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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 24
Published on June 26, 1999

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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on a NYCHA Wise Guy?

The Spotlight
WISE Award!

Wonderful, Intelligent, Sensitive Executive

Never believed that this would ever happen. But from what we're told the new Chair of NYCHA, Mr. John Martinez deserves Spotty's praise.

We had been hearing a complimentary buzz on the new Chair from our people at 250 Broadway.

They mentioned his rapport when speaking with those at the foot of NYCHA's career ladder. Then, beginning in the last couple of weeks, we have gotten some kind words about John from NYCHA Field Folk. Mr. Martinez does not bring a phalanx of NYPD guards with him. He also will speak with the NYCHA employees out of the earshot of the person's boss, thereby getting a better shot at an honest discourse on the morale problems effecting our Public Housing Authority.

Some of these employees have written saying that while they are reluctant to place their trust in management, Martinez has been causing cracks in their anti-NYCHA shields.

Also, we have this massive meeting at the Javitts Center on June 28. To arrange a forum like that in order to give the employees, at the very least, the impression that their voices will be heard is a great morale boost. There have been only two gripes we've heard, one very serious and one less so. The more important complaint goes to the handling of the memo on the meeting. In that June 15 memo, there is a deadline of Monday, June 21 for questions to be sent in to Hilly Gross's replacement, Mildred Molina. Yet, some supervisors held back the memos until Friday, June 25. That made it impossible to meet a deadline that had passed 4 days prior to the employee receiving the memo. With luck, Mr. Martinez might look into this.

(The smaller complaint, which didn't make it into the faxed edition, was the extra travel expense incurred by having to travel to the expense Center. While this is a legitimate concern, the minimal outlay of a few bucks is well worth it if John Martinez is honestly trying to improve the abysmal morale within the Authority.)

So, while reserving the right to rescind the award should future events prove our choice to be ill advised, the Spotlight is awarding the Second WISE Award to Mr. John Martinez, Chair of the New York City Housing Authority.

Who is watching Big Brother,
While Big Brother is watching you?

Well, Spotty is doing a bit of Big Brother watching. (Okay, we're really listening. Damn, you're a nitpicker.) And here's what we hear!

JoAnna Aniello and Henry Goldstein had some hot hours together trying to find a reasonable justification for all that CCTV installation overtime money. They knew HUD might not find the fact that federal funds were being used to implement a Mayoral edict. Especially when some supervisors were expected to take down over $100,000 a year with all the overtime.

We haven't heard what this devilish duo has done now to hide the CCTV money. But we hope to have an answer on that question soon.

We do know that Ms. Aniello and Mr. Goldstein have come up with a stroke of brilliance that will preclude any future problems with massive overtime. They have decided to impose a quota on how many hours each installation will take.

Yep, that's right. They have set a quota of one full building, with all the conduit and cable installed, every 8 days without any overtime! (There was a time when Electrician's Local 3 would have quickly put an end to that. "Those were the days, my friend . . .") However, even a quota system can't work if management can't get their collective heads out of their collective A--es. You see, the talk in the field now is that, AFTER all the coax cable that has already been run in these buildings, management thinks they might now want to replace the coax with fiber optic cable!

So, it appears that the Authority's management is unconcerned by the fact that having so many of Authority's skilled trades people tied up in an Orwellian candid camera scheme has caused a backlog of tickets for repairs in our resident's apartments. Now, they may call for a "Take 2" and have the Skilled Trades people do the same job all over again with different cable!!! Ain't it nice that the City is allowed to play with HUD's monopoly money!

Quick take:

Can it be true that someone finally realized that Manhattan Management really shouldn't be using residential apartment space to conduct its business? We hear that that MM will soon move out of the apartments in Jackie Robinson Houses and relocate to 11 Park Place, which is just around the corner from 250. (We couldn't have them move back into 250 Broadway. After all, as part of that great decentralization scam, we just moved them out a couple of years ago!)

We're told that the Authority will now collect about $18,000 a year in rent for those apartments. And we hear that other borough management offices may also have to release the apartments they occupy. The apartments will then go back to prospective NYCHA tenants.

That $100,000,000 Building

The continuing saga of Finkel's Folly

In the June 23, 1999 issue of the NY Times, there's an article about the closing of two buildings belonging to the Swingline stapler company. "Swingline stapler? What do we care about Swingline stapler?" Well, let me tell you.

You see, Swingline's buildings were warehouses, located in Long Island City. The buildings are now being leased out to a firm for document storage.

Get the connection now?

These buildings are in the same location as Finkel's Folly, and they are being leased.

But that's the end of the similarity. Because even though the Swingline buildings and the Housing Authority's Finkel's Folly have much in common, they are as different as having a hot dog "under the umbrella" and going to the Four Seasons for dinner.

According to the story, the average rents for space in the Long Island City area are pretty reasonable. For a twenty year lease in a building like Finkel's Folly, you'd be looking at laying out somewhere around $58,285,860.

Unless you were NYCHA. Then you'd go to Friends of the Fink, and pay about twice that figure for a building that you will also have to throw additional million$ at just to bring it up to your standards.

What a country!

© 1999 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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