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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 72
Published on January 4, 2001

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

New Year
Same Old NYCHA!

Once again we faced a problem in trying to fit the recent NYCHA-related foibles onto a two or, at the most, 3 page, faxed issue of the Public Housing Spotlight. Here on the Website, we can give you the links to documents that help tell the whole story.

We have 3 separate stories from the Baltimore Sun on Paul Graziano's recent arrest for gay bashing (See Below). As the relevant links to the Baltimore Sun's series of stories on this incident have expired, Click Here for the text of the narrative portion of the Police Report on Graziano's arrest as reported in the December 29, 2000 Sun article. I'm leaving these expired link addresses here for those whom may need the info the articles contained. If you go to the Baltimore Sun Archives (Click Here), and pay a nominal fee, you can retrieve the articles. The relevant links were:
http://www.sunspot.net/content/archive/story?section=archive&pagename=story&storyid=1150520220014 and

Then there are pages and pages of Contract Administration Department and Design Department paperwork that have blown over the transom in increasing numbers recently. (Our special thanks to Kalman Finkel and NYCHA's Kangaroo Court hearing on Frank Rogers again!) Most of these documents point towards large, easily solvable problems that seem to thrive in the NYCHA politically charged atmosphere. Some point to the ever present corruption in NYCHA's contracting processes.

So let's begin!

We weren't too surprised to hear that NYCHA's former General Manager, Paul Graziano, had too much to drink, or was gay-bashing.We've been at party's where Mr. Graziano has been on display.

But we were surprised that he got so abusive that police were called and Paul got arrested.

Fox-TV News from Baltimore called us for a comment on the arrest of the former General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority. The reporter explained what had happened.

Paul had gone to the Harbor Court Hotel with Baltimore Deputy-Mayor, Jeanne D. Hitchcock. They had dinner and drinks and after they parted Paul went by himself to a famed local bar, Bertha's Bar/Restaurant. (Bertha's is a legendary place in the Fell's Point area of Baltimore, which is similar in style to a British-style pub.)

Shortly after arriving, Paul began to berate two people about what he perceived to be their sexual orientation. According to witnesses, Paul began to loudly and crudely berate the people.

As Paul became more boisterous and offensive, the Bartender finally requested that he leave. He refused, and she was forced to call the local police.

When the first cop arrived, he ordered Paul out of the bar. Paul refused. Paul explained his importance in Baltimore's hierarchy, but the cop wasn't sufficiently impressed. After other officers arrived, Paul was arrested and taken to jail. (I guess the cop found out that Paul WAS connected, as Paul was released in record time.)

Paul and Baltimore's Mayor met with the press, whereupon Paul apologized for the trouble he had caused.

But, Paul claims he blacked out, so he can not remember any of the night. He can't even remember, or so he claims, whether he drove his city car that night or used other transportation. (There is another charge, thus far unconfirmed, that Paul was involved in another sexually related incident one hour prior to his arrest. If this charge is confirmed, we'll publish the details in a future issue.)

But he admits that he drinks heavily and that he has had blackouts after nights of drinking before.

Finkel/Franco appointed Paul as the Top Dog at NYCHA. As General Manager, Paul refused to even answer reports of corruption sent to him by myself and a Supervisor of Inspectors who worked in Bill Russo's corrupt Contract Administration Department. When women were fair game for sexual harassment by Bruce Gatewood (and Ruben Franco), they had to report the charges to Sonia Martinez, Franco's mistress at the time. When Ms. Martinez gave them no satisfaction, their next step was to report to the General Manager, Paul Graziano. They, along with the honest inspectors, found that reporting illegalities at NYCHA is a farce.

Due to this organized system of corruption and cover-up, at least 6 women now have better jobs and large cash settlements. You, the taxpayer had to pay the $ to settle their cases. The city HAD to settle, as they could NOT stand for any court to hear testimony about what goes on behind closed doors at NYCHA.

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We have often mentioned how, for certain contractors/vendors, NYCHA seems to have unlimited funds for work that even NYCHA's own experts find unnecessary. And how NYCHA's execs care little about your (taxpayer) $ they receive from HUD, NY State and NY City. Here's a quick and representative example.

The August 13, 1998 memo from Gennady Reyngold, a Contract Administration Inspector for 504 type work, covers contract work at Cypress Hill Houses. (Click Here)

(504 work involves modifying existing apartments, building entrances and other public areas so that physically handicapped persons may enjoy a somewhat enhanced quality of life in NYCHA's developments. Handrails in toilets, ramps at building entrances and wider doorways that allow the passage of wheel chairs are among the changes covered by 504 statutes.)

In this memo, Mr. Reyngold is giving his Area Supervisor. Mikhail Vaynblat, a professional opinion on what changes are and are not necessary to fix some major problems in Contract #AD9700011- Modified Entrances with Barrier Free Accessibility.
The memo covers 5 items.

  • 1) Inspector Reyngold reports that the contract can NOT be built using the drawings that NYCHA has supplied. Inspector Reyngold tells his boss that even the elevations aren't correct in the drawing, and that instead of a simple ramped entrance NYCHA will now need to extend the ramps. In some cases, platforms and turns will now be needed.
  • 2) Inspector Reyngold reports that don't clearly reflect the existing structure.
  • 3) Inspector Reyngold recommends that NYCHA does NOT replace stairhall doors, as per the contract. Inspector Reyngold points out that the existing year-old doors are in good condition, having been just replaced under contract #GR9500078 in 1997, the proceeding year! He states that he believes the current doors should remain and a credit taken on the contract for new doors.
  • 4) Inspector Reyngold asks why it is also necessary, under this new contract, to replace the "vinyl tile and mastic" when, according to Inspector Reyngold, new tile "exists in all the lobbies of the buildings and is in sound condition." Further, regarding the existing tiles, Inspector Reyngold relates that "As per the Superintendent, John Pascrello, these tiles were installed last year." The Inspector finished this section by asking "Is it necessary to replace the existing tiles?"
  • 5) Inspector Reyngold writes that "Several of the entrance doors have damaged laminated glass panels. I believe that they should be replaced on this contract."

So, as you'll see (in the linked documents) from the comments sent back to the inspector, Inspector Reyngold was basically told to mind his own business.

So what if the existing doors are fine, and less than a year old? Not NYCHA! Their answer to Inspector Reyngold on the doors was "We want to replace doors".

That's it!

No justification for ignoring the advice of a man they pay to inspect and sign for payments for contract work.

In item 4, Inspector Reyngold asks if it is necessary to replace the new tile that, as he points out, is new and in good shape.

NYCHA's answer: "Yes!"

What the Hell, it ain't their $!

Penny Wise!
(But Pound on subordinates???)

Click Here to view a copy of an October 25, 2000 memo from Kenneth Eisenstat, Asst. Director for the Operations Division. The memo was sent to all Senior Staff, Section Chiefs and Supervisors.

It states that a Telephone Activity Report for each staff is attached and tells the staff that each NYCHA employee who has used more than $1.01 for "non-business calls" must ante up the $ to pay for those calls. It does NOT give any procedure to be followed if the employee does NOT believe the calls on NYCHA's sheet were non-business.

So, around 10,000 employees are being monitored to see if they used $1.02 or more in calls to numbers that NYCHA thinks may not be business related.

How much does it cost to perform such a task? Does a $1-$2 payment from an employee prove cost effective in this scheme
We doubt it.

Again, if an employee spends so much time on the phone that it becomes a problem, the supervisor should be the one in trouble.

And Ken Eisenstat is a poor choice to be composing memos on how to handle employee problems. Let's remember, in the Paula Jones case against Bill Clinton, the court quoted from another (NYCHA) sex harass case. Ms. Elizabeth Crisonino, an architect who worked at NYCHA, had brought a sexual harassment suit against the Authority. Ken Eisenstat, NYCHA's moral voice on paying for personal phone calls, didn't come out looking too good! (Click Here and scroll down to the heading "Assault Cases".)

Here's a direct quote from the Law Journal:

In upholding Crisonino's Title VII claim against NYCHA, the court observed that Eisenstat had not only called Crisonino a "dumb bitch," but had shoved Crisonino "so hard that she fell backward and hit the floor, sustaining injuries" from which she did not fully recover.

And poor NYCHA doesn't know why it currently can't attract talented people, as it had in the past????

© 2001 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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