1980

  • Arnie Rothbaum succeeds Richard Panebianco as Project Director.

1981

  • Paul Acinapura successfully advocates to the State for the utilization of bond financing, traditionally reserved for hospitals only, to use in building a new, dramatically expanded, modern facility for the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center. The expansion enabled the organization to handle 50,000 patient visits per year.

1982

  • Brooklyn A assists in the creation of a private school in East New York, Bethlehem Baptist Academy serving grades K-8. Decades later, in 2000, Allison Dunlop joins Brooklyn A’s CED Program as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and assists Bethlehem Baptist Academy to charter and convert into the Trey Whitfield School. Today, the school educated more than 500 young men and women each year.
  • Paul Acinapura working with Joe Francois and Maurice Reid, represents the Brownsville Community Development Corporation in founding the Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center: a nurturing, community-based health facility meant to replace hospital emergency rooms and private Medicaid mills as the place where local residents could go for high-quality health care services. Brooklyn A and Brownsville Multi-Service remain community partners to this day.

1983

  • Gary Connor, Brooklyn A’s Director of Litigation succeeds Ira Bezoza as Managing Attorney of East Brooklyn Office.

1984

  • In response to pressure from the White House, Congress drastically cuts federal funding for legal services. As a result, the Legal Services Corporation had dramatic reductions in the availability of services, and Brooklyn A experienced a reduction of staff to 9 attorneys, creating the need for Brooklyn A’s subsequent aggressive diversification of funding sources.

1985

  • Marty Needelman succeeds Arnie Rothbaum as Brooklyn A’s Project Director and Chief Counsel; Paul Acinapura succeeds Gary Connor as Managing Attorney of the East Brooklyn office and is designated as program’s Deputy Administrator and General Counsel.
  • Victor Torres joins Brooklyn A and becomes first non-attorney to head a substantive unit, the Government Benefits Unit. 
  • Rick Wagner joins Brooklyn A as its Director of Litigation, succeeding Gary Connor in that role. Gary joins the NYS Attorney General’s office where he later became head of its Private Housing Finance Bureau and then as General Counsel to the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal, to the present day.
  • Joe Holly comes to Brooklyn A to establish the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation (NEBHDCo.)

1986

  • Rick Wagner, in conjunction with Richard Rivera of PRLDEF, represent the Parents Association of PS 16 in the “Wall case” against the Board of Education’s attempt to create a segregated wing of a public school for the exclusive use of Hasidic Jewish girls from local Williamsburg private religious schools, ultimately leading to a unanimous US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding the approach to violate federal civil rights laws barring racial, religious and gender based discrimination in the use of public funds and institutions.
  • Brooklyn A attorneys Rick Wagner and Hillary Exter represent OHBTO and a broad community-wide coalition of individuals and organizations in litigation challenging NYC’s “Super Bowl Sunday” unannounced closing of the “Tin House” fire house.

1987

  • Leander (Lee) McRae joins Brooklyn A as a staff attorney and, later, becomes Director of the Housing Law Unit. He currently serves as Program Director.
  • Led by State Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the entire North & East Brooklyn Assembly and State Senate delegation, and with the united support of the entire network of major community group collaborators throughout North & East Brooklyn, Brooklyn A is awarded a $360,000 Brooklyn Assembly member item that enables the hiring of six new attorneys in creating formalized Williamsburg’s Group Representation and East Brooklyn’s Community & Economic Development Units.

1988

  • Brooklyn A celebrates its 20th anniversary with two events.  The first, a costume party in the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, hosted by East New York native Jimmy Smits, honors 25 community leaders and is attended by over 300 guests.  The other event, an awards dinner, honored former American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association President and native of Greenpoint, Robert MacCrate of Sullivan & Cromwell, then Medicaid Prosecutor (now Brooklyn DA) Charles Hynes, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and legal services alumna Sally Hernandez-Piñero, and then-Brooklyn Law School Dean who subsequently became Federal Judge David Trager (now deceased).

1989

  • Foster Maer joins Brooklyn A as the Williamsburg office’s Litigation Director. 

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