BFC Partners is a real estate firm which develops, builds, and owns properties in New York City. Donald Capoccia founded the firm along with the fathers of the other two current principals, Brandon Baron and Joseph Ferrara. BFC specializes in large projects often subsidized by the government. According to their website, BFC is “selecting neighborhoods on the verge,” and then “pursuing multiple projects to bring momentum to the upswing,” aims to “jump-start the neighborhoods around them—economically, culturally, and socially.”
In other words, BFC’s business model is gentrification. As a leading developer of government-subsidized “affordable housing,” BFC Partners turns tax dollars into privately owned and operated properties which have the unfortunate effect of displacing existing residents. People living in these “neighborhoods on the verge” who can’t afford the attendant increases in housing costs brought on by BFC’s work in, as they put it on their strategy page, “creating vibrant community hubs, by providing great homes and destinations for New Yorkers, and by delivering great returns for investors,” are being displaced.
BFC Partners has a history of poor quality construction at multiple developments as well as a reliance on irresponsible construction contractors who break the law and undermine wages, benefits, and training standards for workers.
BFC builds defective structures that burden homeowners with costly repairs, prolonged legal battles, and potential serious health hazards.
Nowhere is BFC’s deficient construction more evident than at Madison Park, an affordable housing co-op the City authorized BFC to develop in 2001. Systemic construction issues have caused serious water infiltration throughout the building. Masonry issues ranging from improperly cast stone to masonry sealant failures have caused building code violations and rapid deterioration of the building. Similar problems are reported in luxury units BFC built as well.
BFC’s Toren building in downtown Brooklyn (which also houses their offices), for example, was issued 37 safety violations by the Environmental Control Board between August 2008 and November 2009. Problems on this project included: three workers injured in serious fall accidents on three separate occasions with lack of safety equipment a contributing factor in at least two of these injuries; a partial building collapse during the initial demolition phase; a crane striking a bus with a load of steel beams.
BFC and Donald Capoccia benefit both from their own exploitive labor practices and those of businesses with which they subcontract. Capoccia has bragged to the press about hiring day laborers to get his company started. More recently, BFC was sued by a former worker alleging violations of minimum wage and overtime laws and allowing a hostile environment permissive of sexual harassment. This case was settled out of court. Many of the construction contractors BFC chooses to work with—and who employ the majority of workers on BFC’s development projects—have a history of illegal and exploitive labor practices, including having been the subject of class action or other lawsuits and alleged violations of minimum wage, overtime, and workers compensation law.
BFC does not keep its commitments to the community, project stakeholders, or workers. BFC and Donald Capoccia capitalize on evading legal and moral responsibilities. BFC stands accused of failing
to follow through on its settlement agreement with the Madison Park owners to fix the construction defects. Homeowners are currently suing to get the settlement enforced. BFC attempted to evade a
settlement offered to a worker by asking the court to invalidate it based on the means of communications. BFC Construction was the party that had offered the settlement amount and communicated the offer via email. In yet another case, BFC is accused of shifting assets among its many entities to avoid paying a judgment against it. Capoccia and/or his companies have been repeatedly in arrears in paying their taxes.