Second Circuit Ruling Stops HUD from Reallocating $10 M Designated for Westchester

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WPCNR WESTCHESTER LAW JOURNAL. From Westchester County Department of Communications. May 1, 2015:

 Westchester County won a legal victory Friday in its battle with the Department of Housing and Urban Development when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted the county an injunction that prohibits the federal agency from reallocating to other communities approximately $10 million in grants that had been designated for Westchester.

Friday’s ruling follows a prior Second Circuit victory for the county in February. County Executive Robert P. Astorino went to court challenging HUD’s decision to withhold funds from the county simply on the agency’s assertion that the county was not in compliance with the 2009 federal housing settlement, approved by Astorino’s predecessor,  which calls for developing 750 units of affordable housing in 31 communities by the end of next year.

Astorino contended that the county was in compliance with the settlement and that any contention that it was not is for the courts to decide. The Second Circuit unanimously agreed with Westchester County, saying HUD’s actions were subject to “judicial review.”

Over the course of the dispute, HUD has reallocated roughly $10 million designated for Westchester for the years 2011 and 2012 to other communities. Today’s decision prohibits HUD from reallocating another $10 million for 2013 and 2014 that it is currently withholding from the county.

“In February, the court said HUD was subject to the law just like everyone else,” said Astorino. “Today it’s saying HUD has no right to give away the money at the heart of the court case. Both decisions are victories for Westchester and for the country against an aggressive and overreaching federal government.”

The case now continues for a decision on the merits.

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