UWS Residents Won’t Have a Say in the Outcome of the Lucerne Case, Says Judge

  Last modified on November 24th, 2020

Judge Debra James has denied attorney Randy Mastro’s request to allow local residents – specifically those who are part of the West Side Community Organization – to weigh in on the outcome of the case concerning the future living arrangements of the homeless residents at the Lucerne Hotel, NY Daily News first reported.

The West Side Community Organization has been fighting to move the temporary residents to another site in the Financial District. This was initially expected to happen earlier this year, before the case was postponed.

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The judge said there was no legal precedent which would justify allowing neighbors to determine the residential status of people living near them. She also stated that she didn’t believe members of the group “demonstrated substantial interest in the outcome of the case.” She did however say that she’d allow Mastro to make his case if she could find an example of a precedent.

Michael Heller, who represents a tenant at The Lucerne, told the Daily News that “If the court had actually granted [Mastro’s] request, the request to admit [the organization] and neighborhood members into the case, it would have set a very dangerous precedent in New York — by giving communities the right to forcibly evict homeless residents,” adding that “The city has never allowed that, and this was a major effort by a well-connected and affluent community to try to change the law.”

On October 19, Judge James also ruled for a temporary restraining order which allowed the Lucerne residents to remain at the site until the next court hearing.

Judge James originally said she’d be making her decision by 5pm on Monday, November 23, according to NY1.

As of Tuesday morning, that decision has not been made. We’ll keep you posted.

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