Analysis, discussion and opinions by members of Newsday's editorial board.

GOP's call to housing group not about the money

Rep. Bob Turner

Rep. Bob Turner (Credit: Getty Images)

Four Republican candidates running for U.S. Congress and state Legislature want a nonprofit that sued Westchester County over affordable housing -- and eventually made millions -- to donate the money back to the county.

Rep.  Bob Turner of Rocky Point, who is seeking the nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, was among the Republicans that on Tuesday called on the Anti-Discrimination Center to “put (its) money where (its) mouth is” and donate $6 million of the $7.4 million it received as part of a settlement reached in 2009 between the federal government and Westchester County.

The housing settlement is a campaign issue that just keeps on giving for Republicans, but we know that ADC is never going to donate those dollars back to Westchester.

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So do the candidates. But why not ask, right?

The ask is directed at voters -- those who aren’t too pleased with the federal government or this settlement. It’s a reminder that this deal is still an issue and going on in a community near them. Democrats, excluding those on the Board of Legislators, have kept some distance from the deal.

Westchester settled with the federal government in 2009 and agreed to spend roughly $52 million to help build 750 units in some of the county’s more wealthy white communities. The settlement also cut ADC out of implementing the settlement. They have seven years to do it, but Republican County Executive Rob Astorino – who maintains he’s ahead of schedule in building these units – has been mired in lawsuits over its implementation.

Turner was joined by Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin, who is running against Rep. Nita Lowey; State Senate candidate Bob Cohen, who is running against Democrat George Latimer, and Assembly candidate Kim Izzarelli, who is running against Assemblywoman Sandra Galef.

"The federal government took more than $7 million in Westchester taxpayer funds and handed it to what looks like little more than a one-man show," Turner said of ADC. "If this 'activist' organization felt so strongly about affordable housing issues in Westchester County, why hasn't it given anything back to the cause?”

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