...Like It's 1999

What the Budget Battle Means for Housing

The dispute centers on an RGB survey of 2200 renters who moved since Albany rewrote the rent law in June 1997. Hochman read the report, then reneged on plans to release it because it compared current rents to 1996 levels. Hochman has promised to release the report when 1997 data comes in.

The dispute adds yet another cloud to the board, which did not even have a full nine-member complement until June 22, the night it was scheduled to cast its final vote. Just four days earlier, Giuliani had appointed the ninth board member, Justin Macedonia, a 39-year-old corporate attorney at Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts. The powerful law firm lobbies for firms like the New York Stock Exchange, Rockefeller Center Development Corp., Abe Hirschfeld's real estate interests, and two Forest City Ratner sites. Macedonia says his work does not involve lobbying.

Macedonia is a Harvard Law grad and an Upper East Side renter, though he is not rent stabilized. In his youth he was arrested but acquitted at trial on drug-selling charges after five people, ranging from 16 to 21 years old, were hospitalized after allegedly obtaining angel dust from his parents' Riverdale apartment in 1980, which narcotics detectives at the time described as a drug "laboratory."

Macedonia will serve on the RGB as a public member—there are two representatives for landlords, two for tenants, and five public members. Though appointed by Giuliani, he has not made sizable donations to the mayor, and neither has his firm. Asked why he was appointed to the board, Macedonia replied, "No comment."

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