The cooperative conversion process

The MHA’s attorney for much of its pioneering work during the 1990s was Martin Berger, who had also served as attorney for the Cooper Square Committee.   He drafted a non-eviction cooperative conversion plan in the late 1990s, but due to issues raised by the NYS Attorney General’s office (such as items not disclosed in the plan like engineering reports for each of the 20 buildings in the offering plan and the fact that the MHA did not yet have title to the buildings), the MHA decided to withdraw the plan, and work on educating the AG’s office about the unique nature of the plan, and the heavy financial burden they would incur if they had to comply with the lengthy list of disclosures required.

Unfortunately, the MHA’s attorney, Martin Berger passed away in March, 2003.  The MHA turned to the law firm of Goldstein-Hall to assist us with revising the coop offering plan, and with educating the AG’s Office about the precedent setting MHA cooperative model.  The task became easier when Governor Pataki left office, and a series of Democratic Governors took office.  The new staff at the AG’s office had a better understanding of the low income housing mission of the MHA project, and the working relationship became easier.

In 2011, the MHA filed the coop offering plan with the NYS Attorney General’s Office.  The plan was declared effective by the AG’s office in 2012.  In December, 2012 and January, 2013, more than 180 MHA tenants purchased shares in the MHA cooperative, marking the end of a more than 20 year struggle to realize the vision of a mutual housing cooperative with permanent affordability.

(Photos of shareholders with their stock certificates)

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Managing low-income co-ops in NYC's Lower East Side