Three top officials of Brooklyn's Luna Park co-op are accused in a sweeping 78-count indictment of taking nearly $1 million in cash bribes to get ineligible applicants into apartments, the borough's district attorney and the city's Department of Investigation jointly announced Tuesday.
The indicted women, who include the president and treasurer of the Board of Directors and an officer manager, allegedly used their ill-gotten gains to buy luxury goods, including dozens of fur coats, designer handbags and jewelry.
Prosecutors say they for years controlled the application process for the sprawling Coney Island complex, which is part of the state Mitchell-Lama program to provide affordable rental and co-op housing to moderate- and middle-income families. The co-op has nearly 1,600 apartments and houses about 6,000 people. It's one of the biggest Mitchell-Lama developments in the state, and its co-op apartments are in incredibly high demand.
Anna Treybich, 71, Irina Zeltser, 66, and Karina Andriyan, 38, all of Coney Island, are expected to be arraigned later Tuesday on dozens of counts of conspiracy, grand larceny, forgery, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and commercial bribe receiving.
Treybich and Zeltser were members of the co-op's board and Andriyan was the office manager. They allegedly accepted a total of $874,000 in cash bribes to get people into 18 apartments for which they otherwise weren't eligible. The fair market value of the 18 apartments was about $5 million, prosecutors say.
The board members controlled the application process, which often sees lengthy wait lists if the wait lists are still open. According to NYC's website, many Mitchell-Lama waiting lists are closed because there are already enough applications listed to fill vacancies "for the foreseeable future."
City records show the wait list for a studio apartment in Luna Park is 585, while the wait lists for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments range from 3,806 people to 9,799 people.
A call to Metro Management, which is listed as the management company for Luna Park, was not immediately returned.
In a statement, Matthew Creegan, spokesman for the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development said: "HPD takes its oversight of the Mitchell-Lama program extremely seriously. We will continue to work closely with the DOI on their ongoing investigation, and have already instituted several changes to strengthen our processes to ensure that there is fair access to this vital source of affordable housing for New Yorkers."
Information on attorneys for the three indicted women wasn't immediately available.