On November 08, 2019, New York City tenant Theo Chino, residing at 640 Riverside Drive, sent a letter to Senator Cory Booker requesting his assistance in launching a federal investigation into potential corruption in the Third-Party Program managed by nonprofit UHAB (“Urban Homesteading Assistance Board”) in New York City.
Senator Cory Booker’s girlfriend, Rosario Dawson, like Chino, lives in an apartment slated for a Co-op conversion using NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD)’s inclusionary housing program, managed by UHAB. Dawson lives at 544 East 13th street and Theo Chino lives at 640 Riverside Drive and both buildings were transferred to UHAB for $1 in order to convert each apartment into an affordable Co-op.
Chino alleges that monies from the 640 Riverside Drive units were illegally used for repairs of Dawson’s building. This followed significant pressure by Dawson and her family to reject prospective low-income tenants slated to come into Dawson’s building upon the Co-op conversion.
UHAB appeared on then-Public Advocate Letitia James’ worse landlord list because of the numerous violations at 640 Riverside Drive triggered by Dawson’s repairs.
According to Chino, “it’s absolutely mind-boggling that Senator Booker is running for President on a platform of defending low-income Americans while publicly dating a very talented actress who bullies and harasses neighbors to receive millions of dollars from a program meant to help the lower middle class into home ownership. The fact that the Senator did not see that as a red flag shows the complexities of the NY real estate market, and that presidential candidates do not seem to have a clue! I hope that the Senator will use this opportunity to use his position to root out corruption in the real estate market, rather than sweeping it under the rug.”
Chino appeared multiple times before the City Council seeking an investigation by NYC HPD into UHAB. Chino ran for Public Advocate of the City of New York to raise the issue of corruption within the Third-Party Program run by UHAB.
Chino is also a member of the 640 Riverside Drive tenant association, as well as the co-founder of the website RepMyBlock.nyc. Chino is also the co-founder of the NYC Privacy Board Advocate fighting for privacy in New York City and for transparency in law enforcement’s various tracking technologies.