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City Council To Investigate de Blasio's Withdrawal Of Hallets Point Bond Funding

City Council To Investigate de Blasio's Withdrawal Of Hallets Point Bond Funding
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a press conference for the Office of Public Advocate for the City of New York

The New York City Council is investigating why Mayor Bill de Blasio pulled funding for an affordable development, a move that also imperiled the Astoria Houses project.

In November, the city reversed its plans to give $43.5M in bond financing for The Durst Organization to build an affordable apartment building as part of its Hallets Point mega-development in Astoria. The council is investigating the circumstances of that reversal, Politico reports.

In addition to financing a new building, the bonds were set to finance repairs to the heating system of the neighboring Astoria Houses public housing complex managed by the New York City Housing Authority. The boilers struggle to sufficiently heat apartments at the complex and have no safeguards against one of them failing, according to the New York Daily News.

The mayor's office contends that the bonds were revoked because the city initially issued too many, anticipating that federal funding for affordable projects would dry up. But no explanation was provided for why the Hallets Point project was chosen, or why it was the only development that saw its funding revoked.

Critics contend that the decision was based on a feud between de Blasio and Douglas Durst over comments the mayor made to prove he did not give his donors special treatment. The mayor pointed to his awarding of the East River Ferry contract to San Francisco-based Hornblower over The Durst Organization as proof he was not beholden to the Durst patriarch's donations.

After de Blasio's comments went public in a blog post, a Durst spokesman responded by saying, "Winter is coming," referencing the ominous Stark family motto from "Game of Thrones."

The mayor also is reportedly displeased with The Durst Organization's attempts to block Barry Diller's redevelopment of Pier 55, which required Gov. Andrew Cuomo's personal intervention to save.