The October opening of a controversial shelter for adult families in Maspeth, Queens will likely be delayed by a few weeks, according to a Queens assemblywoman and City Hall sources. While Assemblywoman Margaret Markey said that the delay was granted following a phone call between herself, Mayor de Blasio, and Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks, City Hall has countered that the delay is standard procedure, and that the shelter will still likely open next month, if later than the October 1st deadline DHS had put forward.

"This postponement gives us the opportunity to continue to bring pressure on the city to change its plan for Maspeth," said Markey in a statement to the Daily News.

A senior City Hall official told Gothamist that such a delay is "not uncommon in government," adding, "We expect an October opening, and we still feel that we're on track." The official confirmed that Markey spoke with Commissioner Banks, but said that "to my knowledge the delay is not related to any conversation."

The shelter, which the city says would take over a Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road, was presented to the community in August, prompting near-nightly protests, one lawsuit threatened by locals, and another filed by elected officials, including Markey. Last week, hundreds of Maspeth residents turned their backs on DHS Commissioner Banks at the second of two raucous public hearings on the shelter, which they argue would impact their safety and quality of life.

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association in Maspeth, told us on Thursday that he thinks the delay is standard procedure, and that Markey's statement was strategically timed, one week before the primary election on September 13th. "This is so political it's almost laughable," he said, adding, "She's trying to do damage control."

Markey, who took office in 1998, is facing the second primary election of her tenure next week. She was booed from the microphone at last week's public hearing on the Maspeth shelter—in large part because, in Holden's opinion, she seldom comes to community meetings and has done little to earn the community's trust. "She's a party hack," he said. "In 18 years she attended two Juniper meetings, and we've had hundreds." He, like many Maspeth residents, is opposed to the shelter.

"As we announced at two community forums, we are continuing to review the [shelter] proposal, and the start date will be determined as a result of the review," said DHS spokeswoman Lauren Gray in a statement Thursday.

Also this week, Queens Senator Tony Avella sent a letter to U.S. Southern District Attorney Preet Bharara urging him to investigate the owner of the Holiday Inn Express slotted for shelter conversion, one Harshad Patel. In 2011 the Daily News reported that Patel admitted to bribing former Brooklyn Senator Carl Kruger to change a zoning restriction. Patel apparently wanted to convert one of his hotels into apartments.

"I find it shocking that Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Department of Homeless Services would seek to enter into an agreement with an individual who has openly admitted to what appears to be a lengthy bribery scheme," Avella wrote.

Bharara's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Gray, the DHS spokeswoman, said that DHS does not interact with building owners during the shelter site selection process.

“The Department of Homeless Services contracts with nonprofit service providers," she said. "The nonprofit service provider either owns the building or leases it from a building owner. The Department of Homeless Services does not have a relationship with building owners or select them.”

Before the shelter contract can be approved, DHS must submit it to the city comptroller. The comptroller then has 30 days to approve the contract, or send it back for amendments. We have reached out to Comptroller Scott Stringer's office to confirm whether a contract for the Maspeth shelter has been submitted, and will update with any additional information.

[UPDATE 9/8]: Stringers' office confirmed that the city has yet to submit a contract for the Maspeth shelter, or even indicate when it might.