LAST UPDATED 08/15/19
ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTS PERTAINING FOR THIS CASE ARE ON PUBLIC RECORD AT THE BOSTON FEDERAL COURT HOUSE AND THE INTERNET WORLD WIDE.
Website is updated daily please check back periodically.
Click on the images above to link to corresponding YouTube videos.
THE MEMBERS OF MANDELA RESIDENTS
COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION, INC.
Invite You to Attend a Meeting with
Representatives from the Offices of Congressman J. Joseph Moakley, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, Senator John Kerry & The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)
U.S. Housing and Urban Development on Thursday, November 3, 1994 at 7:00pm
REGARDING THE OWNERSHIP OF OUR HOMES
Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport!
10 Hammond Street Lower Roxbury, Massachusetts
COMMITTEE ON RULES CHAIRMAN
TO: Mandela Residents Cooperative Association, Inc. Congressional Housing Specialists Group Department of Housing and Urban Development Boston Redevelopment Authority City Councillor Gareth Saunders.
FROM: James W. Woodard, Congressman Joe Moakley's
RE: Office November 3, 1994 Mandela Tenants
DATE:Meeting November 4, 1994
City Councillor Gareth Saunders, Jim Drazen of the Boston HUD office and James Woodard of Congressman Joe Moakley's office met with the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association on Thursday evening, November 3, 1994.
The residents requested the meeting to solicit support for their efforts to purchase their units. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Helen Aizprua, President of the Association.
Mr. Yawu Miller, a reporter for the Bay State Banner and Ms. Julia Chang, a photographer for the same newspaper attended the meeting.
Dr. Peggy Brown, Director of the Mandela Town Hall Healrh Spot and Youth Program, facilitated the first part of the meeting. She expressed disappointment that the Boston Redevelopment Authority was not represented at the meeting; she also expressed disappointment that Senator John Kerry and Congressman Joe Kennedy were not represented.
Dr. Brown, with verbal support from those present, chastised the BRA for not providing Mandela residents with the $25,000 seed money for,-consultants promised in former BRA director Stephen Coyle's letter of December 28, 1988. She admonished residents about their responsibility to hold elected officials accountable for responding to their demands.
James Woodard explained to the residents that Congressman Moakley no longer represented that part of Boston which includes the Mandela Apartments. He stressed, however, that he is part of the Congressional Housing Specialist Group [CHSG], which includes staff members of Senators Edward Kennedy and John^ Kerry and Congressmen Joe Kennedy and Joe Moakley with occasional participation from Congressman Barney Frank's office.
He gave a brief history and functional methodology of the group, such as, when members of the CHSG cannot attend meetings with tenants, whoever is present provide absent members with a detailed report of what occurred at the meeting. Jeanette Boone of Senator Kerry's office had a prior engagement and could not attend. Jim Spencer of Congressman Kennedy's office had indicated that he was in the field campaigning with the Congressman.
Woodard discussed his telephone conversations with Ms. Marisa Lago, Director of the BRA; Paul McCann, Executive Assistant to the Director of the BRA; and, Casimir Kolaski, Director of Housing for the Regional HUD office.
Mr. Kolaski of HUD expressed his familiarity with the situation at Mandela Apartments and promised his office's support for the residents efforts to successfully purchase their homes. ..He promised that his office would be represented at the meeting.
Ms. Lago expressed her agency's frustration in trying to deal with Mr. Alphonse Mourad, President of V & M Management Co., Inc., owner of the property. The Authority questions his sincerity regarding his willingness to do what is necessary to help the residents purchase their homes. Mr. McCann's views supported Ms. Lago.
A copy of Mr. McCann's letter of October 28, 1994, was distributed to those in attendance. His letter indicated among other things, that, "Mr. Coyle's letter ceased to be effective when the proposed private sale fell through five years ago. While the Authority no longer has the funds available that were referenced in Mr. Coyle's letter, the Authority would be pleased to assist in obtaining pro bone legal services to advise the tenants."
Woodard offered to try and arrange a meeting for Mandela's Tenants Council to meet with the Congressional Housing Specialist Group in concert with representatives of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and representatives of the Regional HUD office. He felt that the
outcome of such a meeting would inform Mandela residents of precisely what resources were available to them.
Jim Drazen of HUD reiterated Casimir Kolaski's commitment to the resident of Mandela Apartments. He revealed that he had met the previous week with Helen Aizprua, president of the Mandela Tenants' Association and Alphonse Mourad, owner of the property.
In responding to audience questions demanding the BRA account for the $25,000, Drazen admonished the tenants not to be diverted from doing what is necessary to accomplish their goal of owning their homes. He indicated getting money from the BRA might take time that could be better used organizing their cooperative association. He offered HUD's assistance in helping to locate agencies and other resources which they could use.
Drazen reminded residents of his history of working with Mandela residents; he also cited examples of successful and on-going cooperatives, such as. Grant Manor, Roxse Hones, Camfield Gardens and others. He cited Academy Homes as the risk the tenants would take if they failed to act in an expeditious manner.
City Councillor Gareth Saunders told the group that he had spoken with the Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and she had informed him that the BRA does not have money but will help obtain pro bono support [The same position presented in Paul McCann's letter of October 28, 1994 to James Woodard] for Mandela Apartments' cooperative organizing efforts.
To residents demand that he facilitate and audit of BRA books or conduct hearings on the matter, Saunders offered that the agency would probably "drag .its, feet".*and time would bey-wasted. He indicated his ... willingness to work with the residents and**meet as regularly as necessary to help them achieve their goal of home ownership.
Following a lengthy and sometimes raucous question and answer segment, the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association requested the following of Councillor Gareth Saunders, Jim Drazen and James Woodard:
1) Ask the Boston Redevelopment Authority what happened to the full $200,000' promised by former BRA Director Stephen Coyle in 1988.
2) Conduct a follow-up meeting between the leadership of Mandela Tenants Council and the Congressional Housing Specialist Group.
3) Facilitate a meeting with HUD, BRA, CHSG and the leaders of Mandela Tenants Council.
At the end of the meeting, Ms. Helen Aizprua requested that the meeting between the Congressional Housing Specialist Group and the Leaders cf the Tenan-cs Council, includinc herself, Mary Hill, vice-president of the association as well as Mary Lycurgus and others, be held at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, November 17, 1994. The meeting will be held at Congressman Moakley's office at 220 World Trade Center. The meeting will combine numbers 2) and 3) of the tenants demands. The BRA will be asked to respond in more detail to the Coyle letter at the meeting for those who do not understand Mr. McCann's letter of October 28, 1994.
Jim Drazen of the Boston HUD Regional office has indicated that he will attend the meeting. The Boston Redevelopment Authority will be asked to send a representative as well. ,
It is expected that the meeting on November l7th will serve as the genesis for a constructive effort to facilitate cooperative housing at Mandela Apartments.
JOHN JOSEPH MOAKLEY
Congress of the United States
October 28, 1994
Mr. Paul McCann, Executive Assistant
to the Director Boston Redevelopment Authority City Hall Boston, MA 02201
Dear Mr. McCann:
I am writing to request clarification of Former BRA Director, Stephen Coyle's letter of December 28, 1988, to Winter Hill Federal Savings Bank President, Leroy H. Keihn, concerning the Mandela Apartments.
Specifically, Mr. Coyle stated, "In fact, the BRA has allocated $25,000 for the tenant?: to retain one or more consultants of their choice for the purpose of establishing a workable tenant cooperative." The tenants of Mandela never received the funds and are very distrubed because other federal and city housing developments have received substantial sums of money since 1988.
Yesterday afternoon I met with Dr. Peggy Brown, Director of the Mandela Town Hall Health Spot and Youth Program. She has a convivial working relationship with city and community leaders and she is one of the most active and effective advocates for youth in the city. She asked that we ascertain the availability of the $25,000 and when Mandela tenants will receive it.
Mandela tenants are planning a large demonstration in government center on Monday, October 31, 1994. Dr. Brown believes that a resonable explanation concerning the promised funds will prevent the demonstration. She advised the tenants that such a demonstration would be ill advised at this time. However, many of the tenants seem to feel that such a demonstration one week prior to the election will work to their advantage since they have been ignored by the city.
Congressman Moakley represented Mandela residents for 20 years; the area is now being represented by Congressman Joe Kennedy. This letter is being forwarded to him as well as Senator John F. Kerry.
Please advise as soon as possible. Sincerely,
James W. Woodard Assistant District Manager
THE BOSTON GLOBE * THURSDAYS 27,1995
MANDELA TENANTS STAGE PROTEST
About 100 Mandela housing development tenants demonstrated outside Boston City Hall yesterday, shouting and carrying signs de-manding to speak with city officials to resolve a dispute with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The tenants, who say the BRA owes them $200,000, also fled suit against the BRA yesterday, the latest in a string of lawsuits filed over the "affordabi-lity fund." Alphonse Mourad, Man-dela's owner, said the BRA promised £200,000 in 1986 to be used a? seed money to trarisform the troubled project into a tenant-owned cooperative. BRA officials maintain that the fund? were earmarked for hous-ing. but were never allocated be-cause the development is fully under federal subsidy. BRA spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said that there is no money currently allocated for the Mandela housing development.
THE BOSTON GLOBE / NEWS:
COUNCILORS VOW PROBE OF BRA FUND USE
Author(s): Michael Grunwald, Globe Staff Date: April 20, 1995 Page: 60 Section: METRO Two city councilors yesterday vowed to hold public hearings on the Boston Redevelopment Authority's use of almost $1 million that tenants of a Roxbury housing project say was meant for them. As outraged tenants of the Westminster-Willard development, known as Mandela, held a news conference to denounce the BRA and demand an investigation, councilors Richard Iannella and Gareth Saunders said they were determined to find out what happened to the disputed funds. "There is a serious, serious cloud hanging over the BRA right now," said Iannella, chairman of the council's committee on planning and economic development. "We need to take action to see whether the BRA misused this money." Mandela tenants and their landlord, Alphonse Mourad, contend the BRA was obligated to spend $200,000 plus the proceeds from a settlement with a Back Bay condominium dealer at the project. In yesterday's Globe, Mourad cited a December 1986 board vote establishing the Westminster-Willard Fund for the sole benefit of Mandela tenants. But the BRA insists the fund never existed, saying the vote was contingent on Mourad's selling the development to a private buyer who had threatened to convert to market-rent housing. BRA director Marisa Lago told the Globe on Tuesday that the fund was originally conceived to ensure that Mandela would remain affordable, and that once Mourad secured federal rent subsidies for all 276 apartments at Mandela, the agency was free to use the money on other affordable housing initiatives. "The reason we considered making a fund was that Mourad was going to sell," said BRA spokeswoman Kelly Rice Quinn. "The sale never went through, and Westminster-Willard is now 100 percent [subsidized]. Affordability is ensured at that site." But in November 1996, Mandela's subsidy contracts will expire, and affordability may be at risk. At Mandela yesterday, about 30 tenants held a rally to accuse the BRA of blocking their dream of an affordable, tenant-owned cooperative. They said they were furious about a Globe report that the BRA spent almost all of the original $200,000 on attorney's fees, and even angrier that $163,822 went to a firm whose services to the BRA have included a bid to force Mandela into receivership. "That is our money," said tenant activist Mary Lycurgus. "We need it for our children." Saunders, a Roxbury councilor, said the dispute over Mandela indicates a larger problem of a lack of oversight of the BRA. Saunders said he wants to know why the agency now operates at a deficit. © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Beacon, residents to own Mandela
Boston Herald; Boston, Mass.; Sep 27, 1997; BERNARD WOLFSON;
Opening a new chapter in the troubled history of lower Roxbury's Mandela housing development, a federal bankruptcy judge yesterday awarded the project to a new partnership owned jointly by Beacon Properties and Mandela's tenants.
Copyright Boston Herald Library Sep 27, 1997
Opening a new chapter in the troubled history of lower Roxbury's Mandela housing development, a federal bankruptcy judge yesterday awarded the project to a new partnership owned jointly by Beacon Properties and Mandela's tenants.
Bankruptcy Judge Carol J. Kenner's ruling cut all ties between Mandela and its former owner, Alphonse Mourad. Mourad lost the housing project to a court-appointed trustee after he filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year amid charges of gross mismanagement.
The new limited partnership between Beacon and the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association gives each 50 percent equity. The tenants group can buy out Beacon for $1 within five to seven years.
The partnership has a capital budget of $18 million, including $4 million for Mourad's creditors and $11 million to renovate the 276-unit, 10-building affordable housing project. A consortium of investors will put up the $11 million to obtain tax credits.
Mourad charged that the tenants were being duped by Beacon, the city of Boston and the state. He said they want the site for more lucrative commercial development.
But the deal stipulates that in exchange for tax credits, Mandela must remain an affordable housing development
BRA APPROVES SALE OF APARTMENTS, BUT SOME TENANTS REMAIN OPPOSEDAuthor(s):
Joanne Ball, Globe Staff Date: December 12, 1986 Page: 27 Section: METRO The Boston Redevelopment
Authority board yesterday approved the sale of Westminster-Willard Apartments in lower Roxbury, including provisions designed to protect the interests of the low-income tenants. The deal faltered several times during the nine months since the owner agreed to sell the property to landlord Edmund Shamsi for $5.5 million, in part because of longstanding tenant opposition to Shamsi and in part because of the BRA's efforts to safeguard tenant concerns. Despite conditions recently added to the sale agreement, some tenants yesterday said they plan to ask for a meeting with Mayor Flynn to urge him to reject the sale. The sale of the 274-unit development, located mainly on Washington Street, required BRA approval because it was built under the state's urban renewal plan and received special tax benefits. The mayor must approve the board's action for the transition to be completed. "He's our last chance," said tenant Anthony Lycurgus, 35, who added that he and other tenants fear the development would eventually be turned into luxury housing, forcing out the poor tenants. "The mayor has been a friend to tenants. . . . I had faith in the mayor for many years. I'm just hoping that the mayor doesn't make me lose my faith." Francis J. Costello, Flynn's press secretary, said, "The mayor will be reviewing that action and he will make a decision that will be in the best interest of the tenants in the near future." As one of the provisions of the sale, the BRA established an "affordability fund," in which money that the city won in an unrelated lawsuit will go to the tenants as rent subsidies after 1996 when federal subsidies expire or as an initial payment for converting the development into a tenant-owned cooperative. BRA director Stephen Coyle estimated that the awards from the lawsuit could amount to $2 million by 1996. The first-time payment creating the "affordability fund" will be $200,000. "The BRA vote -- and the creation of the affordability fund -- reflects the Flynn administration commitment to protecting the rights of tenants," Coyle said in a statement. "The federal government has never indicated what it might do to protect the rights of tenants who will lose . . . subsidies in future years." Other conditions of the transaction require the new owner to: - Place $488,000 in an escrow account to correct housing code violations; - Provide the BRA with an annual $200,000 letter of credit to cover any maintenance and operating deficits; - Enter an agreement with the tenants' organization for tenant management. Alphonse Mourad, the current owner, sued the BRA and the city for $7 million, alleging that the city stalled the sale for political reasons. Mourad said he was uncertain about dropping the suit, but added: "I know I'm going to seek damages. I did suffer serious damages. © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
BRA OFFICIAL NAMED IN DEVELOPER'S SUIT LANDLORD ASSERTS HOUSING AIDE TRIED TO FORCE HIM INTO DEAL INVOLVING NONPROFIT GROUP
Author(s): Michael K. Frisby, Globe Staff Date: December 10, 1986 Page: 48 Section: METRO A
Boston Redevelopment Authority official allegedly tried to force landlord Edmund I. Shamsi to sell an apartment building to a nonprofit organization in exchange for approval from the authority to buy the Westminster-Willard apartments in Roxbury.litical reasons." Any sale of Westminster-Willard must receive BRA approval because the original developers received special tax benefits when the 274-unit building was built. Yesterday, BRA Director Stephen Coyle declined to address the accusations made in the suit against Peter Dreier, Coyle's special assistant for housing. Coyle, however, said the agency is actively trying to find a solution to satisfy the parties in the case. The disposition of the Westminster-Willard apartments, on Washington Street, has been a controversial topic in recent months. Tenant advocates have opposed the proposed $5.5 million sale, charging that Shamsi has a record of complaints from tenants who live in his other properties around the city. According to an affidavit signed by attorney Glenn P. Frank and filed in housing court as part of the suit, Frank's law office, which represents Shamsi, was told on several occasions by Dreier, the BRA deputy director, that the BRA would not approve the sale unless several conditions were met. In the affidavit, Frank charges that Dreier listed the following conditions: - That Shamsi must agree to sell the Buckminster Apartments, at 645 Beacon St., to a nonprofit organization that would maintain the facility as a rooming house. "I have been informed by Mr. Shamsi,"
Frank wrote, "that not only were all offers from nonprofit corporations wholly inadequate, but also that Mr. Shamsi is not the sole owner of said premises and permission from independent third parties would be required to complete such a transaction." - That Shamsi must place the Back
Bay Manor Apartments, at 75 Alphonsus St., under the control of the Boston Rent Equity Board. "This project, due to idiosyncrasies in the Boston Rent Equity Ordinance, is presently exempt from rent control and is not monitored by the Boston Rent Equity Board," Frank wrote. -
That all housing code violations on any properties owed in whole or in part by Shamsi be remedied and/or corrected before an approval would be forthcoming. City officials said Dreier was out of town on business yesterday, but Francis Costello, the press secretary for Mayor Flynn, issued a statement in Dreier's defense. "If, indeed, Peter Dreier made such remarks, they evidence a concern for protecting the rights of poor people," Costello said. "If someone, lawyer or otherwise, wants to call that extortion they are guilty of a perversion of language. If city officials aren't committed to protecting the legitimate housing needs of poor people in such places as rooming houses, then who is going to do that?" Several city councilors, however, were upset by the allegations and called for more control over the BRA. District Councilor James M. Kelly (South Boston-South End-Chinatown) said the charges, if true, would indicate an "overstepping" of the role of city government and called the alleged actions "regretful."
Councilor at Large Michael J. McCormack called on the BRA board of directors to pay closer attention to Dreier's activities. "I'd like to know what nonprofit group was to benefit from Dreier's efforts and what gave him the right to make those representations," said McCormack. And Councilor at Large Joseph M. Tierney, who is considering running for mayor against Flynn next year, said: "It is coercion, conspiracy, unethical and a conflict of interest." Tierney said he plans to seek City Council approval of deals made in exchange for city approval of development projects. "I will push that the City Council be told about these inside deals," he said. "They are not voluntary. They are extortion. And there are laws on the books against it." In response, Costello said: "Unlike the case of Peter Dreier, one would certainly be surprised if Tierney ever took such a position in defense of poor tenants." Coyle, meanwhile, said the BRA has pursued a policy of trying to ensure that the sale of the Westminster-Willard apartments preserves their affordability to tenants, allows for tenant review of management procedures and remains in compliance with all building and health codes. According to sources familiar with the proposed sale, the BRA board may consider a proposal to approve the sale to Shamsi at its meeting tomorrow. The BRA, sources said, may require that $480,000 be placed in escrow to pay for the repair of code violations; that a $200,000 letter of credit be set aside to finance the correction of any future violations; and that a fund be set up by the BRA to help replace federal rent subsidies that will expire in 1996. Tenant advocates, the sources said, have sought many of these conditions as safeguards against displacement.
ROXBURY TENANTS QUESTION FUND USE SOME SAY BRA BLOCKED
CO-OPAuthor(s): Michael Grunwald, Globe Staff
Date: April 19, 1995 Page: 23 Section: METRO It was named the ''Westminster-Willard Affordability Fund,'' intended ''for the sole benefit of tenants of the Project.'' It was supposed to start with $200,000 in public funds in 1986. By now it would have swelled to nearly $1 million. But the money is gone, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority says it spent all of it. And the tenants of the Westminster-Willard housing project in Roxbury, known as Mandela, never saw a dime. In fact, an internal memo shows the BRA paid $163,822 of the original $200,000 to the top-flight law firm representing the agency in its bid to force Mandela into receivership, a battle fiercely opposed by the project's tenant association. BRA officials said the situation is more complex than it appears. They said the Westminster-Willard Affordability Fund was contingent on a proposed sale of the project, and since the sale collapsed, the fund never really existed. They said the agency spent the money originally earmarked for Mandela on other affordable housing initiatives, as well as the receivership bid. Mandela tenants -- along with their landlord, longtime BRA antagonist Alphonse Mourad -- said the agency has betrayed them, exacerbating financial problems at their project and blocking their dream of a tenant-owned cooperative. "They're supposed to spend money to help us. Instead they spend money to fight us," said Rotimi Abu, 36, a taxi driver who lives at Mandela. "We are sick of these broken promises." BRA director Marisa Lago said she could not speak in depth about Mandela because her agency is involved in several legal battles over the project. But she said the agency's vote creating the fund on Dec. 11, 1986, was contingent on Mourad selling the project. She said once the sale fell through, and Mourad secured federal rent subsidies for all 276 apartments at Mandela, the BRA was relieved of any obligation to the Washington Street project. "I can understand the confusion, but that fund never truly existed," she said. "So once we felt affordable housing was assured at Westminster, we put the money into other initiatives to preserve and create affordable housing." Mourad has spent more than $1 million over the last decade on lawsuits against a host of city, state and federal agencies, and has built a reputation as a congenitally squeaky wheel. He even hired a high-powered team from Regan Communications to present his complaints about the disputed funds to the Globe. He also provided a slew of documents buttressing his case that the BRA was committed to use $200,000, plus all proceeds from an unrelated settlement with a Back Bay condominium dealer, for a fund to help subsidize rents or promote a tenant-owned cooperative at Mandela.
The documents seem to indicate that the BRA voted to establish the fund with proceeds "dedicated exclusively for the Project," although the certificate of vote does permit the agency to spend the funds on other projects if Mandela secures "adequate further rent subsidies." A December 1988 letter from former BRA director Stephen Coyle confirms that the agency had decided to allocate $25,000 from the fund to help them hire a consultant to pursue a co-op. And a January 1989 letter from attorney Saul Schapiro, whose firm eventually received most of the original $200,000, said the BRA hoped Mandela would receive more than the $700,000 "already committed to the project" at that time. Mourad, who has many mortgages on the project and says he is millions of dollars in debt, said he had hoped the fund would help him sell Mandela to his tenants, ensuring permanent affordability at the project. With project-based rent subsidies under attack in Washington, he said he has no idea what will happen when his subsidy contracts expire in November 1996. "It's a real mess," he said. "The tenants are scared. They've been told there's a pool of money, and now it's gone." Lago said that if the tenants were told that money was available for them, they were misinformed. She said the BRA vote to establish the Westminster Fund was part of a regulatory agreement that was never signed. In any case, she said the BRA voted in March 1991 that proceeds from the Back Bay Restorations settlement should be "unencumbered by any prior agreement." "There was no deal," she said. "I'm very sorry if expectations were raised, but we didn't try to raise them." Lago would not break down how the Back Bay settlement money, nearly $800,000, has been spent. But she confirmed an internal BRA accounting of the original $200,000 was correct: $163,822 to the law firm of Saul Schapiro, $35,000 to other law firms, and $4,500 to State Street Trust. She said that all the payments involved affordable housing initiatives including Roxbury Crossing and Parmalee Court in Roxbury. Mourad and his new public relations team said they had never before heard the BRA claim the fund had never existed. "What planet are they on?" said George Regan, head of Regan Communications. "They're like a weather vane: They say one thing one day, another thing when the Globe calls." In any case, Lago said the BRA is still committed to helping Mandela's tenants pursue a cooperative, and the US Department of Housing is also looking for funding sources to finance a sale. The project is in decent physical condition; its financial condition is another question altogether. "We all want to go forward with a co-op, but they don't really want poor people to get their way," said Thelma Barros, 36, a Mandela resident. "We've got a lot of questions about this, and we're not hearing a lot of answers." © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
ROXBURY TENANTS PROTEST, BACK LANDLORD
Author(s): Maria Sacchetti, Contributing Reporter
Date: August 15, 1990 Page: 51 Section: METRO
Nearly 100 tenants from the Mandela housing development in Roxbury demonstrated at the state Department of Public Health and the State House yesterday after the apartment owner, Alphonse Mourad, said the state was trying to evict them. The tenants were bused from the Washington Street development to the Public , Health Department on Tremont Street to "show support" for Mourad at a hearing to discuss alleged sanitary code violations in four of the 267 units. But several tenants said they had requested the inspection and that the protest was a "trick." Some tenants and others claimed Mourad played on the tenants' fears of homelessness to garner their support. Mourad, who requested the hearing, asserted the investigation by Attorney General James Shannon was part of a conspiracy to oust him and his 1,500 residents, most of whom are black or Hispanic. However, after the tenants left for a rally at the State House, Mourad agreed to make "reasonable repairs," his lawyer, Stephen Salon, said. Before the 11 a.m. hearing, building managers issued a press release from Mourad and "the tenants" alleging the city wants to force a foreclosure and build new housing for whites on the property. Mourad has filed several lawsuits against the city, including one charging lack of police protection in the area, Salon said. Shannon "wants to hang a slumlord and get a little publicity," Mourad said at the hearing. "That's why the whole city's out to crucify Al Mourad." But Van Dunn, deputy commissioner of DPH, said the state was simply doing its job. Dan Sheehan, administrative assistant for the Boston Inspectional Services Department, said the city had previously investigated complaints in the complex but was not involved in the current investigation. Priscilla Fox, attorney for DPH, said an inspection showed mice and rat infestation, doors hanging off cabinets, tiles falling from walls, missing window screens, "scalding" hot water, and faulty ventilation devices. After listening to the list of violations, several of the tenants, including those protesting, said the problems exist. © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
ROXBURY RESIDENTS VENT FRUSTRATION BY RENAMING COMPLEX 'MANDELA'
Author(s): Jim Gomez, Contributing Reporter Date:
July 12, 1987 Page: 35 Section: METRO Residents
of a Roxbury housing development decided that the best way to show their frustration with City Hall over the project's impending change of ownership was to throw a "party of emancipation" and announce the new name for the complex: Mandela Development. Yesterday, an estimated 1,000 residents of the 276-unit development, located a stone's throw from the abandoned elevated Orange Line, gathered under a bright yellow-and-white tent for an afternoon of hot dogs, music, and mutual support. Tenants said they were temporarily putting aside their fears of gentrification along the Washington Street corridor and their charges that for years they have not had proper city services. For most tenants, it was a time to be heated not by housing issues but by the summer sun. "We've been sold up the river so many times here," said Barbara Jones, a resident and organizer of the party. "But today, we just want to have a good time." As children raced by on scooters and bicycles, the parents said they would forget for one day that the project, formerly called the Westminster Willard Development, would be sold for the second time in six years. Many of the residents carried pastel-colored balloons and sported gray T- shirts that bore one word: MANDELA, for Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned South African opposition leader against apartheid. "It's a good time to meet all the neighbors, and the music's good," said Sherry Vanderhorst as she wrestled with her 2-year-old son, Arrey. "You want to buy a baby?" she asked, smiling. Nearby stood Andrew Jones, who organized a movement last year to put a controversial nonbinding referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they wanted to reincorporate a large segment of Boston into a new city called Mandela. "This act of changing the name of the development is more principle than politics," Jones said. "These people are talking about empowerment over their lives. And with empowerment comes responsibility, which brings change." But the party and the name change drew criticism from neighbors as close as a block away. Garland Devan, a member of United Emmanuel Holiness Church, questioned the wisdom of using the name Mandela for the development. "It seems to enforce the idea of separatism," said Devan, to the nods of fellow church members who were manning a yard sale. According to Barbara Jones, who is a board member of the development's Tuckerman Tenant Union, tenants have fought for more than a year to prevent the sale of the buildings they occupy to developer Edmund Shamsi. The sale was negotiated through the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and residents charge the agency lied to them about the proceedings. The name of the project was changed with the approval of the current owner, Alfonse Mourad. Mourad, who bought the 22-building complex from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, was forced to put the property up for sale through the BRA after he encountered tax problems. The BRA has negotiated a purchase-and-sale agreement with Shamsi without Mourad's knowledge, he charges. BRA officials could not be reached for comment yesterday on the charges. "When we found out that Mourad was having tax problems and was going to sell the place, we were devastated," said Barbara Jones. She said tenants rallied around him because of the positive changes he helped bring about. They lobbied city officials, including BRA director Stephen Coyle and Don Gillis, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services. In a phone conversation with BRA spokesman Peter Drier in September, Jones said, she received an assurance that the property would not be sold to Shamsi, whom she says tenants do not trust. Yesterday, as Big Bird and the Cookie Monster mingled with the young, smiling faces, petitions demanding Coyle's resignation were quietly passed around. "Even though we are mostly poor, we should have a say in the property. We are not stupid, and we should have a say so in this," said Barbara Jones. [ Click here for easy-print version ] © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company
Beacon, residents to own Mandela
Boston Herald; Boston, Mass.; Sep 27, 1997; BERNARD WOLFSON; Abstract:Opening a new chapter in the troubled history of lower Roxbury's Mandela housing development, a federal bankruptcy judge yesterday awarded the project to a new partnership owned jointly by Beacon Properties and Mandela's tenants.Full Text:
Copyright Boston Herald Library Sep 27, 1997
Opening a new chapter in the troubled history of lower Roxbury's Mandela housing development, a federal bankruptcy judge yesterday awarded the project to a new partnership owned jointly by Beacon Properties and Mandela's tenants. Bankruptcy Judge Carol J. Kenner's ruling cut all ties between Mandela and its former owner, Alphonse Mourad. Mourad lost the housing project to a court-appointed trustee after he filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year amid charges of gross mismanagement. The new limited partnership between Beacon and the Mandela Residents Cooperative Association gives each 50 percent equity. The tenants group can buy out Beacon for $1 within five to seven years. The partnership has a capital budget of $18 million, including $4 million for Mourad's creditors and $11 million to renovate the 276-unit, 10-building affordable housing project. A consortium of investors will put up the $11 million to obtain tax credits. Mourad charged that the tenants were being duped by Beacon, the city of Boston and the state. He said they want the site for more lucrative commercial development. But the deal stipulates that in exchange for tax credits, Mandela must remain an affordable housing development.
Councilors press BRA on $200G pledged to low-income tenants Boston Herald;
Boston, Mass.; May 5, 1995; DAVID WEBER; Abstract:Two city councilors are demanding Boston Redevelopment Authority records to explain what happened to $200,000 pledged to preserve affordable housing for a group of subsidized Roxbury tenants.But BRA director Marisa Lago said there is a simple reason why the money was never given to the tenants when it was promised by former BRA officials in 1986.Full Text:
Copyright Boston Herald Library May 5, 1995
Two city councilors are demanding Boston Redevelopment Authority records to explain what happened to $200,000 pledged to preserve affordable housing for a group of subsidized Roxbury tenants. But BRA director Marisa Lago said there is a simple reason why the money was never given to the tenants when it was promised by former BRA officials in 1986. Lago said the $200,000, part of a sum residents at the Mandela development hoped to use to establish a tenant-owned cooperative, was dependent upon landlord Alphonse Mourad selling the property in 1986. That sale fell through. Under the agreement at the time, Lago said, the BRA was free to use the $200,000 for other affordable housing projects if the Mandela development, formerly known as Westminster-Willard, received other subsidies. Lago said that condition was fulfilled when the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidized 100 percent of the units there. However, councilors Richard Iannella and Gareth Saunders said the BRA, whose five board members are appointed by the mayor (four) and the governor (one) is not accountable. The councilors said they want a detailed accounting of how the $200,000 was spent. "These people (tenants) feel neglected and they want to know what happened to the money," said Iannella, chairman of the council's Planning and Economic Development Committee. Sub Title: [03 Edition]