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Westchester Legislators Ask Court To Recover $17 Million In Housing Money

County Legislator John Testa, left, and  County Executive Rob Astorino."Many of the municipalities that HUD sought to punish by reallocating the funds. . . aren’t even subject to the affordable housing settlement," Testa said on Monday.
County Legislator John Testa, left, and County Executive Rob Astorino."Many of the municipalities that HUD sought to punish by reallocating the funds. . . aren’t even subject to the affordable housing settlement," Testa said on Monday. Photo Credit: File photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Board of Legislators authorized County Attorney Robert Meehan on Monday to seek a federal judge's help recovering up to $17 million lost during a dispute with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD withheld the money, primarily Community Block Development Grants, from towns and villages throughout Westchester -- including many not cited for failing to provide affordable housing.

HUD has said it withheld the money because County Executive Rob Astorino did not submit an "Analysis of Impediments" acceptable to the federal agency. But on Feb. 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that HUD's actions are subject to review by the federal judge overseeing the settlement agreement. The appeals court ruling prompted Monday's special meeting and 13-0 vote by the county legislature.  Four legislators were absent.

County Legislator John Testa, R-Peekskill, said, "It is unfortunate that we have to go these lengths to try and recuperate funds that HUD had no right to withhold in the first place. ... Many of the municipalities that HUD sought to punish by reallocating the funds, like my hometown of Peekskill, aren’t even subject to the affordable housing settlement.”

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