Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: SOMERVILLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONTRACTS – RIPE FOR CORRUPTION

Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,
This is a letter putting the mayor on notice:

Dear Mayor Ballantyne (cc Somerville/Medford News Weekly),

I hope this email finds you well, and I need your help on a big problem in Somerville – AFFORDABLE HOUSING CORRUPTION POTENTIAL.

Unfortunately, I have to put you on notice that the NEW affordable housing contracts in Somerville are RIPE FOR CORRUPTION.
I am now forced to REMOVE 2 luxury affordable housing units that we proposed for the City, because the City changed its affordable housing contract to allow the City to assign affordable units to ANYONE in the future (not just affordable housing recipients).

I have asked the City to go back to the old contract language that only allowed an affordable housing recipient to have rights to affordable housing units.
The City has declined to go correct that language.

Perhaps the City staff wants the contract to allow the City to assign the affordable housing unit to a City officer, or relative of a City officer?
Perhaps not.
Regardless of their reason….the POTENTIAL FOR CORRUPTION IS WRONG! – AND I WILL NOT SUPPORT IT BY GIVING HOUSING UNITS TO THE CITY.

I have provided numerous deeded affordable units to the City of Somerville in past years, and I was on course to provide 50 more affordable units in the next 10 years.

All that we asked was to PUT BACK into the contract that ONLY AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING RECIPIENT may be assigned an affordable housing unit.
That is a very simple request to fulfill – unless there is an ulterior motive.

I respectfully request that you respond to me by email, and follow up with a phone call.

I hope protecting Affordable Housing matters to you Mayor Ballantyne.
If it does, we need to work through this improper corruption-prone contract.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Mouhab Z. Rizkallah

On Thu, May 5, 2022 at 3:30 PM Mouhab Rizkallah wrote:
Dear Ms. Donato and Mr. Feloney,

As you very well know Ms Donato….zoning changes (sometimes corruptly – as with the deceptive Demolition Review Ordinance that I blocked a few years ago).
On the contrary, the Affordable Housing Agreement would be unchangeable and filed at the Registry of Deeds – in perpetuity.
Pointing outside the permanent agreement to a changeable policy is not protectice.

If the TRUE intent is to protect the Affordable unit (and not just virtue-signal) then you should have no problem putting that into the four corners of the agreement.
If you are unwilling to do that, then you are unwilling to protect these two luxury Affordable Housing Units, and you are forfeiting these two luxury Affordable Housing Units (and many more to come).

So you have an option at this time:

1. Restrict the future “designee” to be an affordable recipient, and we will provide you with 2 luxury affordable units, or

2. Do not restrict the future “designee” as an affordable recipient, and we will withdraw our offer to provide 2 affordable housing units.

Regards,

Mouhab Z. Rizkallah

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