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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 55
Published on April 26, 2000

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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Breakfast Time
at 90 Church Street

This Friday, April 28, the City Council will be sitting down to breakfast with our fearless NYCHA leaders. The "Legislative Breakfast" will be held at 8:30 AM in the 6th Floor Cafeteria at 90 Church Street. When we receive the list of attendees, we will know who we should all look to for answers to the questions we have been asking for nearly 2 years on these pages, and the much more recent queries brought about by DOI's pitiful excuse (in the SI Advance) as to why their investigations never caught any big fish. (More of these water-bound analogies later.)

We petition any City Council member with integrity to ask the following of NYCHA execs and the DOI hacks, who seem really serve as a large public relations department for City Hall.

  • 1) Why would the IG refuse to interview a NYCHA employee who had information on corruption in the upper ranks of NYCHA? (Read the Corruption Issue on the web.)
  • 2) If "going public" was what ruined the IG investigation, as DOI now claims, what did they do in the months between the beginning of the investigation, when they were handed Tony DiAlto's info on the corrupt group of inspectors and contractors, and 14 months later when, after they refused for almost a full year to accept the info on upper-level NYCHA corruption and we finally decided it was time to go public?
  • 3) Why is there no interest in the $100,000,000 in taxpayer's funds that was wastefully offered for a 20-year lease in a condemned building?
  • 4) Putting the shoe on the other foot:
    Other than Council Member Archie Spigner's* (broken) promise of a hearing on NYCHA problems and Council Member Ken Fisher's** (broken) promise of a meeting to discuss the NYCHA problems, there has there been no activity on the part of the taxpayer on this issue by the very members of the City Council who will be begging for voter support for their "new" jobs in just a matter of months? Some members have offered much encouragement but even they have remained in hiding, not wanting their support to become public knowledge. That, we believe, is just as bad as those who feign interest and then fail on their promises.

Many of you have taken great risks in order to air your complaints of corruption at NYCHA. As you listen to this year's crop of candidates for political office brag about how important you are, ask yourself why they failed to listen to your complaints. And if they fail you now, why should you help them at all when they need you?

*Mr. Spigner represents District 27- comprised of St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Baisley Park, Addisleigh Park; parts of Queens Village, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens. Mr. Spigner is Chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee.
**Mr. Fisher represents District 33- comprised of Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint; parts of Williamsberg, Park Slope, Boerum Hill

We'll turn the rest of the issue over to our readers. There has been an increase in both the numbers of people who visit the website and the number of NYCHA employees who have decided to trust Spotty with their stories, both in Central Offices and in the field. Here's some of their thoughts, edited to remove any means of identification of the authors. They are a collection of thoughts, complaints and rumors they hear at their workplaces:

At the very end of the Staten Island Advance story about the 3 CAD employees pleading guilty to taking bribes, the following request was made: "He (Edward J. Kuriansky, DOI Commissioner) said the investigation was 'actively continuing' and urged all Housing Authority employees to contact DOI's Inspector General at (212) 306-3355 with any 'information or evidence of wrongdoing.'"

One NYCHA reader replies:

"Oh! Please! Call that # for what? What a load of crap! These three little guppies take the fall for the killer whales who continue swimming?"

Another, using "guppies" again, writes:

Three small guppies get caught in the net while the 9th floor 'bottom feeders' continue with impunity!

A NYCHA employee takes on Leased Housing, where their leader Mr. Kern was the winner of our initial "DUMB" award . Our source writes:

The Brooklyn office of Leased Housing is unsafe! It has asbestos in the hallways (and probably the basement as well). Everyday there is something weird going on with the electricity, or with the computers that have to be shut down at the end of each day. Mr. Kern knew last November that the building was not going to be ready: yet he intentionally moved us into an unsafe and hazardous building. People who need to go down to the basement are getting sick on the fumes that are in the air. Mr. Kern goes to the Brooklyn office not to check the morale of the common workers, but to worry about the window shades not being straight or what's on a workers screen saver. When OSHA came to check the third and fourth floor of our building, they did not like what they saw. But the owners refuse to let them see the new place in the basement where Mr. Kern is thinking of sticking people. Mr. Parnes, a friend of Kalman Finkel's, is just as useless. Mr. Parnes has never written up a single case, and neither has Mr. Kern. But everyday they put conditions and quotas on employees' work. The fact that neither has ever dealt with the NYCHA public or come face to face with those tenants who can be aggressive people might be the reason they have no understanding of our job. It's very easy to command from command central at 90 Church Street.

Now 90 Church is heard from:

Over here at 90 Church, we no longer have any security guards! Their contract expired and wasn't renewed UMMM! HOW MUCH HAVE EXECUTIVE/POLITICAL PROMOTIONS AND FINKEL'S FRIENDS COST US? I'll bet plenty! But no security guards for the rest of US! AN irate tenant recently went off her rocker and threatened NORA REISSIG-LAZZARO. They had her arrested and now they are installing a safety window in reception area!

Another 90 Church worker writes:

The doors at 90 Church Street are cheap and the locks are constantly out of order. Taking into consideration all the staff in the place and all the tenants who come for help, there are hundreds of people moving in & out all day long. That much traffic every day is taking it's toll on the materials in the building, and knowing NYCHA it's probably paying the highest dollar for the cheapest materials. Things are so bad here, they are building Nora a new little rattrap now that she's been promoted to deputy director. (And why was her promotion so secretive? No memo or even an announcement in the Bulletin!)

Another reader writes:

Hey Spotty! Just thought you'd like to know that Sylvia Castaneda is still getting her NYCHA check even though she left months ago. She's working with her mentor, Ninfa Segarra, but even Ninfa is no longer the Dep. Mayor for Housing stuff anymore, as she's left City Hall. But Sylvie's still grabbing HUD's bucks!

This reader heard some news on the new General Manager:

You know that Anthony Navarro is the new G.M. of NYCHA. But I also heard that his previous job was with a bank as the chief of ...get this.... PROPERTY LIQUIDATION. He'll probably work very closely with Naomi Lara from Asset Management.

Next up:

How about a Tenant Association (TA) member who is on the payroll of three contractors, all at the same time? I thought the hiring of tenants by contractors was supposed to be shared by all the residents and not just exclusively by the TA president's husband. Alps mechanical is the boiler contractor, and the hubby gets paid for supplying "security" for Alps. He is also paid for providing "Security" for the grounds renovation contractor and the contractor for the oil separation system. For at least the last few years, he has been the sole employee of all contracts that were performed at the Isaacs Houses. He threatens job stoppages if he doesn't get what he wants. The oil remediation contractor once made a mistake and handed a rather thick envelope of cash to an innocent tenant. The tenant was honest and handed the envelope back, but the word soon spread around the development.

This same guy is also paid by the contractor who runs the laundry room. He is paid as an attendant.

We're still growing!

In a recent issue we posted some statistics that, we thought, showed the growth of Spotty's web site.

However, some of the more savvy web users complained that we hadn't given specific "numbers of hits", as most web sites use that number as a gauge.

That was a personal choice, and I can debate hits versus visits some other time. For now, we'll give the traditional numbers. Fuller charts and other figures can be seen by clicking here for November's figures, and clicking here for the figures for March.

In brief, here's the hits:

November, 1999: 14,002 Hits

March, 2000: 31,923 Hits

Not too shabby,
thanks to all of you!

© MM 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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