Resident Didn't Disclose Business Income
Facts: A New York resident's lease requires the resident to furnish the owner with complete and accurate information regarding his household income. In 2006, the housing authority's acting inspector general informed the site manager that they had conducted an investigation of the resident and determined from a city's vendor questionnaire that he had owned a "cleaning and janitorial services company... that contracted with New York City and the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey" since 1988, and that he had failed to report income from this company to the housing authority. Building management was then directed to recalculate the resident's rent from February 1996 to November 2004, and the rent calculation showed that he owed $20,244.
Sometime thereafter, the Office of the Inspector General arrested the resident and the District Attorney's Office charged him with grand larceny in the third degree, falsifying business records in the first degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. The resident pled guilty to petit larceny, admitted to stealing money from the housing authority and the Social Security Administration, and was thereafter sentenced to a discharge conditioned on his signing a repayment agreement. He then signed a stipulation with the housing authority, agreeing that he owed $22,145, which he would pay in monthly $50 installments.
Shortly after, the housing authority notified the resident that it would be seeking to terminate his tenancy. At the hearing, the resident denied that he had lied about his income. He also admitted that his federal income tax returns don't accurately reflect his income, as they don't set forth his business expenses, and alleged that the city had failed to pay his business in full. The hearing officer determined that termination was appropriate. The resident appealed the officer's decision, arguing that it was arbitrary.
Ruling: A New York trial court ruled against the resident.
Reasoning: Here, the decision to terminate the resident's tenancy was based on all the documentation showing that the resident didn't disclose his business income to the local housing authority. Although it may be true that he may have earned very little from his business because the city failed to fully pay him, he provided no evidence demonstrating that he didn't earn business income or that he earned less than is reflected on his tax returns during the years in question. Consequently, the hearing officer's decision is supported by the record, and hasn't been shown to be either arbitrary or capricious.
- Hernandez v. New York City Housing Authority, October 2011