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Public Housing Spotlight
on the New York City
Housing Authority

Issue 104
Published on October 3, 2002

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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NY Post This!

If there's a problem in a NYCHA development that makes either tenants or employees look bad, the NY Post is there!

While it may embarrass tenants and/or employees, that's news coverage and that's their job.

If there's a problem involving a NYCHA scandal that makes politically connected NYCHA executives look bad, the NY Post is in hiding.

That's news bias, at best.

At the worst, this can begin to look like the Post might be trading getting access to City Hall stories by currying favor at City Hall.

To us, it seems that the
NY Post only covers employee faults
while giving a pass to executive corruption.

Spotty reports that a $8,000,000 building leased to friends of NYCHA Board member Finkel for over $100,000,000. Story is investigated and then carried by WWOR-TV (Polly Kriesman), the Daily News, Newsday, Noticias Del-Mundo and others. (The Spotlight helped supply NYCHA employees and execs to be interviewed for the stories.)

The NY Post chose to remain silent. No investigative report is thought needed???

Spotty reports on systemic sexual harassment at NYCHA headquarters. Newsday (Liz Willen) and others run with the story. We help arrange interviews with many of the women involved in the lawsuit. (The women go on to receive large $ settlements from NYCHA! YAY!)

The NY Post chose to remain silent. No investigative report is thought needed???

We report that $50,000,000 was paid for NYCHA construction contracts with no paperwork showing inspection, insurance etc. Story is investigated and then carried by WWOR, Washington Times and others. We supply NYCHA execs and inspectors for the reporters to interview.

The NY Post chose to remain silent. No investigative report is thought needed???

We report that NYCHA Board Member Finkel forces his daughter to be hired by a company with a large $ contract with NYCHA. (The NYC Conflicts of Interest Board finally proved us right on this one too.) The NY Post chose to remain silent. No investigative report is thought needed???

The NY Post chose to remain silent. No investigative report is thought needed???

Yet, the Post assigns reporters to catch people from NYCHA who take longer than 15 minutes on their smoke break? Then they retell the story up with a report the following day. Then they devote a third day of coverage to this story.

And what did they uncover.

That 5 people took longer breaks than allowed.

So, you want "All the News fit to print", get the NY Times.

You want "New York's Hometown Connection", get the NY Daily News.

But if you want to find out the names of people who took longer than their allowed smoke-break time on one single day in September, go to that bastion of New York City news, the NY Post.

Now, we're NOT sticking up for those who overstayed their breaks. If the stories are true (and we have no reason to think 5 Post reporters would rat on those smokers if the reporters didn't think they had a truly hot story on their hands!), the NYCHA employees deserve to face the music. And if they really gave their names to the reporters, they might want to schedule some training in Common Sense.

Using that story, the fact is that there was as many as 5 people out of the 1,363 NYCHA employees working at that location. That's a total of 3/10 of 1% of NYCHA's employees who were caught by the crack Post SWAT team. As I'm pretty sure that if there were other such horrible smoke-breakers the Post would have had their mug shots up for all to see, I think that the rest of the NYCHA employees deserve a Mayoral pat-on-the-back.

According to the NY Post, the highest-ranking NYCHA smoker was Robert Swinton, who was the deputy director of the Office of Facility Planning making $80,000 a year.

That works out to around $40 an hour, using typical 40 hour weeks.

The following info, can be found in past issues the NY Daily News and/or Newsday and/or the Washington Times and/or City Limits and/or Noticias Del Mundo and/or in Polly Kriesman's WWOR Investigative Reports of 1998. (Hint: Just don't look for it in the Post.)

The LIC Warehouse could have been purchased by NYCHA for $8,000,000. Instead, NYCHA got a 20 Year Lease for over $100,000,000.

Taxpayers wave bye to over $92,000,000 wasted dollars.

NYCHA gets away with it.

The NY Post stands silent.

NYCHA Employee takes prolonged smoke break. Could cost taxpayer over $50.

The Post assigns 5 reporters and at least one cameraperson (so they could put out the names AND the photos of these horrendous fiends) to write the 3 days of stories (Joe McGurk and Steven Hirsch did 9/30 story. Ikimulisa Sockwell-Mason and Frankie Edozien were assigned the October 1 follow-up. David Seifman bagged the October 2nd earth-shattering "EXCLUSIVE" on the Post's "EXPOSE" of overlong cigarette breaks. The "EXCLUSIVE" told that the Post story has cost one person their job and placed 4 other people's employment in jeopardy. They also used at least one cameraperson, , so future employment can become harder to find.

Is this really the job of the NY Post or of the NYCHA IG? (I guess DOI is too busy incovering up . . . I mean investigating everything they read in Spotty.)

Were all 5 of these supposed professional news gatherers rejected as hall monitors back in Junior High, or is it just that they can't think of anything more newsworthy than some idiot who not only overstays a break but then gives a reporter his/her name.

If they want to do real reporting, they should be cultivating sources at NYCHA. They’d find little time for checking hall passes once they found how much tax money is vanishing. Maybe they could look into how 9/11 caused the evacuation and still-running desertion of 90 Church Street, but NYCHA is paying vendors over $13,700 a month for non-existing service at that location.

That might be news worthy of a newspaper that hopes to be relevant in this city of ours!

So we New Yorkers owe the NY Post for helping us ferret out a total of around $50 that Mr. Swinton wasted that day.

Of course, the Post ignored the million$ of dollars in NYCHA boondoggles, like the warehouse and missing contracts.

But when it came to catching those wasteful smokers, the Post was on the case!

And why NYCHA?

Let's remember, when trouble looms City Hall quickly reminds everyone that 1) NYCHA is NOT a Mayoral Agency, so the Mayor should never be given any blame and 2) although it is NOT a City Agency, and is almost entirely funded through HUD's taxpayer bucks, HUD hides behind New York City Dept. of Investigation for collecting evidence of corruption.

Is it just that the Post reporters, who many believe are only allowed to gather their news directly from City Hall, have found that they can still sneak a look at the real world across the street from City Hall?

But, the City Council has offices in 250 Broadway, as well as other government entities. Yet only NYCHA staffers were put under the investigative lens of the NY Post.

Why not Council staffers and others?

We have received many queries from NYCHA employees complaining that their pay is no longer reflecting what they've earned.

Overtime is a particularly sore point, with people stating that they have waited months to get paid. Annual Leave comes in second in the complaints we've received.

So, we are putting out a request for information on this problem. If you have been underpaid, or your annual leave days just don't add up, let us know. If you work as a Timekeeper or in Personnel, and you know the cause of the problem, please drop us a fax or email.

We asked a few execs at NYCHA, and although they said the problem is growing, they could only guess that it had to do with the long-overdue ATIS system or the problematic Kronos clocks.

One exec went a bit further:

Problem is in the timekeeping system. I recall a meeting where it was discussed that there are so many different unionized titles with different rules, that you need to create a different profile in the time-keeping system for every different job. As of July 2001, this had not been completed, maybe they were 30%, and I'm sure after 9/11 it got pushed to the side.

They were more concerned about putting everyone "online" than correcting the mistakes in the system.

Because of this timekeepers have to struggle to manually update the system.

Also, you only have a certain amount of time to go into the system to do the update, if you don't, information gets wiped out and you need the assistance of Systems & Computer Services to go back in after 2 weeks have passed. They have a limited number of people working on this so you put in a request and well...you wait.

Pressure needs to be put jointly on Human Resources and Systems & Computer Services.

The unions need to speak up for their members. I think this is the only way they will get action.

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© 2002 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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NYC Housing Authority's
(NYCHA) own site

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U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development

451 7th Street S.W.,
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-1112
TTY: (202) 708-1455

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