Discussions about civil rights laws are almost commonplace now, and anti-discrimination concepts are familiar even to those who don’t completely understand how the laws work. For example, due to an increase in education and the prevalence of media coverage of high-profile lawsuits, most people realize that it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of:

  • His or her gender
  • Race
  • National origin
  • Religious preferences
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • The presence of a disability

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As an attorney who earned my law degree at the Detroit College of Law, my undergrad degree at Wayne State, worked in the Motor City for over three decades now, and have the privilege to serve as chairman of the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, the bankruptcy of this great City is deeply disturbing. The misery is real, and the challenges are staggering.

But with my deep roots and friendships in Detroit, and representing many – if not most – of the housing Cooperatives in the City, I can tell you that the spirit of Detroit is alive and well, and will not be defeated. While others have written us off, I can attest that Detroit may be broke, but we are not broken. We won’t give up, we won’t back down, and we won’t lose faith. It will take time and it will be painful, but Detroit will come back stronger than ever.

The same grittiness is also found in my Coop clients in Chicago. It is a truly remarkable City with a vibrant downtown that rivals any that I have seen. Yes, there is a lot of negative news of murders, shootings and gangs, but the people of the Windy City do most things very well and it shows. Unlike Detroit, throngs of people can be found late at night walking around and enjoying the innumerable bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

It is exciting to see an urban place where people both work and live there, and it is my favorite “big city.” The variety of Cooperatives in Chicago is quite amazing, all with rich histories, and the “million dollar” view from my Noble Square Cooperative apartment, looking towards the downtown skyscrapers, is unbeatable.

I am truly blessed to have the privilege of practicing law for Cooperatives in both of these great Cities!

Randall A. Pentiuk, Esq.

Emigrant Mortgage Co., Inc. v. Greenberg, 34 Misc. 3d 1236(A), 950 N.Y.S.2d 608 (Dist. Ct. 2012) (unreported)

Petitioner, Emigrant Mortgage Company, Inc., commenced a holdover proceeding against Respondent Louise Greenberg to recover possession of a cooperative premises located in Great Neck, NY. Petitioner loaned money to Respondent under a Security Agreement which enabled Respondent to purchase co-op stock for occupancy of her unit. The co-op stock was pledged as collateral. Respondent defaulted under the Security Agreement and Petitioner became the owner of Respondent’s co-op stock through a sale at a public auction.

Through its purchase at the auction, Petitioner acquired all of the borrower’s “right, title and interest” in Respondent’s co-op stock. It thereby acquired “all right, title and interest” to her proprietary lease for her co-op unit. The Court confirmed that a sale of co-op stock pledged as collateral to the secured party transfers all of the owner’s rights in the cooperative.

Petitioner initially brought the proceeding to evict Respondent pursuant to RPAPL § 713(5), which allows an eviction where: “The property has been sold in foreclosure and either the deed delivered pursuant to such sale, or a copy of such deed, certified as provided in the civil practice law and rules, has been exhibited to him.”

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Housing Cooperative Disaster Relief

by admin on July 30, 2013

Representative Israel (D-NY) plans to introduce this bill. They have asked us to help them obtain original co-sponsors for their bill.

New York and New Jersey have learned that disaster can strike our cooperatives at any time. And when terrible things happen, FEMA grants are vital to disaster recovery.

Congressman Steve Israel has worked very hard to help make them possible for cooperatives. It is distressing to me to look at the list of sponsors and to see only lawmakers from New York and New Jersey. I know that you are all busy people, but you have taken on the responsibility of board service for NAHC. Please, I beg of you, take five minutes to contact your congress man or woman and ask them to become cosponsors of this important bill. We need all the support we can get, from all across the nation. To ensure that cooperatives hit by disasters in the future will not have to struggle as New York and New Jersey cooperative continue to do, to find the money they need to restore their buildings.

The deadline for signing on is July 31, 2013. Use this link to find contact information for your Representative: CONTACTING THE CONGRESS

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Charles E. Schumer introduced the Fair Access to Co-Ops for Veterans Act, which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to extend its Home Loan Guaranty Program to include housing cooperatives, a major form of housing in cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

“A home is a home, regardless of its underlying financial structure—single-family, co-op or condo. And since co-ops make up such a large share of housing units in New York City, and are often a less expensive option than condo units, too many veterans can be locked out of attractive housing opportunities,” said Maloney. “By allowing VA loan guaranty benefits to include co-ops, we can ensure that our brave men and women have the same access to housing as everyone else. We need to give our veterans the tools and resources they need to pursue their dreams of homeownership wherever they live.”

“Vets shouldn’t be discriminated against because they live in the uniquely complex housing market in New York City,” said Schumer. “This legislation will ensure that this program continues to work for all our veterans—no matter where they live.”

“Since 2006, Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Maloney have been trying to help our veterans gain access to VA home loan guarantees,” said Mary Ann Rothman, Executive Director of the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums. “They understand the importance of affordable home ownership for veterans. There’s no better form of affordable home ownership for a veteran than a housing cooperative.”

There are over 1.2 million housing cooperative units nationwide. In New York City, more than 500,000 families make their homes in nearly 6,000 co-ops in the five boroughs, according to the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums.


New York Times story on the issue here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/nyregion/va-loans-are-rare-in-new-york.html

Legislation authored by Rep. Maloney and Sen. Schumer and passed into law (Amendment to Public Law 109-461, the Veteran’s Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006) authorized a five-year program at the VA to guarantee loans made to veterans for the purchase of membership in cooperative housing corporations and enable veterans to occupy such co-ops as their residence. On April 22, 2008, the VA issued Circular 26-08-6, outlining their Guidelines for Processing Share Loans for Cooperative dwellings, but did not promote the program. The 2006 law expired in December 2011 and veterans have been unable to use their benefits for co-op housing units since its expiration.

The Sacramento Bee writes about new legislation that invests in cooperatives.

Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), has introduced H.R. 2437, the Creating Jobs Through Cooperatives Act.

The legislation authorizes $25 million per year through 2016 to create the National Cooperative Development Program within the US Housing and Urban Development Agency.

Fattah, who represents Philadelphia, a District abundant with cooperatives said, “Co-ops are their own kind of economic stimulus because they invest in the communities they serve by employing the people they serve.”


The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives just concluded its 50th anniversary conference at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, with more classes than ever. Randall Pentiuk taught Parliamentary Procedure with Blaine Honeycutt, and the Coop Legal Update class with Creighton Gallup. A special reception was held to celebrate the 50 years of the association and commemorative hard-cover books were given to attendees along with special gifts. A special tribute was offered in memory of Ida Fisher, as well as recognitions to persons graduating from the Certified Cooperative Directors and Certified Cooperative Managers. A new Certified Cooperative Maintenance Manager program was announced with the inaugural training set for the fall in Kansas City. The incumbent directors plus two new directors were elected by acclamation, and in the reorganization meeting, we re-elected our current officers: Bill Magee, Pres; David Rudicil, V. Pres; Rich Berendson, Sec; and Blaine Honeycutt, Treas. The next MAHC conference is set for May, 2014 in New Orleans.

Program Supports Homeownership
Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) provides support to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities. The application deadline is July 15, 2013.

The following is a letter from NAHC:

NAHC helped defeat legislation in the Massachusetts State Legislature which would have set a precedent across the nation preventing housing cooperatives from their right to screen applicants. On Tuesday, May 28, 2013, the Massachusetts Senate rejected an amendment which if passed, would require co-ops to be the only form of housing in the Commonwealth to accept any applicant that meets financial criteria, changing the fundamental principles of cooperative living as we know them.

Thanks to our Boston housing cooperatives for alerting us to the last minute amendment, NAHC sent letters opposing the amendment to the Majority Leader of the MA Senate as well as the Chairman of the MA Senate Finance Committee.

We aren’t finished yet!
A similar Home Rule Petition for a Special Law Regarding Housing Cooperatives is pending in the Boston City Council. This Petition would negatively impact all housing cooperatives because it would jeopardize the unique self-governing nature of cooperative living. NAHC wrote to the Chairman of the Boston City Council in opposition to this petition. To date, it has not come up for consideration. We will keep you posted on the outcomes of this petition.

MAHC Regional Update

by admin on May 18, 2013

The Midwest Association of Housing Cooperatives held another training session for Directors in May for over twenty directors, as part of its “Certified Cooperative Directors” program in Taylor, Michigan. Over a day and a half, trainers educated Board members on the nuts and bolts of running a housing cooperative. Other CCD classes are planned for other parts of the Midwest region later this year as part of MAHC’s efforts to take training to its members.

Beginning June 2, MAHC will hold its 50th annual conference. This year, we return to Las Vegas for training and networking at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. Special events, including a reception, are planned to commemorate the silver anniversary of the organization, in addition to the customary array of cutting edge training opportunities led by a faculty of experts in their respective fields. Among the special classes will be the New Board Members’ class that provides a foundation for newly elected Directors.