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Seniors at low-income complex upset by letter, lawmaker says

The Siena Village senior apartment complex in Smithtown,

The Siena Village senior apartment complex in Smithtown, Aug. 25, 2015. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A Suffolk county legislator called on the county’s Industrial Development Agency on Thursday to protect low-income seniors living in a Smithtown complex that received tax breaks.

Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) said some residents of Siena Village received letters this month threatening eviction for not making monthly rental payments in full. He said some residents who contacted him were behind in their rent by small amounts; in one case by $1. Others had paid in full.

Trotta, whose legislative district includes Siena Village, also said two residents were hospitalized after becoming upset by the Dec. 29, 2017, letter.

He urged the IDA to investigate and demand the complex manager, PK Management, act “morally” toward the residents.

Ohio-based PK Management is a division of GHC Housing Partners of Sherman Oaks, California, which bought Siena Village in 2015 for $62 million.

Suffolk then issued $62 million in tax-exempt bonds and up to $606,000 in tax breaks to support the purchase and renovation of Siena Village’s 299 apartments. GHC Housing is responsible for repaying the bonds.

“I think this board needs to take this seriously,” Trotta told the IDA. He opposed the county’s decision to grant tax breaks to GHC Housing.

IDA executive director Anthony J. Catapano responded Thursday that he had visited Siena Village and spoke with the property manager and some tenants. “Everyone seemed quite pleasant, quite happy,” he said, referring to the seniors.

Spokeswomen for GHC Housing and PK Management didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a letter to the IDA, PK Management executive vice president Yvette Rouff-Abernathy said the eviction warning was “sent in error. . . . Upon learning of this error PK management promptly held a meeting with residents in the community center to explain and apologize.”

She added, “Management does not automatically file an actual eviction with the court” based on a warning letter.

IDA board member Sondra Cochran said on Thursday the Dec. 29 letter to Siena Village residents incorrectly gave them too few days before an eviction process could begin. “It has to be 30 days in New York State, not 10 days,” she said.

IDA secretary Anthony Giordano expressed concern that one resident was evicted. Catapano said he was told the eviction was unrelated to the letter.

Siena Village used to be owned by Catholic Health Services of Long Island and received tax breaks in 2015 because it serves low-income seniors.

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