NEW YORK CITY-Mayor Giuliani’s staff confirms that the mayor will order city comptroller Alan G. Hevesi to approve a deal for the city’s Department of Homeless Services to fund the purchase of an industrial building. Hevesi decried the deal, saying publicly that the city should not fund a sale that would benefit a criminal. At issue is the ownership of the property by Jay Weiss, who pled guilty last year to manipulating bids submitted at real estate auctions of foreclosed Brooklyn properties.

The building would be purchased by the Doe Fund, which operates the Ready Willing and Able program, providing shelter and employment opportunities to homeless men with histories of drug abuse and criminal records. While the Doe Fund is not under fire by Hevesi, neighbors living by the proposed shelter site oppose the project. The building in question is a former knitting factory at 89-111 Porter Ave. in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Residents oppose putting in a 400-bed shelter for chronically homeless men with drug addiction issues and histories of incarceration.

The focus of Hevesi’s opposition stems from the criminal past of the building’s current owner, Jay Weiss, who Hevesi argues should not benefit from a sale. Weiss paid only $12,000 last year to buy the building, which will reportedly be bought by the Doe Fund with city funding for $2.5 million. Weiss would actually never see $1.6 million of it, as that will go directly to pay for back taxes he still owes the city. The rest, about $900,000 would be divided up between other fees and Weiss.

Weiss will reportedly put what’s left for him, roughly $700,000, into a charitable foundation he established with his wife, Yitta. In the end he’ll reportedly keep about $8,000 of the profit from the sale. Hevesi argues that city money should not go to pay off Weiss’ debt to the city and that this building owner should not see any profits from taxpayer money.

Giuliani, according to his staff, argues that the shelter would be good for the city and says the comptroller’s opposition is generated more by his aspirations to become mayor than Weiss’ involvement in the plans. Giuliani says the plans for the shelter will go forward and that he is within his authority to order Hevesi to register the contract.

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