Those of you who have read the earlier Public Housing Spotlight's will remember that we exposed a scheme where City Hall used HUD-NYCHA funds to build PSA's. These Police stations were being built by NYCHA, using HUD funds, and then sold to the City for a buck! (If you didn't catch the story, it's in Issue 2 on the Internet Web Site.)
Now one of our readers has sent us a letter pointing to another possible conflict in the way NYCHA uses its large grant of Federal Tax dollars. Here's the letter:
As I sat in my chair, I thought about whom is behind the CCTV (closed circuit television) crew and the method to the madness. Are the funds for this program coming from HUD earmarked for the CCTV crew or is this a clever manipulation being performed by the Giuliani Administration.
The CCTV program was invented by Giuliani to bolster his anti-crime statistics. This is supposed to help his career as the ultimate crime fighter…a sort of Super Rudy protector of the innocent. He will use the statistics to help further his political future. If he runs for the Senate, this program will bring his opponents to their knees. If he loses, he can always return in 2004 as Mayor. Either way, as far as he's concerned, he can't lose.
The program is to last as long as he is in power, two years. Man, what a scenario. He gets one the people that he planted in the Housing Authority to do the dirty work. That way if the plan fails, he's protected.
Joanne Aniello is perfect. She'll be the fall guy. If the plan doesn't fail, she gets rewarded. Now she takes money from Housing and utilizes it for Giuliani's pet project. How does she do this? Well maybe she redirects funds from other programs that were provided by HUD. She decides she is going to protect herself just in case Giuliani doesn't. I guess she knows her boss. She creates a CCTV crew to perform the work and takes the contractors out of the picture. She knows that if the job is contracted out it will go on the main frame computer at 250. And she doesn't want this project to be discovered by anyone such as HUD.
I'm sure she is aware of the fact that certain people in Housing, contract inspectors, management personnel, and people in the Executive Office are getting kickbacks. The Giuliani Administration is already stealing, so why make matters worse by drawing additional attention to them.
In any case, she doles out overtime so the CCTV crew can finish the targeted projects before Giuliani leaves office. Now she knows that the CCTV crew can't do this alone so she allows other electricians to share the overtime. However, the CCTV crew and the other electricians are listed differently on the overtime records. That is an ingenious method of protection. If anything comes down from HUD, Joanne can say that the CCTV crew did the work in an efficient manner. She will show HUD that five teams did all this work.
The electricians that helped the CCTV crew were paid from money earmarked for ESS. In other words, Joanne's program looks very efficient on paper. Giuliani is using the surplus money to purchase the high tech video equipment and computers. He is keeping his operating costs down by using police officers that are out on Worker's Compensation to operate and monitor the video equipment and the computers. If they're compensated, it must be off the books. After all, they're supposedly receiving Worker's Compensation checks. And you know Super Rudy...he upholds the letter of the law.
Now the only problem is that some of the projects that are getting these cameras are next door to projects that are not part of the program. I guess the criminals are not smart enough to take their business next door. And the statistics will have to be exaggerated…a little…to work for Super Rudy, but he's an old hat at that. As far as Joanne goes, she can always blame a several electricians for abusing the overtime to cover her rear end.
Oh wow, look at the time. Man. What a dream I just had. No one would ever attempt anything like this. It almost sounds like Watergate…hmmm…Rudy Gate
There is nothing worse than having a chunk of your reputation carved off by an entity that has somehow earned a modicum of credibility amongst your peers.
Well, there is something almost as bad. Being that instrument which caused that chunk to fall. And that carving was, I'm sad to say, done in Issue 20 of the Housing Spotlight.
As Editor, I was responsible for the cartoon in which it was mentioned that Ms. Thomas played loose with New York City Housing Authority regulations in assigning an open apartment to a new tenant.
People we trust have double-checked on this story, and we were WRONG!
It seems that there is some feuding going on at Pelham Parkway, and Ms. Thomas is drawing fire from some quarters. Someone thought that using the Spotlight might help his or her cause. And had the information been true, we would have been happy that we published that piece.
But here's what we now hear.
There was a tenant in Pelham Manor who had three small children. The Tenant passed away, and a relative wanted to move into the apartment and care for the children. Ms. Thomas helped the relative by insuring that all the required paperwork was submitted. The tenant was eventually given the right to live in that apartment and care for those kids.
Then, somebody complained about the relative getting the apartment. Bronx Borough Management now had to go over everything with a fine tooth comb. Borough cleared Ms. Thomas. But we all realize that her fear will be that every time Ms. Thomas's bosses hear her name, one of their first thoughts will be "Didn't I have to do an investigation about something to do with her?"
And as if that's not unfair enough to her, good old Spotty then gives her a smack.
She didn't deserve that.
I sincerely apologize.
The Spotlight could come up with some award for your good deeds, Ms. Thomas. But, good words in the Spotlight might hurt your career more than if you had given away a full Housing Authority building to some person you just met . . .
Oh, the hell with NYCHA! When good people go out of their way to call and write to stick up for someone they knew, we should recognize that display of loyalty. You must have been a good boss to get such a quick and, believe me, loud reaction to our erroneous words.
Therefore, Ms Thomas has just been awarded
For a Wonderful, Intelligent, Sensitive Executive
(Let's keep this a secret, just between us!)
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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