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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 80
Published on April 9, 2001

For a printable (PDF) version of any Spotlight articles, please specify the issue and email us at nychaspotlight@netscape.net

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

(Click Here for Directory of Issues)

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New York City Council
Hearing update!

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As a result of your comments, we will continue to post between-issue news in the pop-up window you encounter when you first click for our current issue. As a new issue is published, the updates will be included in the issue and removed from the pop-up window.

Here are the updates that we had posted on the Spotlight website since our last issue:

  • Update (3/31/01): In Issue 78 (Tuesday, March 27) we told you of the $9,800 NYCHA estimates for each replacement for a Steel Stairhall Door in a Development. On Thursday, March 29th, Eftihia Tsitiridis, Deputy Director of Design, ordered all entrance modernization jobs (in the design phase) to be temporarily halted. We believe she is now counting how many (super-expensive) $9,800 stair exit doors the taxpayers will be buying over the next 5 years.
  • UPDATE (4/04/01): We've published a new issue (ATIS 1) exploring the chronology of the Interboro Systems ATIS (Timekeeping) system. Included are documents related to this contract. Kalman Finkel's arranging for Interboro Systems to hire his daughter has caused him to be fined by the Conflict of Interest Board.
  • UPDATE (4/06/01): Sources close to the investigation have just told us that the NYCHA IG's office has suddenly decided to "re-visit" its (aborted) investigation into corruption in the Contract Administration Department. Gee, don't you wonder what could have woken them up? Couldn't be Spotty's announcement of a Council hearing, could it?

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Today, Monday, April 9: We received a phone call from Plumbers Local #1. The Plumber's union will back their members who will testify at the New York City Council committee hearings on Thursday, April 26. They believe the hearings are necessary and they will have representation from Local 1 at the hearing. We'll soon be publishing a full list of the unions who are promising to back their members who agree to testify to the Council, and those who refuse, if any.

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Update on Fink's Folly!
The Long Island City warehouse
owned by friends' of
(NYCHA Board Member)
Kalman Finkel's family.

We write of the $100,000,000 lease NYCHA signed for the $8,000,000 building, and that may well be stealing from the taxpayer. So our outrage is justified.

But what about the people working every day on the decrepit site. Well, we heard from yet another NYCHA employee who spends much of each day worried about personal safety while Fink's friends are counting the $ that NYCHA has agreed to pay.

Here's what we've learned from this new correspondent.

The people who have been stuck in this illegal building (no Certificate of Occupancy, electrical work not up to NYC code, areas where the floor has collapsed, etc.) are getting more worried about the hazards in the building. The current bin system for storing materials, set up on all the floors of this building, due to the poor floor space, reaches up to the height of the building. NYCHA is stacking all types of material 3 to 4 rows high, with poor support to hold the skids on the racks. It's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured by this shaky system for maximizing storage in the spaces where the floor isn't cracked and unsafe.

Another disaster in waiting concerns the new types of sophisticated Hi-Lo's NYCHA has decided to use in the warehouse. NYCHA has not trained any of the operators on these machines, although they are completely different from the normal Hi-Lo's the operators were trained to operate. One wrong turn or jerk and some serious damage could be done.

We're told that NYCHA is being evicted from its Kent Warehouse on May 1, so they are forced to move into a unsafe, illegal facility that needs a minimum of millions of dollars in repairs that would take months to complete.

As you read this, new elevators are being constructed in this monstrosity. Painting, re-wiring and all sorts of construction work is constantly in progress. This work is going on at the same time that the moving of other warehouse materials from all over NYCHA-land is being ordered, causing many near accidents.

A generator is still being used
to supply us with electricity.

About a 3rd of the Garage doors work, and the single elevator that is operational may be the advance beta model of the original Otis machine. The parking around this facility is horrendous. There are no stores for blocks to be seen.

They don't worry about any fancy ATIS timekeeping system over at Fink's Folly, as there are no time clocks. Employee's time is being kept on an honor system. There are no operational emergency doorways in certain areas of the facility. NYCHA ordered the locking up of many of the existing emergency exits, and employees were ordered that many others were never to be used!

What would happen in case of a fire?

Use the elevator?

Poor option, when you consider that there is only one antiquated elevator in operation.

Jump out the window?

No, the windows are secured!

Out of 4 floors in the building, there is but one bathroom facility. It is located on the 2nd floor. If you don't want your boss to start nagging you about the amount of time it takes you for a bathroom break, you'd best bring a bucket with you in the morning! There are no kitchen facilities, no access to water or to any other amenities common to the average City Agency.

The place is a total wreck.

Cracked floors, unpainted walls, dirty floors, broken glass, and who knows what other manner of hazardous conditions are in this horror.

What kind of morale can you expect of the workers being sent to NYCHA's Siberia.

I guess that until someone is seriously hurt, NYCHA, the Fire Department and the Building's Department will all pretend that this warehouse in Long Island City doesn't exist.

What will NYCHA say when the first serious injury occurs because Kalman Finkel wanted his family's friends to make a quick few million$?

"Sorry!" just won't do it!

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Speaking of Safety

We've been getting reports of problems during the Fire Drills at NYCHA's offices at 90 Church Street.

Walking the corridors during a drill, you will find areas where the PA system is not working and you cannot hear the instructions. In other areas, safety is daunted by the combination of poor speakers and a poor speaker (heavily accented English coming through a tinny speaker) leads one to daydream that you're still on a subway platform on your way to work.)

The corridors at 90 Church were obviously not built to be used for such a large staff to gather and then exit a burning building.

(Another issue will be published soon
on the ATIS timekeeping system.)

© 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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