letter denies that the acquisition of property by Galloway and his various LLCs has had a "negative impact on housing affordability" in Hudson and catalogs the projects they have completed and the affordable units that were preserved when they took over Housing Resources of Columbia County. The letter claims that the aldermen who expressed opposition to the project are in violation of Section 20-1 of the city code--the Code of Ethics adopted by the Council in 1998. It also takes certain aldermen to task for opposing granting a 25-year PILOT to the proposed market rate building, when the Council "did not voice any objection to a recently approved PILOT Agreement for a market rate lodging development." (The reference is to the hotel to be developed at 620 Union Street.)

The entire letter can be read here.


  1. Yup, all those of us skeptical and critical of Galvan are racists and we target them because we can't bear the thought of a black man developing our city.
    With your back against a wall, it's interesting what comes out of one's mouth. This is so pathetic, but not at all surprising coming from a Galvan employee. They are desperate and acting so. It's also embarrassing.

  2. I read this 7 page letter and it is COLASSAL hypocrisy at a very high billable rate I'm sure.

  3. It just seems like it would be so much easier and aligned with the various Galvan venture's interests and stated goals to just get the properties they own renovated and producing rental income or sold at a profit.

    That would generate more housing for those who need it, preserve historic structures, make it easier to seek approval and PILOT for the Depot District Project and generate revenue instead of letting their assets crumble.

    It seems like that would be a win for everyone with literally no downside as far as I can see. It would require access to capital and project management expertise, but Galvan has these in abundance at least on paper.

    I just don't have a framework that makes any sense with which to understand Galvan's decision making, which makes me think I'm missing something fundamental.

  4. On the other hand, I agree with the letter writer in so far as that resolutions like this are unwise and a bad way to do public policy.

    A vacant building tax or fines for derelict buildings might be a more sensible approach and a worthwhile idea regardless of how one might feel about the Galvan Foundation.

  5. Years back, wasn't there a blog post linked here from a person who had been a tenant of Galloway's NYC-based low-income housing company? I seem to recall it was a scathing and eye-opening.

    1. Indeed there was. It was written by Victor Mendolia, who still lives in Hudson and is now in real estate.

    2. That was nine years ago. The links to all six parts of that series, called "My Time as Eric Galloway's Tenant," can be found here:

  6. "Took over" Housing Resources of Columbia County is so completely accurate on so many levels.


  7. What a stretch. How transparent and weak the race card is here. This is about the ongoing boondoggles generated by Galvan's ever iteration. The council was right in their move. I'm surprised that they even had the gumption to do it, since everyone seems to allow Galvan to ride roughshod over them to accomplish whatever it is he is trying to pull at any given time.

  8. To me, this letter comes across as an attempt to force a gag order of sorts on elected officials who are speaking as representatives of the constituents they were elected to serve -- constituents who are not happy with Galvan. For Galvan's attorney to throw out the outrageous accusation on page one of the letter that Mr. Galloway is somehow being targeted because he is a "successful black man proposing affordable housing" is disingenuous at best. The resolution focuses on the Galvan Foundation and Galvan Partners, LLC, with one mention of Mr. Galloway and a potential conflict of interest as a principal in both the nonprofit entity and the for-profit construction management entity. The reference to Mr. Galloway as a black man fuels the flames of an already raging racial fire happening around the country, especially this week as we all await with bated breath the outcome of the Chauvin trial.  

    To be fair, the various Galvan entities have done some good work in Hudson. They've provided funding for several great programs, and the library is certainly an incredible asset to the community. I applaud those accomplishments, and thank Galvan on behalf of our community for their contributions. The renovation of the old armory to our now magnificent library did not come without sacrifice from the City though. Galvan was awarded a Community Development Block Grant - one that has a capped aggregate annual application limit per municipality - in the early years of the library project.  Instead of complying with the rigorous requirements of the grant, they later rejected the funds. This represented hundreds of thousands of dollars that instead could've been pursued by the City that year to fund any number of critical projects (e.g. infrastructure improvements).    

    As I read further through the letter from Galvan's attorney, I am struck by the assertion that Mr. Galloway has in no way been compensated by his entities.  While he may not have received a paycheck, there are undoubtedly significant personal tax benefits that have been recognized.  

    While the records may not be completely up to date, I just counted 83 properties on the tax rolls in Hudson owned by Galvan entities, 15 of which are exempt.  Of these 80 or so properties, how many units sit warehoused? This is simple economics: when you remove a significant percentage of units from available inventory, demand increases, which drives up prices (this has only been compounded by people fleeing crowded cities in Covid times).  In my opinion, this sounds like Galvan is offering solutions to a problem they created by hoarding properties and shelving units; solutions from which Mr. Galloway will, through his nonprofit entities, see a significant personal tax benefit (just another form of compensation, no?).

    Instead of going after the Council members for their comments, perhaps a better way of counteracting the public's negative opinion would be for Galvan to provide a detailed list of the properties they own, how many units were in each property when purchased, how many units have been renovated and returned to the rental market (noting any increase or decrease in number of units post-rehab), how many original units - not buildings - purchased that still sit empty, and what the timeline is for getting those empty units rentable (again, noting any anticipated increase or decrease in units post-rehab).

    1. Very well stated Tiffany, Thank you!

    2. Amen to Tiffany Martin's letter and her key point that Galvan wields control over pricing by creating scarce inventory and a "crisis" . As long as those 83 buildings remain uninhabited, annual costs like taxes and insurance are quite low. Maybe it actually is cost effective to remove them from inventory to support Galvan's preferred income stream: "the industry of poverty", it certainly intensifies the need for "affordable housing." Galvan creates the crisis and then comes to the rescue reaping windfall profits. Outrageous!

  9. Very well presented Tiffany. This attempt to intimidate the CC, and individual members,should remove any doubt about whether this foundation is a reliable partner. Anyone who disagrees with them or asks questions will be threatened.

  10. Galvan is a savvy capitalist investing in "affordable housing" mostly funded by low cost state and federal loans, first to build, and then upon federal rent subsidies to guarantee cash flow on the properties built.

    Further, he makes sure that the "pilots" are at about 10 % of what normal taxpayers are trapped into paying, making these properties even more "profitable" while declaring them foundation based. You get to pay more while he skirts those pesky tax obligations.

    In America, this is called the Industry of Poverty --it is really profitable and a growing field.