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SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

COUNTY OF KINGS

REBIRTH OF BERGEN STREET BLOCK Index No. _________


ASSOCIATION; DEAN STREET BLOCK
ASSOCIATION; CONSUELA LAWLESS; IVY M. Hon. ____________
AGARD; OMAR BARNETT; JENNIFER CATTO;
LYNN CAVE; AUDRA JONES; ADI FLESHER;
ELIZABETH MANEJIAS; LISA JEAN MOORE;
SANDY TAGGART; CHARLES LEE; ALEX ROSS;
DEVON NOLA; REV. DR. BRONCO WILKES- PETITION
CROOKE; NORMAN CROOKE; CHARLES MOSS;
JOVANNI GOLSTON; JUANITA GOLSTON;
ANDREW HAYLES; MARCUS ROMAN; JESSICA
CRUZ; LESLIE GIST; TIMOTHEE LETOUZE;
TERESA BOWEN-SPENELLI; JEFFREY
LALLEMAND; DEBBIE BOWEN-SPENELLI;
MICHAEL RYAN; PAULA OVERBAY; and B. STAR
DAVIS,

Petitioners,

-against-

THE CITY OF NEW YORK (NYC); STEVEN


BANKS, Commissioner for the Department of Homeless
Services for NYC (DHS); CORE SERVICES GROUP,
INC., AND CSN PARTNERS LP; and XYZ CORP.;*

Respondents.

* XYZ Corp. is fictitious and unknown to Petitioners.


The entity being whomsoever is in contract with NYC.

Petitioners REBIRTH OF BERGEN STREET BLOCK ASSOCIATION; DEAN STREET

BLOCK ASSOCIATION; CONSUELA LAWLESS; IVY M. AGARD; OMAR BARNETT;

JENNIFER CATTO; LYNN CAVE; AUDRA JONES; ADI FLESHER; ELIZABETH

MANEJIAS; LISA JEAN MOORE; SANDY TAGGART; CHARLES LEE; ALEX ROSS;

DEVON NOLA; REV. DR. BRONCO WILKES-CROOKE; NORMAN CROOKE; CHARLES

MOSS; JOVANNI GOLSTON; JUANITA GOLSTON; ANDREW HAYLES; MARCUS


ROMAN; JESSICA CRUZ; LESLIE GIST; TIMOTHEE LETOUZE; TERESA BOWEN-

SPENELLI; JEFFREY LALLEMAND; DEBBIE BOWEN-SPENELLI; MICHAEL RYAN;

PAULA OVERBAY; and B. STAR DAVIS (the Petitioners) by and through their counsel

Jacqueline McMickens hereby respectfully allege and offer as and for their petition as follows:

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT

1. The Mayors Office campaigned on a Tale of Two Cities. That tale continues

in Crown Heights. It is the same old story. Seeking to avoid the vocal criticism of the affluent

and largely white citizenry of other neighborhoods, the City decides to follow the path of least

resistance and foist yet another homeless shelter on the citizens of the largely African-American

and West Indian community of Crown Heights. The citizens have had enough.

2. This proceeding, seeking a determination under Article 78 of the Civil Practice

Law and Rules (the CPLR) against the City Respondents and a preliminary and permanent

injunction against the Private Respondents, is necessitated because of all of the Respondents

failure to comply with multiple provisions of the City Charter and the Administrative Code,.

3. New York Citys Department of Homeless Services (DHS) seeks to install yet

another homeless shelter in Crown Heights which already has more than its fair share of shelters.

The Respondents are trying to do an end run around all of the protections established by the City

for this neighborhood (including Fair Share, SEQRA and CEQR and Land Use surveys) by

contracting with the Private Respondents.

4. With virtually no notice that this shelter was even contemplated, the City has

announced that the shelter is scheduled to open on March 22, 2017. The citizens of Crown

Heights seek this Courts intervention to prevent the City from acting in derogation of its

obligations under the law and without consultation of the citizens of Crown Heights.

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PETITIONERS

5. The REBIRTH OF BERGEN STREET BLOCK ASSOCIATION is an

unincorporated association of residents of the Crown Heights neighborhood.

6. The DEAN STREET BLOCK ASSOCIATION is an unincorporated association

of residents of the Crown Heights neighborhood.

7. CONSUELA LAWLESS is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living

at 1447 Dean Street.

8. IVY M. AGARD is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1378

Dean Street.

9. OMAR BARNETT is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights.

10. JENNIFER CATTO is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1369 Dean Street.

11. LYNN CAVE is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1349

Dean Street.

12. AUDRA JONES is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1075

Lincoln Place.

13. ADI FLESHER is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1213A

Bergen Street.

14. ELIZABETH MANEJIAS is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living

at 1315 Dean Street.

15. LISA JEAN MOORE is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1219 Bergen Street.

16. SANDY TAGGART is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

827 Prospect Place.

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17. CHARLES LEE is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 821-

823 Prospect Place

18. ALEX ROSS is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 835

Prospect Place.

19. DEVON NOLA is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 97

Brooklyn Avenue.

20. REV. DR. BRONCO WILKES-CROOKE is an individual and a resident of

Crown Heights living at 1201 Bergen Street.

21. NORMAN CROOKE is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1201 Bergen Street.

22. CHARLES MOSS is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1215

Bergen Street.

23. JOVANNI GOLSTON is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1195 Bergen Street.

24. JUANITA GOLSTON is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1195 Bergen Street.

25. ANDREW HAYLES is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1221 Bergen Street.

26. MARCUS ROMAN is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1181 Bergen Street.

27. JESSICA CRUZ is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1181

Bergen Street.

28. LESLIE GIST is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights.

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29. TIMOTHEE LETOUZE is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living

at 1315 Dean Street.

30. TERESA BOWEN-SPENELLI is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights.

31. JEFFREY LALLEMAND is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights.

32. DEBBIE BOWEN-SPENELLI is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights.

33. MICHAEL RYAN is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 825

Prospect Place.

34. PAULA OVERBAY is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at

1265 Bergen Street.

35. B. STAR DAVIS is an individual and a resident of Crown Heights living at 1205

Bergen Street.

PRIVATE RESPONDENTS

36. Respondent CORE SERVICES GROUP, INC. is a domestic corporation, with its

DOS Process Address at 45 Main Street, Suite 711, Brooklyn, New York 11201. Core Services

is an organization with a highly questionable track record in the provision of services, with its

principal offices located in the Dumbo Neighborhood in Brooklyn.

37. CSN PARTNERS LP is a domestic limited partnership with its DOS Process

Address at 116 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11205. Upon information and belief,

CSN Partners is affiliated with Core Services Group and was set up to purchase the property in

question without being directly associated with Core Services.

38. XYZ CORP. is the name of the unknown entity or entities facilitating the creating

the proposed Bergen Street Shelter.

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CITY RESPONDENTS

39. THE CITY OF NEW YORK (NYC) was and is a municipal corporation duly

organized and existing by virtue of the laws of the State of New York.

40. STEVEN BANKS is Commissioner for the Department of Homeless Services for

NYC (DHS). DHS is a mayoral agency of NYC responsible for enforcing and administering

provisions of the City Charter and the Administrative Code as they apply to the provision of

services for the homeless.

41. THE CITY OF NEW YORK (NYC) and STEVEN BANKS (collectively the

City Respondents) are officers of departments of the City of New York responsible for

supervising or administering the statutes, codes, and regulations governing the conversion

process or contracting with the Private Respondents for services.

BACKGROUND FACTS

The proposed facility would be located at 1173 Bergen Street, squarely in the middle of a

tree-lined residential community of row houses, churches, working families and school children.

The proposed facility is two blocks from the Brooklyn Childrens Museum. (Aff. Exh. A.)

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The proposed shelter is within the original Crown Heights North Historic District.

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(Aff. Exh. B.) The neighborhood residents are largely African-Americans, many of West Indian

descent. As set forth on the map set forth as Figure 8 to the City Council Fair Share Report (Aff.

Exh. C), this part of Brooklyn already supports far more than its fair share of such facilities.

Northern Crown Heights is home to an estimated 15 to 19 homeless shelters.

Within a three-mile radius, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant (CB8, CB3, and
CB9) are home to more homeless shelters than 11 Brooklyn districts combined.

Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant house 10 times the shelter beds the Mayors Park
Slope does:

o Crown Heights: 1,779


o Bedford-Stuyvesant: 1,527
o Park Slope: 331

Within a four block radius of two of the proposed shelter, the area already hosts:

The largest shelter for single men in the city, houses over 350 beds (the Bedford-Atlantic
Armory Men's Shelter), which according to the New York Times, has been notorious for
crime, loitering, and panhandling.

Another recently opened shelter on Nostrand and Atlantic Avenues

11 halfway-house and mental health facilities.

The disparity of the distribution of such facilities has further been illustrated in the City

Comptrollers Report of May 2013.

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(Aff. Ex. D). Completely ignoring its obligations under the law, the City of New York seeks to

squeeze one more such facility in the neighborhood.

42. For months the residents of the neighborhood have noticed construction at 1173

Bergen Street going on. Workers came in and out but despite efforts to obtain information

regarding the intended use of the facility, the City officials would provide no details and the

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neighborhoods elected representatives had not been informed of what was going on. The City

kept its plans secret.

43. In mid-February 2017, the City announced that it would be opening a homeless

shelter at the location, issued a fact sheet (Aff. Exh. F), and called a hastily scheduled meeting

for March 4, 2017 (Aff. Exh. E), at which residents were invited into the facility to voice their

concerns. The meeting erupted in protest. See Nkiita Stewart, Fury Over Brooklyn Shelter

Reflects Difficulty of Curbing Homelessness, New York Times (March 8, 2017); Raheal Pope-

Sussman, 'We're Going To Shut It Down': Crown Heights Blasts City Plan For Men's Shelter,

Gothamist (March 5, 2017); Jim Dolan, Brooklyn Residents Fight Back Against Addition of 20th

Homeless Shelter, ABC7NY (March 4, 2017); Residents Outraged Over New Homeless Shelter,

News 12 Brooklyn (March 4, 2017) (Aff. Exh. I). At the meeting, City officials had no

explanation for why the residents could not have been told months in advance of the Citys

plans. The renovations had been going on for months. The plans had likely been in the works

for years. 1 The only plausible explanation is that the City sought to avoid involving the

community in the process and sought to foist the facility on the community as a fait accompli.

44. At the meeting, the residents who had not previously had access into the facility

to see a fully renovated facility and to learn that the highly dubious Core Group Services, Inc.

would be managing the facility. See Sam Dolnick, At Federal Halfway House in Brooklyn, a

Dubious Operator, New York Times (December 12, 2012) (Aff. Exh. J). In that their safety will

be in the hands of Core Services, the residents are especially alarmed and fearful.

45. This action is brought to enjoin the opening of the shelter. The opening of the

shelter is going to result in a substantial change in the number of people in the area and the use to

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Likely with a plan to convert the facility into a shelter, CSN Partners LP purchased the property in question in
November 2014. See ACRIS Search and Deed (Aff Exh. K & L).

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which the building will be put. Many of the homeless men who will populate the shelter could

well pose a threat to the safety and welfare of all the children that live, go to school and play

within a very short distance from the proposed shelter, including the hundreds of children who

visit the Brooklyn Childrens Museum each day.

46. Further, the contract between the City and Core Services Inc. is not registered

with the City Comptroller. Rather, the City has represented to Community Board that [t]he

contract will be available immediately in advance of a public hearing by the Mayors Office of

Contract Services, which is presently planned for April 20. See Community Board 8 Questions

Regarding 1173 Bergen Street (Aff. Exh. G); see also CB8 Questions from March 4, 2017

Meeting (Aff. Ex. H). Thus, the residents of the community will not even see the contract and

have an opportunity to object until almost month after the facility opens.

47. Until the contract is published, the residents cannot determine the precise level of

city involvement or the nature of its relationship with Core Group Services and are unable to

fully evaluate the Citys failure to consider Fair Share, SEQRA and ULURP requirements.

Accordingly, expedited discovery is needed on the issue of City participation in the project. The

discovery is particularly important in light of the many criticisms leveled at Core Services..

48. The Respondents should not be permitted to make an end run around the City's

laws concerning land use and fair distribution of civic burdens. Petitioners and their community

are entitled to the protection of these laws to ensure the survival and safety of their community.

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

49. Petitioners repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth above as if fully

set forth herein.

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50. Upon information and belief, the Public Respondents, and DHS specifically, have

not submitted the contract with the Private Respondents regarding the proposed Bergen Street

Shelter to the Comptroller for registration.

51. Accordingly, Petitioners are entitled to an order compelling such registration.

SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

52. Petitioners repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth above as if fully

set forth herein.

53. Upon information and belief, DHS has failed to conduct a Fair Share review in

accordance with the relevant regulations, including City Charter Section 203.

54. Accordingly, Petitioners are entitled to an order compelling conduct of a Fair

Share Analysis and full compliance with the relevant regulations, including City Charter Section

203.

THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

55. Petitioners repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth above as if fully

set forth herein.

56. Upon information and belief Respondents have failed to submit the proposed

Bergen Street Shelter to Uniform Land Use Review Procedures (ULURP) in accordance with

Charter Section 197-c.

57. A ULURP review is required for the proposed Bergen Street Shelter.

58. Accordingly, Petitioners are entitled to an order compelling Respondents to

submit the proposed Bergen Street Shelter to a ULURP review.

FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

59. Petitioners repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth above as if fully

set forth herein.

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60. Upon information and belief, Respondents have not conducted environmental

reviews in compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the New York City

Environmental Quality Review, and the Title 6 of the New York City Rules and Regulations.

See e.g. 6 NYCRR 617.7 [a] [1].

61. Accordingly, Petitioners are entitled to an order compelling Respondents to

conduct the environmental reviews required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act

(SEQRA), the New York City Environmental Quality Review, and the Title 6 of the New

York City Rules and Regulations. See e.g. 6 NYCRR 617.7 [a] [1].

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION

62. Petitioners repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth above as if fully

set forth herein.

63. Due to Respondents lack of compliance with the above referenced laws,

Petitioners are entitled to an order preliminarily and permanently enjoining Respondents,

including Private Respondents, from using the proposed Bergen Street Shelter as a shelter or in

any other way until full compliance with the applicable law has been demonstrated.

WHEREFORE, Petitioners request judgment against Respondents as follows:

a) Granting an order compelling Respondents, specifically DHS, to submit the

contract with the Private Respondents regarding the proposed Bergen Street

Shelter to the Comptroller for registration;

b) Granting an order compelling conduct of a Fair Share Analysis of the proposed

Bergen Street Shelter, and full compliance with the relevant regulations, including

City Charter Section 203;

c) Granting an order compelling Respondents to submit the proposed Bergen Street

Shelter to a ULURP review;

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d) Granting order compelling Respondents to conduct the environmental reviews

required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the New

York City Environmental Quality Review, and the Title 6 of the New York City

Rules and Regulations. See, e.g., 6 NYCRR 617.7 [a] [1];

e) Granting an order preliminarily and permanently enjoining Respondents,

including Private Respondents, from using the proposed Bergen Street Shelter as

a shelter or in any other way until full compliance with the applicable law has

been demonstrated; and

f) Granting Petitioners such other and further relief as the Court deems just and

proper.

Dated: Brooklyn, New York


March 17, 2017

Respectfully Submitted,

/s/ Jacqueline McMickens, Esq.


Jacqueline McMickens, Esq.,
Jacqueline McMickens & Assoc. PLLC
26 Court Street, Suite 1600
Brooklyn, New York 11242
Tel: (718) 596-4877
Fax: (718) 596-5009

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