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Public Housing Spotlight

Issue 86
Published on June 15, 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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City Council Crooks?

We now have a better idea of what we're up against when we try to get help in fighting corruption in this City. To fully understand the possible reason at least one Council Member ran before our Council testimony, please see Tom Robbin's story in this week's [June 13 - 19] Village Voice. (CLICK HERE)

The story concerns City Council Member Thomas V. Ognibene, a Member of Archie Spigner's Housing and Building's Committee.

It helps explain a lot to those of us dumbfounded at the Council's lack of interest in fighting corruption. Albeit reading that one of the Council Members (who disappeared when we testified before his committee) was himself being investigated by the Manhattan DA isn't the greatest confidence builder.

The story is headlined as "The Councilman and the Crooked Building Consultant - INSIDE EDGE"

We hope that the political futures of the do-nothing members of Archie Spigner's Housing and Buildings committee and Ms. Kathryn Freed's Contracts Committee are not politically rosy, to say the least.

In hopes of letting the NYCHA tenant's and NYCHA employees show their disfavor with Council Members who slink away when NYCHA corruption is mentioned, we will name each member at the end of this issue, and we'll include a link to their "official" biographies and details of the district that made the mistake of electing them.

(As Ms. Freed was the only member to remain at the hearing during the whistle-blower testimony, she gets a pass on this . . . but just barely. As she was a Committee Chair, she had many options to insure that Council Members stayed for all the important testimony. She should have used one of those options.)

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Take that!

As feared, it seems that NYCHA is glad the City Council revealed some of the whistle-blowers, as it made NYCHA retaliation that much easier.

George Contoveros was one of the people who were led to slaughter by Kathryn Freed's specious invitation to speak out on NYCHA corruption at the aforementioned City Council hearing. George testified on April 26, 2001. Exactly one week later, Freeman Grady, Assistant Superintendent at Baruch Houses wrote George up for "Poor Work Performance and Low Apartment Inspection Productivity" in early March!

There was no write up immediately following either of those supposed "low productivity" dates. There was no write-up until two months later, just a week AFTER the hearing!

This write-up is so obviously in retaliation for George's testimony that it almost screams "set-up" from the very text on the page. For, if the charges were true, George completed three tickets and had four tickets undone as tenants weren't home on one day and completed two others with three tickets returned with tenants not home on a subsequent day. According to Mr. Grady's own memo, these two days were IN EARLY MARCH! One was on March 2 and the other on March 7. If we only take Mr. Grady's side, and not give George any opportunity to defend himself, we would have George Contoveros taking 2 days to answer tickets on 12 apartments (5 complete, 7 not at home), while it took Mr. Freeman Grady 63 days from George's first "offence" to write the memo chastising George. The Authority has a written quota . . . er, "goal" of 8.8 tickets a day, as verified in the Grady memo.

Based on the time needed to generate the memo, Mr. Grady only needs to put 3-4 words a day onto paper to reach the NYCHA goal of harassing truth-telling!

As this type of memo is often written so that the recipient can be brought up on more serious charges as soon as he commits (or is set-up with) another offence George would be smart to remember the list of members (at page bottom) of the two committees when they run for any other office.

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. . . or are there just no "Executive material" Blacks in NYCHA?

Click Here to view an organization chart headed by NYCHA's Executive structure of the Chair and the 2 Board Members. (Finkel is finally gone! We're told that he's going to sit at some other agency until he has enough time to collect more tax bucks through a City pension.)

This chart follows the organization from Chair down to the Directors.

And, it is an eye opener.

Of the 66 Director slots on the chart, there are 1 Asian, 9 Black and 10 Hispanic. And there are 44 White Directors!

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That's right, in the largest public housing agency in the country, where the Black employees comprise nearly 50% of the workforce and the White's comprise about 20%, only 14% of the Directors are Black while 66% are White. Hispanics do just slightly better, having one more Director and a smaller percentage of the NYCHA workforce.

I guess NYCHA thinks that these figures are fair and represent the real distribution of talent and leadership qualities amongst the races?

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City Council Hall of Shame

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Click Here to get more info
on the committee members.

(The Contracts Committee and
The Housing and Buildings Committee.)

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Archie Spigner (Chair)
Thomas V. Ognibene
Stanley E. Michels
Martin Malave-Dilan
Helen M. Marshall
Lawrence Warden
Tracy Boyland
Madeline Provenzano
Michael C. Nelson
Tracy Boyland
Pedro Espada
Margarita Lopez
Bill Perkins
Eva S. Moskowitz
Stephen Fiala

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Give this site a visit

(Ed note: I visitted it. I liked it. I think most of you will!)

Everything You Always Suspected
(Click Here)

On The QT focuses on nonpartisan reform. Issues range from the national to the neighborhood. A premise of On The QT is that corruption knows no ideological boundaries. Neither left nor right has a lock on reform. The need for reform is a movement unto itself. On The Qt pays homage to the scandal magazines of the 1950's, when publicity machines shoveled manure about public figures and the mainstream media spread it. Scandal magazines rushed to fill the void. Though their motives were mercenary and their stories often outrageous, scandal mags at times provided a dose of much needed truth. On The Qt doesn't follow their focus but hopes to evoke their spirit.

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© 2001 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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Issue links are at page bottom
or click here for a Directory page with Issue overviews.

Click on the mailbox to send us your thoughts!
Or Message/Fax us with info at 718/745-0170

Links to all Issues are at page bottom

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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NYC Housing Authority's
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Public Housing Authorities
Directors Association site

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