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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 10
Published on October 25, 1998

(Click Here for NYCHA "preliminary" Audit
by NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi)

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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on NYCHA's Rumors

(Think Again!)

"Publisher begs NYCHA's Finkel/Franco for mercy
and pleads to keep his/her title/pay rate,
as Spotlight on NYCHA publishes
a Non-issue and then closes down!"

This is the current rumor that the NYCHA "Dysfunctional Duo" is attempting to spread in some attempt to bring their troops back into line. And, as with almost everything coming out of NYCHA's Headquarters at 250 Broadway two-headed lizard recently, it's pure bull crap! (I think Franco is starting to sample his own product!)

There was/is a good reason that we decided to allow a Public Housing Spotlight hiatus, and it has nothing to do with any fear of 9th floor retaliation against our hubris in printing the truth about the New York City Housing Authority's woes. And, we would have remained on that extended vacation if Franco hadn't allowed his testosterone to overcome what should have been his relief in getting a break from our continued scrutiny. However, as we have been told that Franco has unknowingly caused at least one Authority exec to hesitate in making the decision to contact a Federal Prosecutor to bargain for an immunity deal, we're calling our vacation off. We're back.

Our brief, self-imposed absence was decided after a rumor of a Corporate Council investigation spread through all of 250 Broadway. On October 14, the regular Board meeting was continually delayed while the Authority's Board , the Terrible Trio (Finkel/Franco/Andrews), met in their own secret session to come up with some united front to present if/when the Corporate Council's lawyers start asking questions.

Of course, the questions would be about all the charges that were made public here first, in your own Public Housing Spotlight. The Spotlight has the Terrible Trio so fraught with fear that they never notified Borough Management or the Directors of the change in time for the meeting. It was comical to see all the brass roaming around 250 Broadway, like lost hall monitors in a junior high school! They tried to maintain an aura of authority, while wondering if the people huddled at that private meeting might be ruining everyone's future. (And this was already the third delayed Board meeting in the last 3 weeks.)

Things became so frantic that by Friday, October 16, other departments within the Authority could not speak with any of the Law Departments execs. They were all busy in "emergency meetings" deciding strategy. (As this would be City Hall's Law Department investigating City Hall's appointees, it's a wonder the emergency meeting took a full day.)

On Thursday October 15 and Friday October 16 the 9th floor was booked in solid meetings. Elliot Levine and the others were at 250 Broadway at 8 AM even though they had just completed that delayed Board meeting the previous day. Why? Someone from the top of the Authority's Org Chart is VERY worried over the Maytag contracts. From what we hear, that person has a good reason to be worried. Between leaking information on Maytag and the ever enlightening paint contracts, the Housing Authority may well wind up tying Monica for the amount of ink laid on the pages of our local newspapers by the time this is over.

Then you have Legal frantically meeting with Joyce Lazoff of Employee Disciplinary. Thus far, Franco's demands of punitive measures against those who, it would seem, have had the bad luck of smiling at some of the examples of dirty laundry that's been publicly displayed in our rag, have mostly been overturned. Demotions and transfers are being challenged, and rescinded by those whose IQ's rarely exceed their waste measurements. And Rantin' Franco is beginning to come unraveled.

Even the normal skirting of the undeniable intent of some grants of monies that come to the Authority is now being given some serious thought. We're told that Nora Ressig-Lazzaro is getting frustrated in her attempt to grab a portion of a recent check HUD sent to the Authority received for $35,000,000. As the check is slated for "Drug Elimination Programs", and Nora is working on Victims of Domestic Violence, you might wonder how she'd justify getting some of that money dealt to her account. Well, at one time, it would have been no problem, as the Board knew nobody was watching. We now know that the Spotlight has changed that. Sorry Nora.

On another note, consultants for our Senior Centers are complaining. While the Housing Authority seems to have plenty of bucks to spend on anything the Finkel/Franco folks take to heart, paying these consultants, whose job it is to make certain our seniors are well taken care of, must be a very low priority. These consultants are getting angry at seeing the real estate millions the Authority can waste, while they work without compensation.

This while that all intrusive Deputy Mayor grabs Sylvia Castenada-Director of the Office for the Aging, and a group of other Housing Authority employed Ninfa sycophants and has them as guests at the NY Yankee parade. Once again, nothing wrong with a little pride in our Yankees. But the guy cutting grass at a Brooklyn development knows that if he takes as little as an hour off for family business, his pay will be docked. Not Sylvie baby's! Her time is not docked, you can be sure!

So, back to our beginning. We've said it before, and we'll say it again. We are here to stay. The Spotlight will shine until the New York City Housing Authority cleans up it's act. When the Spotlight can no longer uncover such blatant corruption and mismanagement, Ol' Spotty will be turned off.

For now, we'd seriously advise any Housing Authority Execs with secrets to hide to be wary of the Spotlight. If we find them first, and publish the secrets in our rag, your shot at offering anything to the Feds that would be worthy of a deal becomes much less likely. And, always remember a basic tenet of our legal system. He who deals first, deals best. Getting to the US attorney's office even 20 minutes after a fellow Exec has struck a deal for the same information is about as useful as playing Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.

Either way, you lose!

Hey, Rantin'!
We're Back!

Can't you all just get along?

For our own selfish reasons, we want to help Finkel and Franco keep some harmony amongst both themselves, and by extension, their troops. While we love receiving the information from the respective camps, we need them to stop trying to get their agendas across on our pages. When either side wishes to insure that info they believe is in our possession is given the proper "Spin", they begin to throw slanted info at us. We will always welcome the scandalous stuff that can be checked through those we trust. However, just saying "Finkel is really the one with the money schemes" or "Franco is ordering demotions and firings even as the Law Department tells him he'll lose the resulting lawsuits" is wasting our time and yours.

The fact that you were given some decent title in a Housing Authority sinecure certainly does not carry the weight needed to bypass our common sense.

We don't want to halt the flow of information from either side of the board.You tell us of idiotic or corrupt goings on in the other Board members camp that we can verify, and we'll certainly publish it. In fact, while people from both of the camps have provided good information to this rag, we have only received these self-serving poisoned daggers from one side in this internecine battle thus far. But this type of feuding is more contagious than the flu, and the other camp will probably be sending email as this column is written.

So we're trying to give all sides a word of caution before we wind up spending every minute on certifying stupid missives.If you're a well known Franco-phile, or you have your set of personalized knee-pads in Finkel's office, your take on any Authority issues is automatically suspect.

(And having a secretary pass info by email, while hoping we won't realize that you're just doing an end run in an attempt to slant our coverage, just won't work. If you don't believe us, just ask the Director who tried that stunt in an email last week!)

email, We Get email!

"Spotlight Editor,

Recently I read two articles one of which came from the Chairman of the Housing Authority while the other from a paper that is put out from Housing. Both are truly offensive to my family and me. In one, there are pictures showing tenants hanging laundry. With the pictures was written

The paragraph below said:

I can remember as a child my mother hanging the wash out our kitchen window on a rope that was connected to a pole. Those memories and the distinct familiar smell of the outdoors will remain etched in my olfactory senses forever. This fresh smell was present in everything we wore or slept on. We never had a washing machine or dryer; In fact none of my friends mothers had them either. Housing has provided some of us with drying racks but you can't dry your clothes in an area that has so much humidity, people taking showers and not to mention using the bathroom.

Some projects have washing facilities but mine doesn't. It would be nice if housing could get Laundromats put in every project but as most of you know the project is not the safest place to be and I could not always afford to pay for those fancy machines. I have heard people talking about me and my kind, (Project People) and how we all spend our money on drugs, booze and clubbing. You are sadly mistaken; many of us are just trying to make it on a limited income to keep our children dressed, fed and not to mention DRUG free. Its not easy in a place where drugs are as common place as the mind set of those writing irresponsible articles dealing with project life.

Contrary to your statements I will continue to air dry my clean laundry.

From what I read on this Public Housing Spotlight webpage, the Housing Authority should deal with Its own DIRTY LAUNDRY, and leave us tenants alone!

Back Seat Resident,


© 1998 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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Contact Jack Ballinger at nychaspotlight@netscape.net
for a Real Audio sound clip containing a
conversation wherein DOI Investigator
John Kilpatrick discusses how he learned
that 2 NYCHA execs attended
a Mafia connected contractor's funeral .

Contact Jack Ballinger at nychaspotlight@netscape.net
for a Real Audio sound clip containing
the (3 Meg) confession of Tony DiAlto.
Tony was a member of a group of
corrupt Contract Inspectors working at NYCHA.
Neither Tony nor the person he confessed to
sharing his bribes with (Richard Penesi)
were ever charged, let alone prosecuted, by DOI.

For a great source of general tenant information,
visit the Tenant Net Home Page |

And for a great source of New York City news and
policy information, visit our friends at the Gotham Gazette

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