Monday, September 26, 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Newark Housing Authority Plans to Sell More Property

Newark, New Jersey: The Newark Housing Authority (NHA) is planning to sell even more of its property.

A resolution obtained by Essex County Place shows that in May, the NHA Board of Commissioners voted to authorize Executive Director Keith Kinard to enter into an exclusive listing agreement and "to make any revisions as necessary" with Assurance Realty Group to be the real estate broker for a potential sale of 500-506 Broad Street in Downtown Newark. 

The building in question is "the NHA principal office building", according to the resolution, and is where NHA meetings are held. The Newark Youth One Stop and Career Center and the Youth Development Clinic are also located inside the building, which was acquired for $1.2 million by the NHA in 1997 from First Union National Bank, according to NJ Parcels. The resolution states that Assurance will receive a commission of 4% of the purchase price, and that Chief Legal Officer Ellen Harris approved it for legality.

Plus, another lot owned by the Newark Housing Authority could be sold. Currently, 915-933 Broad Street is a wooded lot directly across the street from City Hall. However, a resolution from the same meeting on May 26th shows that the Board of Commissioners authorized Kinard to enter into an option agreement and to "make any revisions as necessary" with Urban Builders Collaborative of New York and Zigni Group of Irvington for the potential purchase of the lot for $1.955 million. 

It is not clear who owns Zigni Group, but Urban Builders Collaborative is the real estate development entity of Lettire Construction, which is also redeveloping the former Irvington General Hospital site into The HillTop complex. The company paid $960,000 in back wages in 2012, according to The New York Times, and owned $2.8 million in back wages in 2014, the New York Daily News reports.

Kinard has not responded to several interview requests regarding the authority's affairs. He is one of the highest paid employees in Newark, earning over $220,000 per year according to DataUniverse. 

Despite the authority's website having a 'transparency documents' page, agendas for meetings in June, July, and September have not been posted, and press releases have not been issued online since 2012. A copy of the 'NHA Voice' newsletter has not been posted on the website in nearly six years.

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