The Bizarre Manhattan Co-op Market and Those Who Make It So

I’m still on vacation but dabbling on the computer this AM as the rain continues to come down…the kids and I did have a nice swim in the rain though.  Anyway, I just received this email from a TrueGotham reader specificaly asking if i would post it so here it is:

Dear True Gotham,
I had a really intriguing encounter with an NYC broker recently, and I have a few questions that I would like to bounce by the NYC scene.

Recently, I was working with a broker to purchase a CO-OP. The CO-OP exists in one of the few areas of Manhattan that you can still find a reasonable deal. The unit was a 1 Bedroom being sold for the same price as other one bedroom units in the building.

While we were working with the broker to prepare the application, there were a few instances where we submitted it, and the boards screener bounced it back to us. One of these instances was due to the fact that I am a small business owner, so –she wanted to see a letter from a CPA stating my current years salary.

After all of this, we ended up losing the place. "Word on the street" was that the board did not find us financially fit, which doesn’t make any sense since we were able to put 20% down, have some money left over in our bank account and our combined income on a yearly basis exceeds 50% of the cost of the unit. … Whatever. It wasn’t meant to be.

The wife and I were lucky enough to find a better place, for less money less than two weeks later. I contacted the broker from the first place and kindly requested that all of my paperwork be returned to me so I could repurpose it for my new application. I got the paperwork 24 hours later.

This is where things got a little strange. In addition to all of my paperwork I found something odd. I found a copy of the letter that my CPA put together stating my 2007 salary and bonus had the company logo, company name, and my name blanked out.

My CPA and I confronted the broker, only to receive a response of "I don’t know why this was done, I really don’t remember. But I ASSURE YOU that it was done in your best interest."

Our lawyers are now drafting all sorts of legal documents to just receive legal assurance that the CPA’s signature will not be used for any reason at all by anyone within the company.

I could imagine plenty of illicit reasons why this could have been done…. A nice salary… a CPA’s signature That’s the easy part.

Can anyone come up with any LEGITIMATE reason that this could be done?

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

I think it’s a bit odd that the CPA letter was tampered with either before or after submission to the Co-op Board.  As far as a LEGITIMATE reason for this being done, I would supect their could only be one.  Assuming the letter was very well written, it is not atypical for a real estate agent to white out the names, signature, and letterhead only to provide the letter as a sample letter for future buyers.  Perhaps this agent indeed made this letter part of his "sample package" for his future clients and didn’t keep an original copy.  When you asked for your paperwork he provided what he had? 

Any TG readers have any experiences or advice?

11 Responses to The Bizarre Manhattan Co-op Market and Those Who Make It So