NYCHA will finally be called on to answer some questions! As we mentioned in our last issue, two lone woman are taking on NYCHA and NYCHA'S inept tag team of Franco/Finkel.
A complaint against NYCHA has been filed with the Southern District Court on behalf of Ms. Sonia Guidry and Ms. Maristella Kelsey. One of Spotty's friends sent us a copy, and reading it can send a chill down your spine.
In it, there is a listing of 17 different offences alleged to have been ignored by NYCHA's Franco/Finkel. (Franco has quite a few paragraphs in it where the Ex-Chair of our Housing Authority was even cited as a sexual harasser himself!)
Reading the complaint, one wonders if it were written as an issue of the Spotlight. But even we didn't realize the extent and the duration of the hell that Franco/Finkel put these women through in what appears to be a crusade to decimate any woman strong enough to say "NO" to either Bruce Gatewood or Ruben Franco. (The complaint points to Finkel's friendship with Bruce Gatewood, something else we've mentioned in the past.)
These women, and others who for reasons unknown have not filed their own suit, tell of being stalked by members of our old friends, the Sneakrets. (See Spotlight Issue 7, September 25, 1998, for our story on Franco's Secret Police, the Special Investigations Unit.) The complaint lists incidents of stake-outs around some of the women's homes. It also states that at least one member of the Sneakrets conducted an "investigation" while posing as a legitimate member of the IG's office.
In the complaint you find that one of the women was married to another New York City Housing Authority employee. But, as was the case with Bruce Gatewood, whether or not the woman was married mattered not at all . . . Hell, whether she said "No", had no effect on reducing the onslaught of our amorous Housing Authority Execs. When Ms. Guidry did not take kindly to Franco's offer of meeting for drinks once a week, not only was she then subjected to long term harassment, even her husband fell under the harassing retaliation of old randy Ruben.
There's much more that I could print here in the 39 pages of Housing Authority shame. Suffice it to say that if you questioned our fairness in shining our Spotlight on the Authority's sexual harassment in Issue 7, you will now see that we went easy on the Testosterone Triggered Terrorist Trio of Franco/Finkel/Gatewood.
In this complaint that was filed with the court and dated August 2, 1999, other items that you first read about in Spotty are being brought to the fore. For instance: Under a section titled "Abuses against plaintiffs by 'Franco's Secret Police' (The Special Investigation's Unit)" we read about what depths Rantin' and the Fink were willing to sink to in an alleged effort to cause the plaintiffs to leave Gatewood and the New York City Housing Authority alone.
The complaint charges that "During the investigation by the Inspector General, Defendants Franco and Finkel took additional steps to harass, frighten, intimidate and silence Plaintiffs, in abuse of their authority and with full knowledge that their conduct was unlawful, arbitrary and unreasonable."
It goes on to cite examples of how the Special Investigations Unit, or Sneakrets as we call them, mounted an assault on the women who had dared complain after Bruce had demanded a bit more than a day's work for a day's pay. A least one Sneakret went so far as to pose as a legitimate IG investigator in order to confront another woman who had complained about the lecherous Gatewood. The complaint tells us that after accusing Mr. Gatewood, Ms. Shirley Brown was called upon by someone representing themselves as an IG investigator. (Here I quote the complaint.)
"The individual alleged that Shirley Brown had engaged in computer sabotage and had destroyed or removed all Department of Education files from her computer."
Later, we're told that the IG's office denied that the individual was one of their employees. And, the charges against Ms. Brown were bogus!
We're also told how other of Bruce's victims were placed under surveillance. The surveillance was ongoing until one of the woman complained to the Inspector General's Office and brought along a list of license plate numbers. Suddenly, the surveillance ceased!
The complaint goes on to state that Ms. Guidry was told by
"Chairman Franco's Chief of Staff that Mr. Franco had personally ordered that Ms. Guidry be followed by the 'Secret Police.'"
Overall, the 40 page complaint chronicles a horrendous litany of harassment, retaliation and humiliation that not only was orchestrated at the highest levels of the Authority against Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Guidry, but was also leveled against any woman who wouldn't consent to being a plaything for our fearless leaders. (In what I find to be one of the most frightening displays of psychotic hubris in this whole scandal, we're told of Franco's continual harassment of Ms. Guidry's husband, Ray Guidry. Mr Guidry was a New York City Housing Authority Superintendent at the time Ms. Guidry alleges that Mr. Franco was relentlessly coming on to her. Reading the various harassments that Mr. Guidry was himself subjected to makes one question the sanity of our ex-Chair. Unfortunately, this misuse of power eventually forced Mr. Guidry to retire.
Also acknowledged within the complaint is how Ms. Myrtle Whitmore, the 3rd Board Member at that time, attempted to intervene and get to the bottom of these complaints. Unfortunately, in the complaint we read that her efforts were thwarted.
She was denied access to the documents, and she was mislead by Chair Franco as to the results of the IG investigation. Rantin' told Myrtle that the IG had found that the charges were "unsubstantiated", when actually the investigation had found "widespread, pervasive instances of sexual harassment by Mr. Gatewood.
Two other interesting items are found in the 40 pages. First,
"Upon information and belief, Defendant Gatewood was recruited and hired for his position by Defendant Finkel, with whom he enjoyed a close personal and professional relationship prior to and during his employment at NYCHA."
Second, we find that City Hall has known of the sexual harassment charges for quite some time.
Ms. Kelsey and Ms. Guidry are being represented by Ms. Elissa Hutner, and by Jeffrey E. Glen of the firm of Deforest and Duer.
1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM, 4 A . .
No, we're not bothered by insomnia. What we're doing is trying to count all the new Assistant Manager slots Nora Reissig-Lazzaro has been awarded since it was discovered that thousands of Termination Requests were stored in a box near the copying machine, instead of being processed in a timely manner. It seems that if JoAnna Aniello wants an underling to become more important, the underling's job performance has no bearing on Joanna's decision.
Since Spotty pointed out that huge backlog of files, Nora has been getting additional supervisors at a rate that would make most Housing Authority Execs drool with envy. Four Assistant Managers (AM) at one unit . . . three in another.
Let's take a little look.
In the Non-payment Unit, Nora as one AM, one Housing Assistant (HA) and one Clerical. (With a ratio of one manager to one Housing Assistant, I have to guess that the poor HA really needed some close supervision.)
Applicant Appeals has four (4) AMs assigned to it. Luckily, only three work there. You see, once it became apparent that there was hardly anything for them to do in Appeals, one AM was shipped over to the Termination Unit. But, as there is no additional slot there, that person is still carried on Application Appeals books.
A couple of months ago, Nora added in Mike Thomas and Mai Ho. That meant that the Terminations Unit had three (3) AMs and three (3) Has. (That might well be unprecedented at 250 Broadway. Way to go Nora baby!) Unfortunately, Ms. Ho did not have any experience in the unit, so you might think she was being trained on-the-job, so to speak. But you'd be wrong, Grasshopper! Nora knew that there wasn't really enough for two AMs to do, so she had Ms. Ho doing timecards for a month or so.
Why didn't Joanna get Nora a Timekeeper, if that's what she really needed?
Hmmm? You see, if Nora had received a new timekeeper, she wouldn't have benefited her career at the Housing Authority as much as she does by having another AM under her. (It's sort of like playing Monopoly. Figure that the actual Authority workers are houses in this game. Managerials are HOTELS. Having more of them, even useless non-working ones, is important.)
Although it seemed as if everyone was happy with Ms. Ho doing almost nothing, she began training herself. After a few more weeks, she was beginning to get the job down. So, this being our Housing Authority, Nora transferred her to the Victims of Domestic Violence Unit, where, of course, she knew nothing about her job. So, they told her to play timekeeper again. (If you need someone well versed in Time and Attendance, Ms. Ho is your woman!)
More recently, Nora was told that Mr. Kenneth Cox was coming to replace Sal Conte, as Mr. Conte has been busy elsewhere. Nora panicked, as she had promised Nick he'd get Mr. Conte's old position. As Nora knew that Mr. Cox was coming from the Manhattan Borough Office, she feared he might notice the over abundance of managerials in some of Nora's Units. So Nora quickly placed Ms. Ho into the Victims of Domestic Violence Unit (VDV). As the VDV Unit never had any AM's before, some folks have begun scratching their heads over this move of Ms. Ho. Especially when there are three capable people working in VDV already, and they all scored high on the test? But Nora didn't want to promote from within. (Does she need to keep the total body count high, or everyone will start questioning her plethora of high-priced do nothing AMs?)
Meanwhile, back in the Field--for those AM's at 250 Broadway who have never visited this FIELD thing, that's where New York's Public Housing mandate is actually carried out--they are crying for AMs. But, with Nora hoarding them, the Field doesn't have a chance. Speaking of T & A (Time & Attendance, you dirty minded people!), Nora has a thing for it. She is so tough on it she has forbidden Flex Time for some folks. Others she writes up for cumulative lateness. But, hey! When they pay you, they set the hours. That's only fair . . . IF it applies equally. In Nora's case, if you're Rose Alvarez and you act as Nora's baby sitter, 300 minutes of lateness can be ignored. (Nora tried blaming Jody for this, but I hear it didn't work.)
If it weren't NYCHA,
I wouldn't believe it!
© 1999 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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