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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 63
Published on September 7, 2000

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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Kudos, Bugs and
Do the Crime,
but do "No Time"

It has been over a month since our last issue. Many things combined to cause the month long delay. One major item I hope will finish soon, and then we'll share that story.

As for the rest of the missing month, it's the old good news/bad news syndrome.

First, the good news.

Chair Martinez seems to be trying to make a difference. We have been told of changes he has recently made, and of some that will be coming shortly. Some of the incompetent and/or corrupt villains that your letters have exposed have already been disciplined, while others will shortly receive the bad news. You will hear of these changes through the grapevine, NOT in the Spotlight. Were we to announce these changes, we would be helping to insure that the changes would stop immediately. Nevertheless, for the most part, the changes will be so obvious as to announce themselves.

While there are plenty of other problems to keep us busy, and Mr. Martinez seems disinclined to address those problems as there are political leaches he would have to confront, the problems that he has currently begun addressing were making the workday torturous for many of NYCHA's Central Office staff.

Therefore, a tip of Spotty's cap goes to Chair John Martinez. You may have done less than we hoped for morale, but, honestly, you have done more than we ever really expected.

The bad news on this is that in order to effect fundamental change to much of NYCHA's other, and equally important, problem areas, Martinez would need either:

  • 1) Rudy's okay to do whatever necessary, including dumping Mayoral sycophants, to turn the Authority into something resembling a well run corporation or
  • 2) the threat of a real, honest investigation by the NYC Council (see below) or a Federal Agency.

Unfortunately, the chance of any of those events occurring is about as likely as Ruben Franco being brought back into NYCHA as its drug enforcement Czar!

And, in a bad move that should help crooked contractors and greedy NYCHA folks, we're told that the sentencing of John Honohan has taken place. Mr. Honohan was the NYCHA CAD Inspector caught in the Fed's bribery sting. Well, instead of the 10 years in jail that was mentioned in the Staten Island Advance story (Click Here), we're told that Mr. Honohan is a free man. He pled GUILTY and WAS convicted.

But he's now free?

I keep telling everyone that there is NO WAY NYCHA, or any politicians that have used NYCHA's $ for their own purposes, can afford to allow any trials to happen over NYCHA corruption.

I guess that this no jail message was meant to give some assurance of immunity to real prosecution to crooked contractors, crooked Inspectors and any crooked NYCHA execs involved in the bidding and awarding of contracts.

The dozen honest NYCHA people who worked for the IG/DOI in their aborted investigation have all learned this lesson a long time ago. The rest of you should also try to remember it:

If you're crooked, you're out of jail.
If you're honest, you're out of NYCHA!

City Council Whines:

We just needed more time!

In the month since our last issue, a few of you have contacted us about talks you had with various members of the NYC Council. From the newest members on up to Mr.'s Vallone and Spigner, the same refrain is heard. "The Spotlight jumped the gun!" "If we had more time, things would/could have been different." And "*&^$ that Spotty and the horse he rode in on!"

More time? . . .

Is that a good defense?

You be the judge.

Listen to Tony DiAlto on the tape. (There are plenty of other tapes, just waiting for the revival of some comatose investigative body that wants to look into the misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer's funds. We stopped posting them when someone from DOI said that by making them public it hurt any investigation. If nothing is done soon, we will post more from Tony, John Kilpatrick, Steve Gruberger, Jim Gleba and Bill Russo.)

(Recently, Bill Russo has coined himself a mantra to repeat while meditating. It is: "Don't believe everything you read." Seems that on two different occasions recently Russo was confronted by tenants who were readers of our rag. Each time, as soon as Bill was told that the people knew of him through Spotty, he quickly ran away while chanting that new mantra!)

Read the corruption Issue. Look at the date of publication. (April 30, 1999) Does the Council want us to believe that in the 16 months from the date of that issue they could not find the time to schedule a look into the charges? (I guess there too busy worrying about working fountains in City Parks. A noble cause, which has the added benefit of being one where you have little chance of offending contractors with deep pockets.)

But we gave them much more than 16 months.

Polly Kreisman's series of reports on WWOR (Channel 9) about our charges ran on Channel 9 (WOR) a full year before our publishing the Corruption Issue.

The Council had well over two years to act. And to this day, we have not been asked a single question by any Council Member, despite the fact that we (the group of honest inspectors and other NYCHA folk) were ready to testify to items that are costing the City's taxpayers a small fortune.

By ignoring the corruption, the City Council has become part of the problem. Please don't allow them to even hint that they might be part of a solution.

Their lack of interest in our problems led us to contemplate endorsements in next year's Council race. Their idiotic excuse of "not enough time" has helped solidify our thoughts in that area. This absolute dereliction of their duty makes it all the more obvious that the current crop of politicians has no interest in NYCHA, whether it be the tenants or the employees. That would indicate that we need to change the faces of our local politicians. This leads to our first political endorsement.

As the people behind this enterprise run the gamut from Buchanan supporters to those still wearing McGovern for President buttons, and about every shade in between, endorsement here will be based solely on a candidate's record of supporting things important to the NYCHA employees and tenants. Other items will surely be important to all of you, and in no way do we even wish that this biased rag be your only guide through the political morasses you face in a voting booth.

But if you think you're faced with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum on Election Day, we hope our recommendation will come into play.

The Spotlight hopes you'll support Ms. Liz Krueger in the Democratic Primary for the State Senate nomination for the 26th District (often referred to as the Silk Stocking District) of Manhattan. In addition, if you have some spare time, you might want to volunteer to help her campaign. The primary is on Tuesday, September 12.

For the most part, the 26th District covers Manhattan's East Side, from 14th Street to 89th Street.

If Ms. Krueger wins the nomination, she will face the incumbent State Senator, Roy Goodman, for election in November. Mr. Goodman is the Chair of the State Senate's Taxation and Government Operations Committee, which, as there is some State funding used by NYCHA, would seem to be another committee that should be looking into NYCHA. Therefore, we may revisit the 26th Senate District in a few weeks.

Why is NYCHA so buggy?

Recently, we all saw the TV News coverage of NYCHA's rats. (Too easy to make a joke here!)

But while all the talk was of exterminating the vermin, bugs are getting over big time.

NYCHA is in a bind. They don't have enough licensed exterminators to cover the huge number of buildings under NYCHA's umbrella. So, when a lack of qualified personnel causes a problem, Ol' NYCHA just reschedules.

Project Management tells us that they've been directed to stop processing tickets concerning exterminating. In the past, when tenants reported seeing a large number of bugs in one of our developments a ticket was written requesting that an exterminator be sent to deal with the problem.

Not any more!

Now the tenant is just told when the next "scheduled" visit by an exterminator is due. (If you have to live with an army of roaches, that's too damn bad!)

No "Ticket" is written at all!

Our sources tell us that this is especially true in the Brooklyn area.

Other problems Project Management must deal with in this area include having inappropriate supervision of much of the Skilled Trades, and our thin rank of exterminators. We're told some horror stories about Superintendents who feel like they're beating their heads against a wall while trying to explain a problem to supervisors of Skilled Trades who: 1) don't have any experience in the area of work they supervise and 2) want so badly to cut any overtime that they make their people work in areas like community centers when they are being used for child-care or occupied for other reasons.

This policy also carries over to the exterminators. We've been told that supervisors of exterminators, who don't hold the appropriate license that would allow them the knowledge of how dangerous those chemicals are, give direction that amounts to:

Where toddlers are playing
NYCHA will be spraying.

According to one Project Manager, even the Brooklyn Borough Administrator, Robert [Bobby] Knapp has begun giving orders to the licensed exterminators, forcing them to choose between doing things safely or pissing off the Administrator. In one Brooklyn case, a Community Center in Coney Island is not being treated, because the Administrator will not authorize the overtime needed to spray the Center while it is not occupied.

We're letting our tenant's down and allowing the spread of whatever diseases the now ignored bugs may bring into our buildings. To save money (to help cover for all the waste), we've crippled our ability to limit the developments' vermin AND bugs.

Apartments in my neighborhood get visited by an exterminator once a month. In NYCHA, the visits are getting down to 3-4 times a year, with some Developments getting only 2 visits a year.

Meanwhile, it seems like every day some neighborhoods in our city are being sprayed with poison to stop mosquitoes from spreading what, according to the NYC Health Dept., is a mild case of the flu???

© 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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