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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 77
Published on March 17, 2001

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

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Kalman Finkel

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is outta here!

In this Saturday's Newsday, Dan Janison reports that both (NYCHA Board Member) Kalman Finkel and (NYCHA's Chair) John Martinez will soon be sent packing by Mayor Giuliani. (Click Here)

Let's first visit the Good News.

Finkel's departure is long overdue. His arrogance of position seemed to have no bounds. When he wanted to sign that 20 year $100,000,000 lease with a Limited Liability Corp owned by a group including his son's friend, he insured it would happen. The fact that Myrtle Whitmore's integrity and her love of NYCHA's tenants wouldn't allow her to vote for such an obvious boondoggle was NOT going to impede Finkel's plans. If canceling meetings would allow the vote to be delayed until AFTER Myrtle was gone, then that's what would happen. And Finkel's Friends, be they friends of Fink Senior or the junior Fink, surely got their deal.

Now it's been proven that Spotty was right 3 year's ago when we reported that the Fink arranged for his daughter to get hired by Interboro, the company that, ironically, is years late in installing a working time clock system in NYCHA. (We were also told his brother received employment with this laid-back NYCHA contractor at around the same time as his daughter, but that doesn't matter much now.)

So the Fink will leave. Wonder where he'll go? According to Mr. Janison's story, "Finkel is expected to move on to a job with a city tax-review panel, sources said."

So let's see how that equates with real life at NYCHA.

The Fink is found guilty of making an unethical arrangement with a NYCHA contractor. That contractor is way overdue on performing on the ATIS (Timekeeping system) contract. That contractor has also received huge "extra's" on the contract, at taxpayer expense. Fink meets with that contractor to discuss how that contractor can increase it's chances of getting contracts with other City Agencies. (We didn't realize that consulting on contracting with other City Agencies was part of the Fink's job description . . . but let's not get petty!) While Fink, who is getting paid by the taxpayer, and Interboro, who is getting paid BIG-TIME by the taxpayer, discuss getting Interboro contracts outside of NYCHA, Fink tells his daughter's tale of woe.

Voila! Interboro somehow realizes that hiring Fink's daughter may be something it wants to do. Cost overruns continue, as does the delay in timekeeping system operation.

Everybody seems happy. (Well, that damn taxpayer might not be too ecstatic, but taxpayer's are treated like moles and are kept in the dark, so let's forget them!)

When Fink's feces hits the fan, he's given the boot by City Hall. Justice Triumphs, one might think. But while employees at NYCHA are routinely fired when caught punching a friend's timecard, and their chance of employment with another city agency is about the same as Rudy appointing Reverend Sharpton as Police Commissioner, the Fink is going to another City job!!! What a way to run a City!

Now the Bad News.

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We do NOT believe that John Martinez took NYCHA and changed it into any promised land. But we'll be the first to admit that he tried. And we know he was beginning to make a difference.

We've received email from NYCHA employees telling us of their impressions of Mr. Martinez. The vast majority told us of things he had done that impressed them. For most it came down to trust and access. Martinez wasn't afraid to talk directly to "low-level" employees.

Prior to his ascension to the NYCHA throne, his predecessor was know to travel in a convoy of vehicles chock full of sycophants. Dealing with entry level people was deemed beneath these NYCHA Nobles, except when a camera was in the vicinity.

Martinez talked to the people who wrote us. Some of them told him of complaints that they would have feared expressing in the past. And they reported to us that they were pleasantly surprised to find that their supervisors were NOT told of the complaint and no retaliation followed their speaking with the Chair.

Now before others start wondering if John Martinez might be our poster boy of the month, let's be clear. Martinez was an improvement, but he wasn't enough.

As long as the NYCHA Board is not held strictly accountable for it's use of taxpayer funds, and the Chair has less power than tens of other political appointees (supposedly) under him/her, NYCHA will always be like a piggy bank with billions inside and a crowd of people grabbing handfuls of cash through a crack.

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Now, we'll guess, Joanna Aniello
will be placed as
keeper of the piggy bank.
Spotty will keep you appraised
of the new adventure!

© 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.

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And for a great source of New York City news and
policy information, visit our friends at the Gotham Gazette

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