Posted by Mark Smith on May 14, 1999 at 01:06:39:
In Reply to: A.G. Spitzer Asked to Oust Nassau Rent Official posted by Mark Smith on May 14, 1999 at 00:59:59:
The state attorney general should oust a member of the Nassau County Rent Guidelines Board who is also one of the state's most prominent landlord lawyers, a Nassau legislator said yesterday.
Legis. Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck), vexed by more than a year of unanswered demands of Republican county lawmakers to remove lawyer Robert Goldstein, yesterday wrote Attorney General Eliot Spitzer requesting his ouster. "The time has come for intervention from a higher level of government."
Goldstein, 51, was appointed by the Nassau Legislature in 1997 to fill a vacancy on the board that annually sets guidelines for rent in the county's 20,000 rent-stabilized apartment units. The attorney is one of five "public" members of a nine-person board that also includes two tenant representatives and two landlord representatives.
Public representatives are expected to be impartial, but critics charged Goldstein cannot be because most of his law practice is devoted to defending landlords. Goldstein said he was helpful - others said he was instrumental - in crafting the 1997 state laws on rent control that allow landlords to raise rent 20 percent on vacant apartments.
Spitzer would not comment yesterday, saying his office had not received Altmann's letter. His spokesman, Darren Dopp, said the matter will be reviewed by Spitzer's public-integrity unit when the letter is received.
"How can a man like Mr. Goldstein be appointed to the board when his chief income is as the major attorney for the landlords?" asked Great Neck Plaza Housing Commissioner Jeanne Kippel. Kippel is a tenant of a rent-stabilized building who testified to the Nassau Legislature last year that Goldstein is rude to tenants who speak athearings. "He has no objectivity."
Goldstein countered he has acted fairly on the board and insisted there are no laws that preclude him from serving. He has no landlord clients in Nassau County, he said, although some are represented by his firm,
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