Within a month of working under Mr. Timpinaro, he confessed that he had received instructions to give me unusual scrutiny. (Click Here) While he wasn't directly told to find reason to dismiss me, he confessed that his understanding was that he should find reason for such a dismissal. After talking for a while, we both decided to just ignore the instructions he had received.
As word of what happened to me as a result of finding those contracts spread out to the field, other Inspectors assumed that I was trustworthy. So, they began to tell me stories of odd happenings in the field. They explained that it soon became obvious that certain contractors were to be handled with kid gloves, while others were to be closely inspected and given no breaks. They told me that if an inspector got the two types of contractors/treatment confused, and didn't treat a "favored" contractor in a "favored" manner, the inspector could expect harassment from management. The harassment could run from a punitive transfer to being written up on false or ridiculous charges.
In two different incidents in which I was set up for charges that would lead to my dismissal, I was lucky to have an honest supervisor. Although CAD's Director wanted me fired, and his Asst. Director James Gleba and Field Chief Leon Michel did everything in their power to grant Russo's wish, the 3 stooges continually failed.
The first time, Mr. Michel tried to set me up on charges that could not only get me dismissed from NYCHA, they could have wound up with me facing Federal charges for intentionally allowing a hazardous environment to go unreported. Mr. Michel was now the Field Chief to whom Mr. Timpinaro had to report. On February 29, 1996, I was beeped by the Haber (Brooklyn) Field Office. When I called, I was told that my boss, Mr. Timpinaro, wanted to speak with me. When he came on the phone, he asked where I was. I told him that I was in the boiler room at Wyckoff Gardens. Mr. Timpinaro told me that Mr. Michel had just called and told him that I was nowhere to be found at Wyckoff. Jim sounded very doubtful that I could be telling the truth, as Mr. Michel had been emphatic as to my being AWOL. I swore to Jim that I was indeed on the site. Mr. Timpinaro directed me to come directly to the Field Office, where he verbally counseled me about the need to be where I was supposed to be and the need to inform the Field Office in advance of my moving off a site. I stood silent, trying to keep my temper in check.
I did not see Mr. Michel again until the following Monday, March 4. By then, I had checked with the Superintendent and Assistant. Super at Wyckoff and had learned some things. So I asked Leon if I could speak with him. As Mr. Timpinaro was not in the office, we went into his office area.
I explained to Mr. Michel that both the Super and his assistant were willing to come to any meeting and swear that Mr. Michel had been "lost" at Wyckoff. The Superintendent, Mr. Artie Tooms, had told Mr. Michel which buildings were Wyckoff, but Mr. Michel went across 3rd Avenue to a different development, Warren Houses. There, Mr. Michel didn't find me in the boiler room, but he did find exposed friable Asbestos.
I was not the Inspector for the job going on at Warren Houses. Mohammad Arif was. And he had an asbestos removal company working at his project. But, again, the asbestos was at Warren Houses not Wyckoff Gardens.
As Mr. Michel had told everyone of my "offences", I said that I would hope for an apology. He said that I could expect no apology, as "I don't see any problem here." .
Well, I thought differently and I said so. In fact, I said "It's been 100 hours since you reported that Wyckoff Gardens, my project, as being the site of exposed hazardous materials. In those 100 hours: you've visited Wyckoff Gardens; spoke with Mr. Tooms, Wyckoff's Superintendent; inspected Wyckoff's boiler room and signed the log; reported that you had been personally contaminated by the asbestos in Wyckoff's boiler room; called Jim Timpanaro a few times; and stated, more than once, that you were calling the D.E.P. To be honest, I really think there's a big f@!$%^& problem, and I'm hoping you're man enough to apologize for it."
Obviously, Mr. Leon Michel wasn't that much of a man.
Instead, he directed Mr. Timpinaro to "write me up" for using an expletive in the presence of a Field Chief. The fact that I certainly didn't direct any expletive at him, but just used it for emphasis in a private conversation was not mentioned. So, Mr. Timpinaro had to write me an "Official Counseling Memo" that would be placed in my Personal File. Of course, if they could set me up for a Counseling Memos a couple of times, they could justify dismissing me. So, I figured I was now a step closer to NYCHA's exit door. I decided to avail myself of what seemed to be my only defense, a reply to that counseling memo. (Click Here) But Mr. Timpinaro proved me wrong.
On his own, he conducted an investigation into what had happened. He went to Wyckoff and spoke with the management. He took a week to make certain he checked everything out carefully. And, he wrote a memo when he was satisfied that he knew the whole story. I finally had found a man who wasn't afraid to apologize. (Click Here)
During the following months, I avoided Mr. Michel as much as possible. But I knew that he, Jim Gleba and Bill Russo were still hoping to find a way to get me fired and/or jailed. And I was right!
In May of 1996, the secretaries at the Haber Field Office were having a computer problem. I had asked a friend in Computer Services if there were any way that Haber could upgrade one of their 286 computers. I explained that the system I had checked was a 286 with a 20 Meg hard drive and a broken 3 1/2" 512k floppy drive. He arranged for a 486 computer to be sent out. But the secretaries discovered a problem. The software that the field office used in record keeping was so antiquated that it could not run on Windows '95, which was the operating system installed on the 486. The Alpha 3 program, when run in Windows '95, would freeze the machine. Of course, the data could just be transferred to newer programs that were '95 compatible. As the Authority was slowly upgrading to Microsoft Office, I recommended Microsoft Access and Excel. But I was told that Mr. Russo said to forget upgrading anything.
As Mr. Timpinaro needed the data, and the computer was useless as is, he asked if I could help. I agreed, but I said that I would only do it if I could do it on my own time.(Click Here) I didn't want to give Mr. Michel any reasons for him to write a Counseling Memo. Mr. Timpinaro agreed that I could do it whenever I wished, but I had to wait until he at least received Mr. Michel's okay that the computer be fixed.
A short time later, Mr. Timpinaro told me that he had spoken with Mr. Michel, and that Mr. Michel had agreed to my working on the 486. So, I brought the 486 to a secure room at Wyckoff Gardens. Unfortunately, I soon had an accident at another project, and had to spend some weeks out on Worker's Compensation while I healed. I assume that Mr. Michel, and undoubtedly Mr.'s Gleba and Russo, saw this as an opportunity to try and find reason to dismiss me without my having any chance to defend myself.
But once again they forgot that Mr. Timpinaro was not involved in their scheme.
While recuperating at home, I received a call from a friend in CAD management. He informed me that Hallima Ali, CAD's Office Manager, had made an announcement at a CAD Senior Staff meeting. She told the attendees that "Jack Ballinger is a thief." That Leon Michel had reported, and Ms. Ali had confirmed, that I had stolen a Gateway Pentium computer from the CAD Haber Field Office.
During the next day, I received other calls from people in various CAD Field Offices telling me that Mr. Michel was telling all who'd listen about his discovery of how "Ballinger had committed a felony!"
So, I began trying to get an official meeting (Click Here) at CAD to refute these charges. After many refusals (Click Here), I finally got Mr. Jimmy Gleba to agree to a meeting. But he refused to allow any of the many witnesses to the computer move that I requested. I explained that my Supervisor (Timpinaro) had okayed the move, only after receiving permission from Mr. Michel. I further explained that I could bring secretaries and other inspectors who all knew that the computer was NOT in my home. They could testify that they knew the 486 was in Wyckoff being worked on by me. As Mr. Michel claimed I had no permission to move the computer, and he further claimed I had stolen it to take home, these witnesses would prove all the charges were false.
But no witnesses were allowed.
We had the meeting, with only James Gleba, Leon Michel and myself in attendance. After all the documentation I presented, including the authorization from my supervisor to move and fix the computer, Mr. Gleba would still not clear me. He did have to admit that as CAD had "found" the stolen computer I could no longer be called a thief. But he and Mr. Michel refused to apologize. Further, he said I could only consider myself cleared with a "asterisk", as he gave credence to Mr. Michel's hunch that there was a vast conspiracy at work. And, Mr. Gleba said that he was still considering whether I should have ever moved the computer.
So, I was told that I could not tell anyone that Mr. Michel had been wrong in calling me a thief. I could only say that CAD was still looking into it!
Added to that, Mr. Gleba said that he still wasn't satisfied that I hadn't taken TOO LONG working on the computer. (ON MY OWN TIME!!!) So, I figured out the time I had expended and faxed him this summary. (Click Here)
So, I contacted the union. (Another book could be written about DC-37's relationship with NYCHA, but as half the local prosecutors are studying their records, I'll leave their story out of here.) (Click here) They advised notifying the (then) Chair, Ruben Franco. I, while still not realizing that trying to work this out within CAD was idiotic, gave the department two more opportunities to prevent me from taking this further up the chain. The first was a fax to Mr. Gleba. That turned out to be useless. Then, just prior to contacting the Chair, I gave Mr. Russo one more opportunity. (Click Here)
Again, no response!
At this same time, Mr. Russo sent out what he listed as "A Reminder Memo", stating that no computers could be moved without Ms. Hallima Ali's written permission. (Mr. Timpinaro makes note of this "Reminder" memo in his note linked below.) He claimed that this policy had been in effect over a year. That, of course, could make my moving of the computer an offence against an official policy. In one of the conversations I had during this time period with Mr. Gleba, he stated that one of the items I would be charged with was disobeying that non-existent original "computer movement" memo. But he, and the other 2 stooges (Russo and Michel) had forgotten an obvious point. I told Mr. Gleba that I hoped that Mr. Michel had a good excuse for authorizing my taking that computer to Wyckoff Gardens, as I was only a lowly inspector following the wishes of my superiors. As Mr. Michel authorized the move, I guessed that he was now in trouble.(Of course, I was being facetious. I didn't have many chances to smile since I found those $50,000,000 in missing contracts, so I grabbed any chance I found. Luckily, these mental midgets occasional gave me such an opportunity, and this plot was certainly one of them.
As you can probably guess, charges against me for that computer move were never mentioned again!)
Next step was contacting Mr. Catania, again. I sent him the same basic letter I had sent to Mr.'s Russo and Gleba, along with a copy of Mr. Timpinaro's letter. (I had asked Mr. Timpinaro if he would write a memo explaining the whole affair from his perspective. And boy, did he!) (Click Here)
Dominick called me, and sounded apologetic. He said that he was soon leaving the Authority, and therefore didn't know if Russo would take direction from him. But he would try to get Bill to agree to a full hearing at which I could present the witnesses I wanted.
After some time passed, Bill Russo did agree to a meeting. But I would not be allowed to bring witnesses or even a written and signed statement from my Supervisor explaining that the charges were bogus.
One of the odd things about this pairing of Jim Timpinaro and myself was that we both had disliked each other for some time. Also, Jim was one of Russo's favorite people during the little more than a year I had spent working in the office. It took an awful lot to get us to begin some sort of male bonding.
But so much crap went down at CAD, and as it was all primarily aimed at us two now, we realized that we couldn't help but wind up entwined.
Jim's letter of complaint to the then NYCHA Chair, Ruben Franco, contained another example of NYCHA funny business. As you will see, Mr. Timpinaro had contacted other NYCHA executives with his charges, but he was ignored.(Click Here)
The Easco boilers that Mr. Timpinaro speaks of in his note to the Chair are manufactured by the main competitor to Cleaver Brooks. That is the vendor that we were told is paying bribes to an executive in the NYCHA Design Department. A Cleaver Brooks representative told one of the honest inspectors that he had been asked by his bosses if he would be the "bagman" to take cash from Cleaver Brooks to a Design Department executive.
The Design Department decides what specifications boilers must pass before NYCHA can purchase them. If a given manufacturer can have NYCHA's Design Department tailor a specification towards it's own boiler design, any other manufacturer would find it very hard to compete. Therefore, when the NYCHA IG's office refused to even speak with the inspector who had received the information from the Cleaver Brooks' representative, we knew that the IG/DOI would be of no help at all in getting rid of corruption at NYCHA or CAD.
(So many complaints were made by honest people at CAD, and so much harassment was occurring, that it wasn't until I am actually putting together this story that I see that the person Mr. Timpinaro believed was unhappy with his reports on Cleaver Brooks boilers, Alain Japhet, is the same person that was mentioned as receiving the bribes from Cleaver Brooks. And to add to my feelings of idiocy, I now realize that I participated in a "rigged" test that was supposed to prove Cleaver Brooks boilers did NOT perform below our own specs. And a person who illegally worked weekends for NYCHA contractors was supervising me. And the whole test procedure was being run by Mr. Alain Japhet. As it would bore most of you for me to go through the testing procedure, I won't. Suffice it to say that we tried numerous ways to have that boiler pass the inspection, many of which were laughable, but none worked. The Cleaver Brooks' boiler performed no better than the Easco boiler.
As you'll also see in Mr. Timpinaro's letter to NYCHA's Chair, we had also found that NYCHA was systematically polluting the waters around the Developments. When doing normal maintenance on a boiler, they would "blow down" the system. That would consist of allowing the water held in the boiler to be dumped into a drain. Many times, that was a storm drain that allowed the water to go directly into the offshore waters.
One of the inspectors had taken a list of the chemicals used in cleaning the boilers, and we found that some were listed as known carcinogens. We reported this to NYCHA's IG's office, and once again there was no action taken.
Mr. Timpinaro's letter (Click Here)also mentions fuel oil spills and chemical discharges that NYCHA refused to allow us to report, although we were legally obligated to do so. Eventually, Mr. Timpinaro tried using the one tactic that might help insure that our tenants, and all other New Yorkers, could be fairly certain that NYCHA was not going to continue ignoring statutes and regulations that insure everyone's safety. In some cases, this meant that he would contact the Dept. of Environmental Protection directly. In other cases, he would report structural damage to the Buildings Department. In each case, he was following the rules and regulations of NYCHA itself. But the folks at 250 Broadway did NOT want us doing our jobs "by the book." They wanted any such reports to go through NYCHA channels, where they could get "lost."
So, though Mr. Timpinaro was within our guidelines and just following our job requirements, they decided to dump him. Within weeks of his confirming my report of cracking and spawling brickwork at NYCHA's Prospect Plaza Development, this knowledgeable licensed plumber was removed as an Area Supervisor and found himself being tasked with counting florescent light bulbs in a bathroom in Brooklyn. (I'm not exaggerating here. They actually had him counting exaggerating fixtures!)
I hope you readers can understand the chilling effect that this unfair and vindictive demotion had on other Supervisors and Inspectors. There is no need for any NYCHA executive to verbally insist that the inspectors should violate laws and guidelines that might, in the end, uncover NYCHA illegalities. Every CAD employee was quickly told what happened to Mr. Timpinaro, and every inspector realized that if they wanted to feed their families they had damn well better close their eyes to NYCHA deficiencies.
I felt that this punitive demotion was such an affront to common sense that if City Hall could have a sneak peek at what was happening, heads would roll. As I knew that when a person visits the NYCHA web site, and clicks on the link to send a message to NYCHA's Chair via CityNet, the email actually goes to City Hall. (Other Computer nerds clued me in on this, but I won't mention their names!) Once the email arrives at City Hall, it is read and IF it is deemed important, it is sent up to higher ranking political aides to the Mayor. So I sent a fax AND an identical email to Mr. Franco, NYCHA's Chair at that time. (Click Here) As you can see, the email mentioned a grab-bag full of serious charges about NYCHA. I also faxed a long note to Paul Graziano, the General Manager of NYCHA. (Click Here)This note got me called down to OEO to tell them why I thought that I was being treated unfairly. After a 15 minute interview, I never heard from Mr. Graziano or OEO again.
A month later, when I met with John Kilpatrick and Steve Gruberger, they told me that City Hall had read the message and that it caused a lot of people some heartburn, as John Kilpatrick put it.
Well, that might be. But I received no answer to that email or fax. Mr. Timpinaro told me that he never received any answers to his letters, faxes and email. Charges of corruption, discrimination, sexual harassment and environmental pollution on a large scale were sent up the NYCHA chain of command, all the way to the Chair and City Hall.
Yep! Not one official even
responded to the charges!
(More will be added here, including more
faxes, letters and email to people like
the General Manager of NYCHA,
the Chair, HUD and others.)
In December, 1996, a Structural Inspector who came from my neighborhood, Richard (Tony) DiAlto, asked me to meet with him after work. (I was a Mechanical Inspector, which means I inspected mechanical contract work, such as plumbing and heating. A Structural Inspector is concerned with the actual structure of the building. Roofing, brickwork, windows, flooring etc..) I agreed to meet with him at a restaurant near where we both lived. Tony told me that he was a member of a large group of inspectors who all took bribes. The bribes ranged from $300 to $30,000 per contract. Tony and the others never received the money directly from the contractor. There was one inspector, Richard Panese, who was the leader of the group. He would make the proposal to the contractor, and he would meet the contractor and collect the bribe. Half of the bribe would be given to the Inspector of Record for that particular contract. The other half of the bribe was retained by Mr. Panese. Mr. Panese said that the money wasn't all his, that some had to go "upstairs."
(In a later interview by Ms. Polly Kreisman of WWOR TV, Channel 9, Mr. Panese said that If you're looking for crooks, look to the higher ups in NYCHA.)
DOI is also in charge of all other
NYC Agency Inspector General's (IG) Offices!
I brought Tony and his information to a January 6, 1997 meeting with two Department Of Investigation (DOI) Investigators who worked out of the NYCHA IG's office. Before Tony spoke with them, one of the Investigators (John Kilpatrick) assured me that Mr. DiAlto would receive full immunity in return for his testimony.
Months later, this "promise" would be rescinded. John's boss, Mr. Steven Gruberger, then explained that John couldn't "legally" promise immunity. Only a prosecutor could make that promise. So, the "promise" now became an assurance that they would recommend immunity for Tony. Months later, that again changed. Now, Mr. Gruberger explained that DOI would just pretend that they knew nothing of Tony's involvement. Therefore, they need not grant immunity, as they could just "not capture" Tony's past crimes.
Personal Note: Mr. Kilpatrick made much of the fact that I was coming forward for no other reason than I thought that dirty inspectors should be prosecuted. He said "We have never had a clean NYCHA employee come forward with something like this before." Now, over two years later, I know why. I must have been crazy to go against all the advice I had received about not trusting the IG/DOI. After enduring what has happened since that fateful meeting, I understand why no other honest employee ever trusted the IG/DOI people. I sure never will again!
During the next 4-5 months, I coordinated activities between Tony, other inspectors I recruited and the NYCHA Inspector General's office. I recruited nearly a dozen other people to work with the IG. Tony and a few of the others wore wires (tape recorders) for the IG, and incriminating evidence was collected.
Months passed, and nothing seemed to be happening. Well, there was one big exception. It seemed that the "dirty" group of inspectors knew the name of every new recruit within a day or two of the person's names being given to the IG investigators. The "dirty" inspectors started searching people for microphones, but they only searched people who were working for the IG. They knew whom to search. My inspectors started finding their cars vandalized. Threats were passed, and I had someone ram my car off the highway. A contractor warned my boss, Jim Timpinaro, that he was in danger.
Then two things occurred that affirmed my decision to quit my job. Tony DiAlto was told that he could no longer tape offers of bribes from the 13 or so large contractors that had been working with the dirty group all along. When he expressed some confusion about this, he was told that he could tape any offers from any contractors who were "new" to the Authority. With these contractors, who were mostly brand new minority owned shops that were taking advantage of some programs that helped them contract with NYCHA, Tony was given odd instructions from the IG. He was to tell the new contractor that he, Tony, was facing money problems as his wife had just undergone expensive surgery that wasn't covered by our insurance. Then, Tony was to point out how many items on the inspection were actually left to the inspector's discretion. He would also point out that the inspector had a lot to do with how quickly payment paper work was handled.
Of course, both Tony and I realized what was happening. The "favored" contractors were still favored. The new contractors could be fall guys and would give cover to a corrupt investigation.
The second item that helped in my decision to quit was even more reason to question the honesty of the IG's office.
One inspector who was supplying information, and who had been mishandled by the IG's office before, was now being ignored. Month's prior, this Inspector had been on Edgemere Houses in Queens when a large oil spill occurred. He wrote a report in which he pointed out that he had warned the contractor of just such a possibility. He had also written that he believed the contractor had ignored previous warnings and that the spill could not be termed an accident. Rather, it was the result of negligence on the contractor.
He then observed some odd behavior between the contractor and some of the Inspector's supervisors. The Inspector had been directed to produce an Incident Report on the spill. In an early draft, he had laid out a damaging case against the contractor, as the contractor had ignored many warnings on the problem which eventually led to the spill.
I reported all this to John Kilpatrick of the IG's office. He told me that he was going to visit the project and pick up a copy of the Inspector's report. I quickly advised John that he would be placing the inspector in jeopardy, as others would see the Inspector giving him the paperwork. John promised me that he would conduct a questioning session with all three of the NYCHA employees who were at the site at the time of the spill, and that he'd question each one individually in a closed room. Then the Inspector could give John the report out of sight of others.
Instead, John had all 3 people in a room and asked the Inspector for "the report you have for me."
Months later, the same inspector was told by a representative of a large vendor that dealt with NYCHA that this representative had been asked to be the "bag man" for the money passing from the vendor to an executive in one of NYCHA's departments. This vendor had many large contracts with NYCHA, worth millions of dollars. So I immediately passed this information to the IG. John Kilpatrick said he would contact the inspector and get the name of the vendor's representative and any other particulars. Over the next few months, I often reminded Mr. Kilpatrick of his failure to contact the inspector, to no avail. To this day, that Inspector has never been called by NYCHA's IG.
Meanwhile, "Billy Boy" Russo and his lackeys realized that they had become abject failures in their efforts to find a way to dismiss me from NYCHA. So, they just continued in a campaign of harassment. For example, Let's look at my return from Jury Duty. I had been on worker's compensation as a result of being injured while inspecting welds in an underground oil storage tank. So February 11 would be my first day back. I began notifying my supervisors the preceding Friday, February 7. But I couldn't get anyone to acknowledge those notices.
After sending all the faxes mentioned in the linked memo (Click Here), I was still being told that nobody had received my notices.
And Jim Gleba made it clear that he wasn't about to accept any verbal notice from me.
So, I really did wind up having to fax damn near everyone at CAD, both at Central Office and all the Field Offices, before Jim Gleba could no longer deny that he had to place me back on the payroll. And I would have faxed every office in the NYCHA directory if necessary, because a source in CAD's Central Office had warned me of what was occurring. And it wasn't a dinky day's pay I was fighting for. Had I not had rock solid proof of my notifying the office of my return from Jury Duty, they were going to claim I never let them know and was therefore AWOL. That would allow them to dismiss me.
I realized I had to resign from NYCHA when I was assigned to Strauss Houses. That was on March 17, 1997. I was suddenly placed under Emmanuel Lawrence, and I knew it was time to go. My final day was May 8, 1997!
Months after I resigned, I was still being called by the honest inspectors. They had new tales to tell, but nobody wanted to hear them. The IG's office ignored them, and they had seen what had happened with Tony. Tony also kept calling, telling me that the IG's people were still refusing to get him a letter of immunity. So I faxed Steve Gruberger a note telling him that I was going to contact some politicians with my information. (Click Here) He quickly called me and said that his boss, Steve Pasichow, wanted to meet with me before I told anything to anyone. After Steve and I haggled over where such a meeting would take place, he agreed to meet at my local restaurant.
Steve Pasichow, Steve Gruberger, John Kilpatrick, Billow Robinson (or something like that), all from the NYCHA IG's office, and I sat at a table for our discussion. The item that Mr. Pasichow demanded that we first get out of the way was whether I was surreptitiously audio-taping this conversation. (I was in a specialized electronic intelligence-gathering unit in Vietnam. That experience taught me the value of having proof of what one hears. Therefore, unbeknownst to Steve Gruberger and John Kilpatrick, I had taped many of our conversations. I began doing so after the IG's office had lied about Tony's immunity and had lied on other occasions to the honest inspectors and/or me. I had only recently told them of my tapes, and they were VERY concerned about what I might have on those little cassettes. They were also concerned at the fact that I had debriefed Tony about his time taking bribes and I had these debriefings on tape. I had explained that Tony had agreed to my taping, and Tony had said so right on the tape.)
I assured Mr. Pasichow that I was not "carrying a tape recorder." When they still didn't look reassured, I offered to go into the men's room for a body search. That seemed to assure them, and we began the discussion.
Mr. Pasichow asked what it would take to stop me from going public. I told him that Kilpatrick, Gruberger and others had asked me the same question in the past. And that my answer had always been the same. "I want the bad guys to be prosecuted and the good guys to be made whole." But now, after beating my head against the wall for so long, I realized that prosecution was unlikely. So, I now asked that "the bad guys get demoted and transferred to where money isn't available to them, and the good guys get back the promotions that they were denied due to their honesty." And that those "good guys" who had received punitive transfers would be allowed to go back to their original assignments. Further, I wanted someone to continue the investigation into the reported bribery between the vendor and the executive from the Design Department.
As Mr. Pasichow took a moment to reply, I realized that I felt I could trust him. I could be wrong, of course. But the combination of his verbal responses and his body language made me feel that he was not unlike some others at NYCHA. He was doing a crappy job in a crappy agency while he waited for retirement. And his reply to my request seemed to confirm my feelings.
He said "I'll try." That sure sounded like somebody who had no power over the course of this investigation, and if Gruberger or Kilpatrick had said it, I'd understand. But this was the damn IG himself. We're talking about an investigation of bribery and corruption up to the Executive levels of NYCHA, and the IG himself says "I'll try."??? While it was an unreal answer, it reinforced my belief that this investigation was being halted by orders from members of the NYCHA Board, DOI and/or City Hall. (But, again, I guess I could be wrong.)
There are many other items at NYCHA that deserve investigation. Supervisors of contract inspectors who spend weekends working for the very same contractors we inspect. CAD executives who vacation at contractor's expense. An ineffectual union, including having supervisors do some Machiavellian double duty as union reps. And other glaring examples of mis/mal/nonfeasance on the part of those handling taxpayer's monies, but I think I've gone on quite enough.
All that I've written is true.
If they are convinced that there is a real investigation, and that retaliation against those who tell the truth won't be condoned, many other NYCHA employees are willing to come forward. But it MUST be independent of NYCHA or DOI.
People in positions within NYCHA that allow them access to information which could aid in an investigation often fear more than job related discrimination for coming forward. In many cases, whether justified or not, there is a fear of physical harm. Whether this be a paranoia based overreaction to totally unrelated factual instances, (Click Here) or reasonable caution, is something that also can't be determined until at least a fairly thorough investigation into NYCHA is held.
If you are interested in the names of elected and appointed officials who have been receiving the Spotlight, and have been made aware of the NYCHA corruption, Click Here.
John (Jack) Ballinger
PS: No one needs an editor more than the editor
who decides to write his own story!
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