Lansing Housing Coalition seeks Fed. investigation into City Council

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LANSING, MI (WLNS)- Last week, in a four-to-four vote, Lansing City Council did not approve a proposal for a tax break for a mixed housing project in Old Town.

The project would have changed an abandoned warehouse on Washington Avenue into a retail space with affordable housing apartments.

Mayor Virg Bernero told 6 News it was an important step towards securing the development.

Today Bernero and a dozen others called out the council members who voted against the project

“Just voted to kill 24 affordable housing units in old town, why? What is going on here?” Mayor Bernero said at the podium.

According to Mayor Virg Bernero the city council’s vote to not move the project forward is discriminatory.

“Not only, like I said, morally wrong but probably illegal to say poor people shouldn’t live here. You can’t use that as a reason for denying housing, for denying that opportunity.” Mayor Bernero said.

According to Julie Powers of the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition, a formal complaint is being filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, asking for an investigation into the Council’s vote on the project.

“We want to continue that success with a proven developer on that corner in old town and create housing opportunities for all” Julie Powers said.

Judi Brown Clarke voted against the proposal, she told 6 News she thinks the Mayor is covering up a bigger issue, the continuation of the dispute involving the former City Attorney-Janene McIntyre.

“We definitely see it as a distraction, what is the deal with the separation agreement with Ms. McIntyre, how was it calculated that the severance pay came out to 160 thousand dollars. We are continuing to pay her healthcare and so on.” Judi Brown Clarke said.

But the Mayor sticks to his story, “They made an egregious mistake last Monday, and they have an opportunity to fix it before they are sued and forced to fix it.” Mayor Bernero said.

Councilmembers Judi Brown Clarke, Jody Washington, Adam Hussain, and Carol Wood all voted against the bill.

When Ms. Clark was asked if the council was going to reopen discussion about this vote, she gave 6 News a very strong “no”.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

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