New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Greg B. Smith

New York Daily News Law firm owed $300G by de Blasio lobbied mayor's top aides, won big favor for high-rise developer by Greg B. Smith

Law firm owed $300G by de Blasio lobbied mayor's top aides, won big favor for high-rise developer

A law firm that Mayor de Blasio owes $300,000 in unpaid legal fees to last fall won a zoning loophole for one of its developer clients after lobbying two of the mayor’s top aides, a Daily News investigation has found.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel pressed Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Marisa Lago, the mayor’s appointee as City Planning Commission chairwoman, to halt rezoning that would have killed a residential tower being built on the East Side by the law firm’s client, developer Jonathan Kalikow.

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By then, Councilman Ben Kallos argues, the damage was done. He says the delay allowed Kalikow to build enough of the tower’s foundation to claim the building as substantially completed – the trigger for approval of the entire building by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

“Without this bogus clause, this rezoning could have been done weeks earlier and the community wouldn’t be facing an appeal to a rightfully won rezoning,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan), who opposes Kalikow’s tower.

New York Daily News East Side residents clash with developer in zoning war over project to build 78-story luxury tower by Greg B. Smith

East Side residents clash with developer in zoning war over project to build 78-story luxury tower

Last month, Kallos wrote to the department questioning the use of “public safety” to justify the after-hours permits. None of the work cited — including excavation and pouring concrete — “should qualify for ‘public safety,’” Kallos wrote.

New York Daily News NYCHA plans to stick lower-income residents on bottom floors of new building to give wealthier tenants the top market-rate homes by Greg B. Smith

NYCHA plans to stick lower-income residents on bottom floors of new building to give wealthier tenants the top market-rate homes

Half the units will be market rate, half affordable, with most of the lower-income tenants on the lower floors and almost all of the wealthier residents on the upper floors, according to Councilman Benjamin Kallos.

“All the low-income people will be stuck in the shadows with the high-income people living above them,” said Kallos (D-Manhattan), who was briefed by NYCHA on the project. “The majority of the low-income units will be in the bottom 20 stories and they will have windows facing other NYCHA tenants. We will have effectively walled in the low-income tenants.”

New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA and Upper East Side tenants clash over plan to turn playground into luxury housing by Greg B. Smith

EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA and Upper East Side tenants clash over plan to turn playground into luxury housing

The Housing Authority insists that tenants of Holmes Towers on the Upper East Side have embraced its ambitious plan to raise cash by building luxury apartments on what’s now their playground.

That’s news to them.

The tenant “stakeholder committee” organized by NYCHA to vet the plan — along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilman Ben Kallos — made clear in a recent letter obtained by the Daily News that they never signed off on it.

New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA tenants fear de Blasio's plan for pricey rentals on their grounds will eventually force them out by Greg B. Smith

EXCLUSIVE: NYCHA tenants fear de Blasio's plan for pricey rentals on their grounds will eventually force them out

Councilman Ben Kallos, whose district includes Holmes, said de Blasio promised to meet personally with residents next month, though Kallos still thinks the plan is wrong.

New York Daily News EXCLUSIVE: Sutton Place residents shocked to learn new luxury apartment complex will be 90 stories high, not 30 like they were told by developers by Greg B. Smith

EXCLUSIVE: Sutton Place residents shocked to learn new luxury apartment complex will be 90 stories high, not 30 like they were told by developers

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said he first heard of the huge tower on April Fool’s Day and was “incredibly concerned” and will push for a land-use review.