Housing Development Fund Corporations

From Public Housing to Private Corporations

By Mary K. Fons

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In order to get from one side of the Hudson River to the other, one would need to cross a bridge, get in a boat, or be able to jump a very long distance. Since not many people want to attempt the latter, most people utilize tools like bridges or some sturdy method of transportation when they want to get from Point A to Point B.

Upon first inquiry, tenants who wish to convert their buildings from city-owned properties into private cooperatives soon realize that the road will be long - and sometimes frustrating. But tenants who choose to pursue the process to the end also realize that perhaps the best way is to form a Housing Development Fund Corporation or HDFC. When they do this, they are in essence forming that bridge from Point A to Point B, and no jumping needs to enter the picture.

According to Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, president of both 601 W. 136th Street - an HDFC co-op in Manhattan - as well as the volunteer, no-for-profit HDFC Council, a group dedicated to helping tenants take charge of their own buildings and turn them into thriving, successful cooperatives, there are over 1,000 HDFCs in New York City. That's a lot - but what does it mean to be an HDFC co-op? Is an HDFC a business? Sort of. Is it a group of people? Yes, definitely. Does every co-op need to be an HDFC co-op? It depends.

Reyes-Montblanc spoke with The Cooperator recently and said - half-jokingly - that he's been in this business for over 15 years and he still doesn't understand everything there is to know about HDFCs. But we'll try to shine the light on the subject for those who may be in the dark.

Technically speaking, HDFCs are New York State corporations governed by New York State Private Housing Finance Law and are simultaneously incorporated under New York's Business Corporation Law (BCL) so they can issue stock as a co-op corporation. Some HDFCs - though not many - also come under the guidance of non-profit laws. While this information is important to someone wanting to fully understand HDFCs, it's the very information that gets people confused. The best way to explain what an HDFC is and the purpose behind the title is to go through the process a lot of tenants follow when converting their city-owned building into a co-op housing environment.

After we understand how an HDFC is formed, the technical details make a little more sense. Say, for example, there is a building with 100 units somewhere on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Let's call it Building X. The tenants of Building X decide they want to buy their building from the city of New York and turn it into a limited liability co-op. By organizing themselves as an HDFC, they provide several avenues for themselves, the most important of these being their opportunity to utilize what's called a Tenant Interim Lease or TIL.

HDFCs and TILs go hand in hand, most of the time. The Tenant Interim Lease is a net lease that the city issues to the HDFC tenant organization - the individuals who have decided to take steps to purchase their building. Under the TIL, the tenants act as owners and managers of their building, just as though they were already operating as their own co-op. The HDFC is then required to send reports every month, detailing the progress of the building, repairs that must be made, and so forth - like a status report on a probationary social program.

After two to three years (though it can be as long as five in some cases), providing the tenant organization has proven themselves to be capable of handling and managing their building, a rehab and renovation is scheduled. The city of New York at that point would hire a private construction firm to make the necessary improvements on Building X. Oftentimes, the buildings are in a depressed state and a major overhaul would be necessary. In such cases, the tenants would be temporarily relocated to live elsewhere while the changes to the building are taking place. Relocating people for a lengthy amount of time sounds like a major inconvenience but tenants aren't quick to complain. The city didn't start its HDFC rehab program until 1995 - and before that time, buildings were sold to tenants as-is, which caused any number of safety risks and financial headaches for the brand new owners.

Once the rehabbing is done, the tenants move into their new home and voila - they are the proud shareholder-owners of an HDFC limited equity co-op, just like the tenants of 601 W. 136th Street and other co-ops. Some buildings will find the process takes longer than others but the benefits of co-op living are surely worth the wait.

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Income restrictions are the norm and both HPD and HDFC are empowered to enforce specific income guidelines. Whether the tenants are involved in the buildings' purchase from the beginning, or move in at the time of conversion, they are entitled to protection from skyrocketing rents or fees. Should any part of the building sell at any time, the HDFC plays a role in making sure that the new tenants meet the income restrictions already in place.

An HDFC is also eligible for tax breaks under Article XI: Tax Exemptions for HDFC-Owned New Construction or Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing. Under this provision, HDFCs can obtain full or partial exemption from real estate taxes for up to 40 years. This is a major coup for tenants of HDFC co-ops, though it is important to know that the tax break doesn't just happen on its own. The New York City Council must pass an HPD resolution authorizing the tax exemption. Then, the Tax Incentive Programs Unit (TIP), which can be reached by calling 212-863-6603 will issue a Certificate of Eligibility. Finally, the Department of Finance implements your building's benefit. It may sound like a lot of red tape but the reward may be worthwhile and a boon to any HDFC's operating budget. (Go to www.nyc.gov for additional information on how your HDFC can apply.)

Help is at Hand

If all this sounds convoluted and confusing, that's because it is. But help is available to deserving, committed cooperators who want to make the absolute most of their ownership and vested interest in their homes. Aside from the government Web sites and programs set up to help ease the process and aid the prosperity of new HDFC co-ops, there's also the HDFC Council, headed up by Reyes-Montblanc himself. The group, according to Reyes-Montblanc, "Usually doesn't get involved in the pre-conversion process, although many buildings' tenant associations do tend to contact us for advice and guidance as they get closer - usually about a year before conversion."

The council - an entirely volunteer endeavor - manages to do a lot with a little, not unlike the new cooperators they're helping along the way. "We don't really do outreach," says Reyes-Montblanc, "as we have very limited resources, however word-of-mouth and referrals keep us quite busy. Usually, we take the role of mentors and counselors, reviewing the building's common practices, both administrative and financial, and we make suggestions as to how to improve their business practices and how to refine their business judgment and define the role and responsibilities of the directors, both as individuals and as a board."

Reyes-Montblanc points out that not every single co-op that comes to the council is automatically granted its time and assistance. "We go through a triage and select to work only with buildings where there is a real board that demonstrates a desire and commitment to improving their deficiencies and living by their bylaws and governing documents. Some buildings we refer to the not-for-profit [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] contracted agencies for specific training or to the workshops and seminars offered by the [Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums] or the Federation."

Reyes-Montblanc points out that the HDFC Council often exhorts those who opt to convert to cooperative living to get involved politically as well. "We ask our members to seek appointments to their Community Planning Boards and School District Boards, and to develop close working relationships with elected officials. We have members in 27 of the 51 Community Planning Boards, and in some like my own CB9M in Westside Heights, we have large representation as well, as in CB4M in Hell's Kitchen and others in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. We've been able to initiate legislation that has been passed and signed into law and have two [pieces of legislation] in the works with the New York City Council."

The expectation (and hope) of the tenants of any co-op - as well as the city of New York - is that the inhabitants of an HDFC co-op community will prosper and thrive in a comfortable place in which to live. By incorporating your co-op as an HDFC, you become part of a larger community of New York cooperators.

Mary Fons is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to The Cooperator.

Comments

Sam Oglesby

My partner and I are people with modest incomes and we would like to purchase an apartment in Manahttan. Can you please advise us on how we can search for a property we could afford? Thanks. email ogl39@aol.com

betty072157@aol.com

Mr Reyes-Montblanc please, how can I will be in touch with you. Thank you.

Rene Gonzalez

Very interesting information in that article.But, how do I know if my coop is part of HFDC?. Thanks.

mei solo

my HDFC has not acceoted my maintainence for 16 months. now we are in court and I dont have all of the money what can I do? i have been beaten up by the treasurer and harrassed on several occasions what are my options?

inis

are there step by step guidelines for HDFCs and where can i find them. And can you warehouse apartment for more than 2 years when an in house is in need

Flaco

I bought shares (one appartment) in an HDFC in north brooklyn. I would like to know what the rules are if down the road I make more than the income restriction? Can I lose my shares if I am found out?

an unknown user

If My landlord is not fulfilling the need of the Building, How can a report be filed for not maintaining the Building's upkeep. The Building structure is deterioriating, and the intercom system has not been working for over a year. SInce the death of the last President, who was also stealing money, the new president took over and refuses to fix up the building, hire a super, or a managing agent. She runs the building as if is her apartment. The building's appearence is now dreadful, and tenants with small children are concerned for their safety , ever since stray persons, and syringe needles have been found in the hallways. Please Help!

an unknown user

I just would like to know how to request outside audit in my hdfc, I am sure that we have mismanagement of our funds, and the building keep falling apart.

sassy

Are all HFDCs cooperatives or can an HFDC be a non-profit organization established to own and manage an affordable housing apartment complex without direct tenant invonvement?

Rand Russell

Is this site operable? My HDFC complex, one of ,if not the first HDFC from 1978 is no longer an HDFC and having just found this out I don't know what it means. The board at my co-op is like Rip Van Winkle, and have not changed any of the Draconian measures in place when it was a co-op. Is there someone to speak with ? This is a long conversation.

DAMARIS

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE RULES A REGULATIONS FOR HDFC HOUSING AND RENT EXPENSE PER HOUSHOLD AND ROOMS. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO REPORT SECTION 8 FRAUD AND ABUSE.

lisa

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW CAN I REPORT A UN ORGANIZE BOARD- OF DIRECTORS WHICH THE PRESIDENT AND THE VISE PRESIDENT MAKES ALL THE DECISION ON THE BUILDING AND LEAVE THE OTHER 2 BOARD-MEMBERS OUT AS A TENANT WHAT RIGHTS DO WE HAVE DO WE NEED TO MOVE OUT OR WE NEED TO BUY THE APARTMENT WITH A LOAN WHAT IF THE LOAN DENIES YOU WHAT HAPPEN THEN ?

Joy

I am a shareholder in a coop HDFC apartment building with only 6 units and shareholders. We have been around since 1980. The builiding is paid for. But our taxes are $18,000 annually. Way too much for us to keep up with. THis is a non for profit corporation why do we pay so many taxes. We can't keep up with it with our current rent roll which is low as required for our coop type. What can we do to lower our taxes. HELP

housing.email.11220@gmail.com

Mr. Reyes-Montblanc, How can I reach out to you for your assistant? Fanny

Brownsugar

Our Coop has and is mismanaging our coop financially. We have been harrassed and have a few complaints at the police department. They have refused our maintenance also. HPD will not take responsibility for the misdeeds they are allowing the coop to do. We need to unite to enact laws that will govern our coops so they are not raped and robbed in the name of greed and handshaking.

DINA

i have been living in my late fathers hdfc co-op for 13 years,he owns 250 shares 1 dollar per share,the lease and shares are not in my name and of course my siblings are not willing to sign the paperwork from the lawyers,turning it over to me ,what are my options,all he left was a notarized letter leaving it to me ,i know it is not a will but what happens next

unknown and sick of the abuse

Our building is being run by family based board members. The building is falling apart and there are apartments that have been empty for more than 10 years. We have never seen a financial report. What can we do to change this? Who can help us make the difference? I'm sick of living in fear. What are our rights, how can we find out what kind of debt our building is in? Please help us!

Dictator-free

We have a disgruntle member who called in 311 to report a violation that happened 26 years ago. He was the only one that knew about it. This member was the president of the HDFC for 27 years. Did not have a meeting for over 20 years and refused to have elections. As requested by 3 members, HPD/UHAB attended a meeting that help us exposed this person. Although no election was held, a motion was passed to get help from a management company. As of today, this person refuse to hand over the HDFC documentations and seal. Additionally, he went to the building department to put on hold a permit that was issued to correct the violation he reported against the building. This individual is being taking to court for non payment. He owes over 100k in rent for 2 apartments. His girl friend lives in one and he lives in the other. He also tried to changed the building registration and Bank account signature to his name. Lastly, in an effort to avoid eviction, he is taking us to court on foundless allegations.

JaneLove409@aol.com

I live in a HDFC apartment, for 19 years with my two children. When my son left I took him out of the lease, now he wants to come back. Can I put him back on the lease? If so, will they raise my rent? Also, if I decide to leave can I leave the apartment to my son and daughter? Please advise. Thank you

Dominic

I LIVE IN HDFC FOR THE PAST 6 YEARS I SUBLET FROM A SHARE HOLDER WHO LIVE IN NJ NOW HE WANT BACK HIS APT .HE OVER PRICE THE RENT TOOK CHECK FROM CITY FOR MY RENTAL BECAUSE I DO NOT MAKE ENOUGH I FIX THIS APT WITHOUT NEVER ASKING MONEY I DID WITH MY OWN HAND NOW HE HAVE FINANCE PROBLEMS CAN HE KICK ME OUT JUST LIKE THAT WITHOUT NOTICE .I AM HIV DO I HAVE TO GO TO SHELTER I NEED HELP FAST OR I WILL BE OUTSIDE WITHOUT NO WHERE TO GO

sukie

i live in a co-op hdfc building the building is falling down taxes owed water bill is high from 8 owners there are only 4 leftthe building is only 8 apartments. someone is interested in buying the building what can we do. please advise me thank you

leo

i would to know I how get somebody outside to do an audit in my building. i am sure that we have mismanagemet of the moeny comingin in my hdfc..this is a problem that other people have in their hdfc and we don't know we to go to report situation.

HELP

WHAT LAWS GOVERNS OVER HDFC CONCERENING MISMANAGEMENT AND THE NEED FOR A AUDIT

veronica hopkins

my dad pass away one year from today and i am his daugther my dad live in a co-op for 27 years, he brought 250 shares in the corporations i have his legal certicate but theirs is a new board and they want to re issue new certicates to people who brought shares into the corporation now . what should i do for myself , and can they do this

David

Hi, My HDFC building is under war. We are having a lot of problems with The Board. Holding back information on the funds and conflict of interest. We recently learned that the seal on our stock certificates are done incorrectly and the Board knew and did not inform the shareholders yet they had their certificates fixed with corporation funds. What should we do about this matter. We also do not know what exactly should be on the seal so that we can have a meeting and come down on the Board to fix their error.

Evelyn Garcia evelyngarcia317@aol.com

I would like to get a copy of all the HDFCs in New York City. We are ICM Real Estate Inc. We specialize in servicing only HDFC buildings and there special needs. Because of our knowledge of rules and regulations governing HDFCs we can offer personalized and specialized management.

Tonia

HDFC Buildings are put in place with a book of by laws to follow but there is no one or nothing you can do if the by -laws are not being followed, There are many Presidents of these building where they take complete control especially the bldgs where there are 10 units or less, My President took complete control of my builing ran it like her owe personal building she even used the bldg ATM card for her own personal use and wrote checks to her son ,These people were intimidating the shareholders who were all senior citizens I rather have a Landlord then this President.What is Bloomberg doing about that?

Sheba

How can I get my HDFC finances audited by an outside agency? I have many of the problems mentioned by other shareholders. How do I get the answers to these and other questions?

frank

when your building starts rehab where do the elderly go if sevices have to be interupted as in our case at the building i reside we have people with children elderly with no families or who need special care doed the city provide another temporary residence where people can stay until the rehab is done ,,?

Concerned Neighbor

Residents of 270 St. Nicholas Ave are throwing used condoms at pedestrians walking on the street. Your super says nothing can be done. If we know which apartments are guilty and we canbring this information to you. If we do this, what action will you take?

UHAB COOP/PRESERVATION HELPED ME

ALL CURRENT HDFC's THAT ARE NOT CLEAR ON RULES AND REG's THAT GOVERN YOUR COOP -- YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY CONTACT THE MONITORING DEPARTMENT AKA COOP PRESERVATION AT UHAB 212-479-3300 ASK FOR SOMEONE IN THAT DEPT. THEY HELPED US. ALSO THAT GUY DOMINIC WHO IS SUBLETTING FROM THE JERSEY GUY -YOU SHOULD CALL TO IF YOU ARE IN A HDFC. THERE ARE SUBLETTING RESTRICTIONS TOO. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SOMEONE LEGALLY SUBLETTING FOR THAT LENGTH OF TIME. THERE IS ALSO A SMALL PERCENTAGE OVER THEIR CURRENT RENT THAT THEY CAN CHARGE YOU.. HDFC ARE TO PROLONG AFFORDABLITY . NOT FOR FOLKS TO GET RICH...HOPE THIS HELPS.

Mini h.

I have lived in this building even before it became hdfc, I didnt buy shares when the building became coop, im a tenant so they go for years without issuing a new lease now they want the apartment to rent to someone else. They say I have too many people living here, can they sale the apartment to someone else if I want to purchase it now, i've lived here since 1987 I like this area and the apartment.

an unknown user

I am in the process of selling my hdfc coop and the building is asking for 35% of the sales price. Isn't that pretty steep? Is there a cap on what goes back to the building?

tisha

who can help me with this promnlem president and vice president are stealing funds they dont fix nothing and they threaten to evict my husband and i for non payment of rent but yet they refuse to have a shareholders meeting to open the books who do we turn to

an unknown user

if you are the HDFC expert you claim to be, you would know how to obtain information on all of the HDFCs . You are obviously not an expert!

frank bellido

does the city provide relocation when the rehab starts

occupyhdfc

the coop board evicted us from our fully paid for hdfc cooperative in the bronx; but we did not receive the Notice of Petition and Petition because we already informed the co-op Board that we were in the process of selling the apartment and that we had moved out to an alternate address; we never received the Notice of eviction at this alternate address. Then the co-op Board auctioned the apartment at a time when there was a current Supreme Court case going on; unfortunately due to sickness we could not attend the pre conference hearing at the supreme court, and the judge approved the auction. However, we discovered that the co-op Board never sent us the 90 days required Pre-Notification as mandated by the New York State Banking Laws. Please, we need all the help that we need to unravel the auction.

francasar@yahoo.com

The HDFC that my fiance live in, is a mess!! The Board does anything that they want , hold the information and they keep everybody in the dark...How can be fix?? How many shareholders needs to sign a petition for a special meeting in a building with 30 Aprt.???

emc2pi2

The answers to many of the questions such as, board mismanagement, audits, subletting posted can be found in your PL, bylaws and regulatory agreement. Only owners/joint owners names are on the PL, unlike a rental lease residents of a unit names will not appear on the PL. Section 8 Bureaucracy and the abuse by some section 8 recipients, have me considering changing political parties. I would never ever accept orparticipate in Section 8 in anyway shape or form, HDFC, pvt homes, multi-dwelling,

an unknown user

Do you have to be a shareholder living in the HDFC building in order to hold an office(ex. President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer) or can you live outside of the HDFC and be subletting your apartment?

Cooper

I am a shareholder in a coop HDFC apartment building with only 6 units and shareholders. We have been around since 1980. The builiding is paid for. But our taxes are $18,000 annually. Way too much for us to keep up with. THis is a non for profit corporation why do we pay so many taxes. We can't keep up with it with our current rent roll which is low as required for our coop type. What can we do to lower our taxes. HELP

arleenmoo

What's the best source to learn all about this type of housing and where these building exist?

an unknown user

The President act as if she owes the building we have no meeting, no annual reports and the question we need to know is she a shareholder we have no way to find out because the original president and everyone else is deceased. How can I find out.

an unknown user

Can a Tenants Board refuse to GIVE THE TENANTS A COPY OF THE BYLAWS IF, THEY DON'T CHOSE TO JOIN THE TENANTS ASSN , WHICH COST FIVE ($5) PER APARTMENT ?

wAnting info

An apt in my HDFC coop was, sold to someone who didn't meet the criteria. Now he is president and wants to throw me out because I don't meet his standards. he did alot of illegal things to get in. how can I protect myself from him. can he face criminal charges for forging documents as well as facs charges for not having the proper permits to renovate his apt while my apt suffered damages?? Please help!!!

Nia torres

I am a shoulder to my apartment for over 20 years and during this time they have been tryimg to take me out. I'm constantly being harassed by other members in my building. I have reported this to the police.i received a noticed objectable conduct what does this mean and what should do next

Sue

I would like to know is the building has a mgmt co. but the president has been the one selling the empty apartments. Is he or she entitles to a commison as the seller? Please advise. Thanks you.

need to knpw

If a shareholder decides to sell apt. is there a procedure and how does profit come into play if any .

D. Robles

It seems no one can find the hdfc which I pay rent to how do i find out if it is really an HDFC?

PAT C

I am a Shareholder Board President of a low income HDFC. The past three years have been very stressful for all involved in my complex which has 158 units. Apparently tax wise we have been lumped in with the multi million dollar Co-Ops and Condo's and our real estate and sewer taxes are unbelievably high. Although we have a J51 in place, it is just a drop in the bucket of what the taxes are now making it unaffordable to remain a low income HDFC. What can we do to have our taxes reaccessed and lowered?

dominick

i want to know why the HPD or any governement agency nevers step in HDFC they all escroc they ripped off city new york i live in one harlem is run by a maffia of share holder HPD keep sending email and everyone wait until we going to see in paper the exthorsions of millions even lawyer know the rules is money for everyone we falling apart in a usa more escroc for HDFC and less for the one who has nothing but fear

Where to Find HDFC Information

For answers to questions regarding Guidelines, Rules, Regulations, Audits, and other questions & Assistance regarding HDFC Co-Ops, you can: visit HPD: 100 Gold Street New York, NY 10038 Call 311 OR (212) 863-8515 Or do an internet search for HDFC New York City (or whichever you live, if HDFC exists outside NYC). You'll find the appropriate websites with FAQs and lots of other information. be persistent; call your Councilperson, the Public Advocate office, Housing Authority or other such offices to find the information you need and get the audits and help your & your buildings need. Good luck to all of you. By the way, there is no dateline on this article or the Comments & Questions. When was the article written so that we know how current and relevant the information is to today (April 29, 2013).

an unknown user

Is 157 West 119th Str, property still rent stabilized? I need to know if I am being over charged. thanks

Steve

I put an offer for a coop and found out that my income is over can i still buy?

Gina Pacheco

I want to know if the HDFC owned buildings are tax exempt from city taxes when they are sold or transferred .

something smells bad

We have an HDFC apartment since 1980. in 1980 we all bought shares. the building is in fine shape and kept up ...But the management are breaking the law they refuse to allow the other members to see the books for an audit. . a few years back we had one share holder pass away. and here nephew took the apartment. we had a medeator to do the transsition. all legal. and at that meeting we where told the value of each unit. plus told we owned the build out right.and apartment values wheir at amarket price....but the president of the co-op keeps claiming that the city owns the building. she has been told 2 times that the tenats own the building.and can sell them as they wish... another find at the metting was asecond bank account wheir our monthy payments are deposited. when i questioned this i got amuble not anser. the following monthy the second acct was closed and joined with the buildings acct. i have and still suspect fruad and theft on afelony scale here. also we have not had an election in over 15 yrs. and the president and husband control the books andgoing ons. i believe a full investigation is in order as.many laws have been broken and to keep tenats in the dark so they can steal the assets the building has.oh just for the record the husband is the book keeper. areal creepand greed person.how can both memebers of the same apartment be running the books and signing the checks without an audit. I will say this there plan is to get everyshare holder out thru fruad and lies . so they can keep the build for themselves and the city will never ever know that this management was nothing more than acrook they appointed to steal from the public hdfc system. the lie we are being told by the said in this statement is this when i ask is the building owned by the city if so i want repairs done... my answer is no we the tenants own it.but if i ask well i want to sell my apartment in the future ....I'm told no the city owns the build a complete turn around from the original statment. St. nicholes housing preservation set this up here in brklynand they dropped the ball by by allowing these people to do the stated above. because we went to them to midigate our arguement. at that meet the president and manger where good friend of the midigator a clear sign that the meeting was fixed to coverup the action above.oh the person that setup the build for hdfc was indicted for fruad and stealing buildings in a scam. years ago. At this point i'm ready to go to the brooklyn district attornies office for a full investigation of the matter. bank fruad propertyfruad. and attempted grand theft to defruad stockholders. It is clear new laws and a full inspection of all these buildings needs to be done. before it get so out of hand if it hasn't already.

JON NIXON

AS THE ACCOUNTANT FILING THE CORPORATION TAX RETURN FOR A CO-OP HDFC- IS THERE AN EXEMPTION FROM FILING NYS & NYC CORP RETURN ?

an unknown user

The telephone number listed in the article above is the WRONG NUMBER. The CORRECT NUMBER is 212-863-6603

unknown

I leave in a hdfc building in Washington height we having problem with the board. we also want to kno if we could sale one of the apt . theres another apt that is not owner and want to buy

Jose

Can anyone help. How does a HDFC remove its status as a HDFC and just be a CO-OP? Thank You very much?


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