Edie Windsor is used to waiting. Ms. Windsor was engaged for 40 years before her 2007 Canadian wedding to Thea Spyer. The pair waited 30 years to apply to be domestic partners, under a New York City law introduced in the 1990s. Now Ms. Windsor, 83, is waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear her challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, with a decision expected Monday morning.
Ms. Windsor is requesting a refund of the $363,053 in estate taxes that she paid to the IRS after being left all of Ms. Spyer’s property when she died in 2009. Had the pair been classified as married, Ms. Windsor would have been able to inherit the property shielded from taxes. Instead she was classified as if they had no relation to each other.
Ms. Windsor’s case has the potential to help strike down the definition of marriage in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, where it is defined as between a man and a woman. If she wins, the federal government will recognize the marriages of same sex couples in states where gay marriage is already legal, resolving a currently conflicting definition between the federal and state governments. The district court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging California’s Proposition 8 that prohibited gay marriage, declared a broader right to gay marriage, but SCOTUS is viewed as more likely to take Windsor.
“I’ve been asked, how would I feel if we win?” said Windsor. “What would that mean? It would mean everything. The beginning of the end of the stigma.”
James D. Harmon Jr. may have taken his battle against rent control as far as it could legally go, but that doesn’t mean that the owner of the beautiful Upper West Side brownstone has abandoned the fight.
Mr. Harmon is now considering the only sure way to escape the system he despises: selling his house, the New York Post reports.
Mr. Harmon, who grew up in the brownstone and lives in an apartment there with his wife Jeanne, has spent years waging a legal campaign against his three rent-regulated tenants (he also has three market-rate tenants), who pay about $1,000 a month and have lived in the building since the 1970s, when they signed leases with Mr. Harmon’s grandfather.
Yet more good news for tenants living in rent-regulated apartments! Rents will will still be going up, of course—don’t be crazy, the rent always goes up—but this year could see the lowest hike in a decade.
The Rent Guidelines Board has set one of the benchmarks used to determine rent increases—the rise in landlords’ operating costs—at 2.8 percent, The New York Post reports.
Today marks a day of rejoicing for residents living in one of the city’s many rent-regulated apartments. Break out the Andre!
The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to rent control brought by former federal prosecutor James D. Harmon Jr., the owner of a five-story townhouse on West 76th Street. Mr. Harmon, who grew up in the brownstone and now lives there with his wife Jeanne, inherited the building and its three rent-controlled tenants from his grandfather. The building also has three market-rate tenants.
In a city of renters, where the approximately 47% percent of the city’s 2.2 million rental units are subject to rent control or rent stabilization laws, the Harmon case touched New Yorkers’ notoriously hard-to-reach hearts. The case’s potential to radically upset New York City housing policy, as well as rent regulation laws across the country, left those on both sides of issue anxiously awaiting the court’s decision.
The Supreme Court has declined to hear the challenge to rent control brought by former federal prosecutor James D. Harmon Jr., the owner of a five-story townhouse on West 76th Street.
Mr. Harmon, who grew up in the brownstone and now lives there with his wife Jeanne, inherited the building and its three rent-controlled tenants Read More
That’s pretty much the full story at this point. “The court has not granted or denied that case yet,” a Supreme Court public information officer just informed The Observer. Such announcements are made every Monday, and so New York will be on the edge of its rent-regulated seats for another seven days. Check back then to see if landlords citywide will finally have their day in court. The Supreme Court has until June to decide whether or not it will hear the case—a waiting game worse than the TKTS booth.
Forget sweet nothings and exclusive party invitations. The two words most New Yorkers long to hear are “rent controlled.” But like so many (impossible?) dreams, this, too, may soon be dead.
The Supreme Court could decide today whether or not to hear a case brought by former federal prosecutor James D. Harmon Jr., the owner of a five-story townhouse on West 76th Street. Mr. Harmon, who grew up in the brownstone and now lives there with his wife Jeanne, inherited the building and its three rent-controlled tenants from his grandfather. He argues that New York City’s rent laws violate the Constitution by taking his property without just compensation.
The three tenants with rent control pay approximately $1,000 a month for one-bedroom apartments, about 59 percent below market rate, according to court documents. Three other tenants in the building pay market rents.
“For 50 years my family has been subsidizing the lifestyles of tenants,” Mr. Harmon, who is 68, told the Observer on Friday. He and his wife were both getting older, Mr. Harmon said, and cannot afford to do it anymore. “If there is a problem here, then society as a whole should bear the burden.”
Even with a Supreme Court battle looming in the background, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg didn’t hesitate to sign a City Council bill extending New York’s Rent Stabilization Law through April 2015.
“In order to extend the Rent Stabilization Law, the City must determine that a housing emergency exists to merit the need for rent stabilization,” Bloomberg said in a release about the bill’s passage, citing the city’s vacancy rate of 3.12 percent to declare the requisite emergency.
Ever elusive as they are, the Supreme Court’s public persona is minimal at best, let alone sightings of them outside of the courtroom doing Regular Person Things. It’s one of many reasons why today’s Page Six item about Sonia Sotomayor is particularly wonderful: