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Current Issue of the Public Housing Spotlight |
Click here for the
Special NYCHA Corruption Issue |
The corruption discussed in this issue, more than anything else, was the reason Spotty began. If you read nothing else here, please read this issue. As it is my own first person account of 3 years at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), I can guarantee the truth of the accusations.
And I believe I've supplied enough document and audio tape evidence to prove that both NYCHA and the NYC Department of Investigation (DOI) are involved in covering up a systemic and wide scale abuse of taxpayer's funds.
Issue 95 (2-26-2002)
In our last issue, we crowed a bit about the mainstream media (the Daily News, click here) finally catching up with the LIC Warehouse story . . . a story we published in Issue #1, four years ago. The News confirmed that NYCHA had signed a lease that costs the taxpayer over $113,000,000 (yep, that's one-hundred and thirteen million dollars) for a building that was purchased for just over $8,000,000 by a group named Bridgedale LLC.
They also confirmed that Kalman Finkel's son was a close friend with the family of one of the principles in this deal. And, finally, they confirmed that this deal was put together rather quickly, within weeks of NYCHA turning down the Maspeth warehouse they had been in negotiations to lease.
We mentioned that the Daily News really had nothing new in their story, as the facts above were in our 1997 issue #1. A second reading found our mistake! In the News' story, they do have one item that I had failed to catch. That item was the name of Bridgedale's representative that spoke with the News. His name is Frank Snitow.
Issue 94 (12-19-2001)
On June 24, 1998, we began publishing this little rag.
That first Spotlight brought forth a story about how someone with friends in high places could invest a little over $8,000,000 and, within weeks, sign a 20 year lease deal with NYCHA that costs the taxpayer over $100,000,000! (Click Here to view Issue #1)
We apologize for getting that story wrong!
The taxpayer's were ripped off for much more than we knew at the time, as today's Front Page Daily News story reports.
Almost 4 years from the day we reported that story, I received a call from Larry Cohler-Esses, the Daily News reporter who put together today's News' story. Since that time, Larry has spent many hours piecing together the puzzle that is the LIC Warehouse deal. I supplied him with any documents I had used in our research, including tax documents on the property that showed the taxes paid on the sale to what readers of Spotty know as "Finkel's Friends."
Issue 93 (12-14-2001)
Since our last issue, things have gotten hectic at both NYCHA's Legal Dept. and the makeshift offices in the condemned "Finkel's Retirement Enhancer" building in Long Island City.
We've been contacted by folks in Legal, Design, CAD, QCC, Development Management and . . . some other NYCHA areas. Without a doubt, Issue 92 (Click Here) touched a major nerve at DOI!
Issue 92 (12-10-2001)
Recently a Default meeting was held against Alasia Corp (a.k.a GBE). The contract is a rather simple one. Bathroom Renovations to be done at Gun Hill Houses.
Yet, 17 months after work began, only 5% of the work has been done. And according to the reports, even that 5% is an exaggeration, as much of the work has not passed any inspection.
But, as our story shows, there would be no default by Alasia.
The Legal Dept. said that there would be no default of this contractor, as the NYCHA IG owed this contractor a big favor.
Issue 91 (10-19-2001)
Wonder why even "honest" inspectors might get involved with corruption? Well, Manny Lawrence, the NYCHA Field Chief who was caught (by DOI!) accepting cash bribes, was recently found working for the NYC Transit Authority.
DOI, the Agency that is charged with doing the background checks on City employees, seems to have forgotten that they were involved in prosecuting Mr. Lawrence "with soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with a program receiving federal funds [Title 18, United States Code, Sections 666 (a) (1) (B) and 2]."(emphasis added)
Issue 90 (9-17-2001)
This issue is our first since the 9/11 attack on our city. In this issue, we decry the racist mail we were receiving in the aftermath of the attack.
Issue 89 (8-25-2001)
This issue introduces our readers to the new AWE-TRADES coalition. AWE-TRADES is a coalition of local labor unions and community activists that is pressing NYCHA to follow the Section 3 guidelines that offer employment to NYCHA residents.
AWE-TRADES is also working to remove the Community Service requirement.
Issue 88 (7-17-2001)
An important issue that points to a few recently uncovered NYCHA problems.
Issue 87 (7-6-2001)
NYCHA employee and conscientious Local 237 Shop Steward, George Contoveros, used his own cash when it came to protecting his men. George disbelieved NYCHA when he was told work areas were safe and air quality was good. George paid for an independant test. You can read the results here.
Nora Reissig-Lazzaro is in Spotty once again.
Issue 86 (6-15-2001)
Issue 86 points to a Tom Robbins' Village Voice column in which we learn much about one of the Council Members who refused to hear of NYCHA corruption at a hearing of a Committee they filled.
And we show a chart of NYCHA Exec positions, listed by the race of the Exec now in each position. Racial disparity abounds!
Issue 85 (5-8-2001)
This contains Part 2 of the day of the Hearing.
It also has links to testimony and/or photos of the 3 heroes who came forward to speak truth to power.
Issue 84 (5-4-2001)
Issue 84 gives a more detailed view of the first part of the day of the Council Hearing.
We also tell of how the air-conditioning at the LIC Warehouse is in such dire straights that even in the current heat wave, the air conditioning can only be used for one hour per day.
Issue 83 (4-26-2001)
We finally get to honor just a couple of the heroes who are willing to take the heat, as long as they believe that their efforts will better the lot of their fellow employees.
George Contoveros (Maintenance, local 237), Edward Donahue (Retired Inspector, Local 375) and David Jacobs (Local 3, Electricians) all came forward and gave testimony at the (almost empty) City Council Chambers. The honor of being with these men was offset by the cowardice shown by ALL the members of (Chair) Kathryn Freed's Contracts Committee and (Chair) Archie Spigner's Housing & Buildings Committee. With the sole exception of Ms. Freed, the members of both committees were absent during the testimony of these whistle-blowers, although the stage was crowded a short time before as Mike Myer of NYCHA threw BS around.
The other highlight was seeing the construction trades unions sticking up for the rights of their men. If you weren't embarrassed to be in a DC-37 local prior to the hearing, you sure were by the time the day was through.
Issue 82 (4-19-2001)
Spotty gives a brief summary of how NYCHA is funded, and asks why the mainstream media shies away from reporting on NYCHA's continual mismanagement and corruption..
We also run a Letter to the Editor in which a member of local 375, under DC-37, recounts his/her lack of faith in these municipal "Company Unions." It is a sad commentary on the NYC municipal labor movement.
Issue 81 (4-12-2001)
In issue 81, we publish a long secret Preliminary Audit of NYCHA's Contract Administration Department (Click Here for Audit Only), conducted by the NYC Comptroller's audit. For some reason, Alan Hevesi has not published the finished audit, although the preliminary findings were finished 7 long months ago???
Issue 80 (4-9-2001)
We publish the current updates on the upcoming City Council hearing. Included are the names of the unions who have publically committed to providing support to any of their members who testify before the Joint Committees. And we publish the names of the unions who refuse to publically commit to protecting their members, led by the absence of a supportive statement from the recently scandal ridden DC-37.
We also update you on the horrors of working at the LIC warehouse, or Finkel's Folly, as we like to refer to it.
Issue 79 (4-1-2001)
(Joint) Committee Hearing
We relate how Council Members Kathryn Freed and Archie Spigner have invited Spotty and all of you to testify at a City Council (Joint) committee hearing. Ms. Freed is Chair of the Contracts Committee and Mr. Spigner is Chair of the Buildings and Housing Committee.
Ms. Freed has asked that we bring "lots of people" to "testify on NYCHA corruption."
As this directory is being updated, Plumber's Union Local #1 has quickly agreed to stand behind any of its members who testify at this hearing.
Issue 78 (3-27-2001)
We welcome our new Chair, Tino Hernandez. Most recently, Mr. Hernandez was City Juvenile Justice Commissioner.
We also post some NYCHA memos we found interesting. Included is one that shows that NYCHA budgets $9,800 for replacing a steel door on a stairhall. (Two days after we published this issue, Eftihia Tsitiridis, Deputy Director of Design, ordered all entrance modernization jobs (in the design phase) to be temporarily halted. We hear that explaining how we budget $9,800 for a door was a task even NYCHA saw as impossible!)
Issue 77 (3-17-2001)
The Fink gets his walking papers!
According to a report by Dan Janison in today's Newsday, Rudy has shown the door to NYCHA Board Member Kalman Finkel, and the Fink will soon be history! After raping this country's taxpayers, to enrich family friends (See Issue 1), the Fink will have to settle for another City job paying over $100,000. (What a way to run a City?)
The bad news is that John Martinez is also on the way out. Mr. Martinez may not have been the perfect Chair, but he was such an improvement over his predecessor that he will be sorely missed.
Rumor has it that despite enough baggage for a year's vacation on a remote island, Joanna Aniello (Mother of Giuliani Chief of Staff Anthony (Tony) Carbonetti, will be given either the Chair's job or, more likely, a Board position at NYCHA.
Issue 76 (3-11-2001)
The NY Post reporter, David Seifman, must not have any NYCHA sources of his own. For the second time in less than a week, he's repackaged a Spotlight story, added some comments that did not even enhance Spotty's missive, and published it has his "News" story. We hope that fellow journalists will notice that Seifman's ethics are on a par with some of the characters we've Spotlighted in NYCHA. (The funny part is, years ago Seifman was pumping me and some of Spotty's sources for info on NYCHA. I became uncomfortable when he told me that his "NYCHA sources denied that your (spotty's) story on Ruben Franco's mistress (Director of NYCHA's Office of Economic Opportunity, Sonia Martinez) was true." Later, he had to eat those words.
But what I believe caused his "borrowing" of Spotty's 3 year-old story without giving us the appropriate credit is the fact that I finally sent a letter to Seifman in which I explained, to him and some sources who had asked for my advice, that I didn't trust the NY Post with a story that might cast a bad light on some powerful City Hall appointees. (I hope this will be the last time we need make mention of the NY Post!)
Issue 75 (3-6-2001)
In this issue, we point out that the news reported in that morning's NY Post was a rehash of our expose of how Kalman Finkel got his daughter hired at Interboro Systems, the company that had a huge contract to modernize NYCHA's whole time keeping system. We first reported this story in Issue 2, July 4, 1998. Yet, the Post reporter, Dave Seifman, failed to give any credit where it was due. As Mr Seifman has written about the Spotlight in the past, and had spoken directly with the Editor, this lack of journalistic ethics was rather shocking to us. (Then we remembered that this was the NY Post, after all!)
We also make mention of the new troika filling in for the now vacant NYCHA's General Manager's slot. One of the 3 people chosen to handle the duties is Joanna Aniello. Joanna is the mother of Giuliani's Chief of Staff, Anthony Carbonetti, and wife of long-time Rudy crony Lou Carbonetti. With those apparent qualifications, we figure Joanna will have started out with one of NYCHA lowest titles 6 years ago but will probably become NYCHA's new GM shortly. This has many long-time NYCHA execs furious!
Issue 74 (2-26-2001)
A $92,000 missing Change Order leads this issue. NYCHA's Design Department's Chief of Payments Section, Michael Feder, has sent out an SOS to a bunch of Design Dept. Executives asking if anyone remembers where a $92,000 Change Order belongs. He can't seem to match the approved Change Order with a Development/Contract?
Following that we mention how Hugh Spence is doing now that his buddy Ruben Franco is long gone as Chair of NYCHA. Hugh is changing procedures as far as consultants for the Office of Aging are concerned. As a result, the current lack of consultants is causing havoc in Senior Centers, with programs disappearing as there is a lack of talented folks to supervise the programs.
Our next article caused the greatest amount of email commentary of any of our previous issues. It pointed to NYCHA's use of nepotism/cronyism to fill spots that should have been filled by people who had passed the appropriate Civil Service exam.
Issue 73 (1-31-2001)
We report that as a result of the Insight magazine (Washington Times) article on HUD's missing $50 Billion and NYCHA's missing $50 Million in contracts . . . NOTHING has happened. No City Council hearings, no Congressional investigation . . . just NOTHING!
We also publish a quote from Kalman Finkel that damns Paul Graziano with faint praise.
Thanks went to Nick Mancuso for a quick review of a problem one of Spotty's readers had about her husbands death benefits. While the widow is not satisfied with the result, Local 237 did respond to us within 24 hours of the issue being published.
Finally, we again point to NYCHA's 472 vacant apartments at Edgemere while the people are still on long waiting lists are told that NYCHA has no vacancies.
Issue 72 (1-4-2001)
New Year: Same Old NYCHA?
Paul Graziano, who left as NYCHA's General Manager about 2 months ago, was hired by Mayor O'Malley in Baltimore as the head of that city's public housing. During the last week of December, 2000, Mr. Graziano had to be arrested in Baltimore after he began gay-basing at a local restaurant and refused orders to leave. His story was VERY big news in Baltimore.
A memo from a NYCHA Contract Inspector that questions the need for expensive modernization in one contract is reprinted. And, although the Inspector mentions facts including that the door to be replaced was only a year old and the floor tile being ripped up and replaced is in fine condition, NYCHA orders that the contract continue.
Next up, in a funny coincidence, we report finding that Kenneth Eisenstat, Asst. Director for the Operations Division at NYCHA, is a footnote in history. His case, where he was accused of physically abusing a female subordinate, is mentioned in a footnote to the President Clinton-Paula Jones case. Here's the actual 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.
Issue 71 (12-21-2000)
Why won't they work at NYCHA?
We tell of a December 18, 2000 Daily News story in which NYCHA admits a problem with hiring at the Authority. And how they hired a consultant 3 years ago to study the problem, but NYCHA admits they've lost the consultant's report. So, they're hiring another consultant! (Gee, wasting money on consultants. That's something NYCHA has NO trouble with!)
We also publish a 7 page monstrosity of obfuscation known as the David Birney "Pre-Design Procedure" chart. After viewing this chart, you too will understand that while the NYCHA Emperor may have no clothes, he's got plenty of paper with which he can cover his ass!
An Update on the $100,000,000 leased warehouse is also in this issue.
In our last issue, we showed an official NYCHA document that noted a third (427 of a total of 1,395 apts) of the apartments at Edgemere Houses were vacant. In this issue, we print the plea of a mother and daughter who are in need of public housing, but must remain on a long list while these Edgemere apartments are vacant. We also tell of the problems they've encountered along the way.
Next, we show a NYCHA memo that lists the vast difference between the original approved budget for contracts at NYCHA and the final estimate. One contract alone goes from the Budgeted figure of $950,000 to an Estimate of $76,400,000!
Issue 69 (11-24-2000)
We publish a memo sent to Nora Reissig-Lazzaro showing that in just one NYCHA Public Housing Development, Edgemere Houses, there are 427 VACANT apartments. And after NYCHA selected one 4 bedroom apartment to use as office space, it discovered it would cost a MINIMUM of $83,133 to just get the apartment up to code. (And that's if the hazardous materials testing goes well!)
Issue 68 (11-21-2000)
We make an attempt to get a recently widowed spouse of a NYCHA employee through the 8 month wave of red tape she's run into while straightening out her spouses NYCHA and Local 237 business.
Issue 67 (11-17-2000)
NYCHA was sued regarding an eviction of a mentally ill tenant. In this plot right out of Dickens', we learn how Nora Reissig-Lazzaro tried to make NYCHA the legal "Guardian" of mentally ill tenant's.
Issue 66 (10-17-2000)
Comments on the Washington Times' article pointing to HUD's inability to track billions of dollars. NYCHA's $50,000,000 in untracked contracts is also mentioned.
Issue 65 (9-28-2000)
We give some well deserved praise to the plan conceived by the Borough Administrator of the Bronx, Mr. Lucido. By coming up with a comprehensive plan that takes emergencies and employee absences into account, the Bronx becomes the model for the other boroughs.
Issue 64 (9-21-2000)
If imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery, we're flattered. Someone put out their own newsletter. That's great! But they used Spotlight as it's name. That's bad! So we let our readers in on the forgery.
"If I could turn back time" lays out the truth about who gets screwed in a DOI/IG Investigation. And it ain't the bad guys!
Issue 63 (9-7-2000)
John Martinez gets a pat on the back, and no, we weren't looking for a soft spot to begin stabbing. From what we're being told, Martinez is making an effort to reform the things in NYCHA public housing that aren't under political protection. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much, but we thank Mr. Martinez for his efforts.
We also address the whining of some City Council members. We're told that they think it's unfair that we chose to saddle them with some responsibility for the way corruption flourishes at NYCHA. Of course, as the Council conducts all sorts of hearings wherein NYCHA is in the dock, they can't claim that they have no power over NYCHA. The Mayor has a larger share, as he appoints the Board, but Vallone and Company are players in this crooked game as well!
The Public Housing Spotlight also gave our first political endorsement in this issue, to Ms. Liz Krueger in her primary for the Democratic nomination for the State Senate from the 26th (Silk Stocking) District. (She won!)
Finally, we tell how NYCHA's exterminators are fighting a losing battle. Not against the bugs, but against mismanagement from their superiors.
Issue 62 (8-8-2000)
NYCHA's poor fire protection record is Spotlighted. Especially, the problem with non-working Standpipes that were recently in the news.
Issue 61 (7-28-2000)
Someone suggested that it's near time to make Nora Reissig-Lazzaro our mascot, she appears so often. But what can we do? After nearly every issue we hear that those working for her have hopes that she'll take the hint anbd begin to treat her staff as professional, and then, within a day or two, BAM! Things have gotten worse. So, this issue chronicles the poor treatment afforded to Nora's latest victim, Mr. Lamount Goodwin. We're told Mr. Goodwin was treated to Nora's orientation motto, "No guidance, No direction, No program!" Mr. Goodwin lasted the time between 2 issues of Spotty. He's now "Outta there!" We recommended that NYCHA think about getting someone with a Master's in Social Work to handle the programs that now fall under Nora (Victims of Domestic Violence, Drug Education Program etc.), but Nora's still there.
We also explain our use of "Powers That Be" and what we mean with that term.
Issue 60 (7-4-2000)
Issue 60 goes further into Deborah Oliver's story. We found that Ms. Oliver's boss, Frank Rogers, stuck by his subordinate, breaking a long NYCHA tradition of always dumping on the innocents below. Mr. Rogers tried for 3 years to get Deborah promoted into the title that covers the work she was actually performing for NYCHA. To no avail! Then, when the Hearing for Deborah's grievance was held, Frank broke another NYCHA rule: He told the truth!
Frank is now facing his own hearing, as NYCHA has found problems with Frank. Of course, everyone who knows the facts, including many NYCHA Executives, say that the hearing is just plain retaliation against Frank for his not caving and going along with the NYCHA line to harm Ms. Oliver's case.
Issue 59 (6-27-2000)
In Issue 59 we publish a list of items that were sent to us, but that require the collecting of additional information if we want to publish a story about any one of the items. We ask for our reader's help in fleshing out these stories.
We also give our opinion on the effectiveness of a rumored Sexual Harassment Class Action suit against NYCHA. (We didn't like it!)
Issue 58 (6-15-2000)
This issue begins a chronicle of the abuse of NYCHA employees by having them work "out-of-title" for long periods, only to then refuse to pay the higher salary the employee deserves for performing such tasks. In our first example, we use Deborah Oliver of NYCHA's Design Dept. Her case is typical of the NYCHA trend. Only Ms. Oliver's grievance was brought before an Arbiter, and NYCHA lost. Now NYCHA refuses to abide by the Arbiter's decision.
Issue 57 (6-1-2000)
Issue 57 was entirely devoted to Nora Reissig-Lazzaro. (It's not that we want to publish so much that is Nora specific. But the combination of the large number of unhappy employees working under Nora AND the way the programs she oversees are having problems makes it impossible for us to ignore the notes from her subordinates.)
Issue 56 (5-23-2000)
NYCHA's failure to maintain sprinkler systems is Spotlighted. We tell how missing materials can make it impossible for the Fire Dept. personnel to get water onto a fire.
We also tell how the Section 8 program is being used in a discriminatory manner by Kalman Finkel and his friends.
Issue 55 (4-26-2000)
We published a few of the letters we recently received. The concern things from the lack of security at 90 Church Street to a story of another TA official taking "gifts" from contractors.
We also give our readers a peek at some of the statistics regarding our Spotlight readership.
Issue 54 (4-13-2000)
The 3 NYCHA Inspectors who were arrested for taking bribes have all pled guilty. They now await sentencing.
We release another taped conversation. This time, John Kilpatrick (DOI Investigator) is taped in a phone conversation with me. John relates how he almost caught William (little billy) Russo and Anthony (Kenny) LaBarca at a funeral for a Mafia connected contractor. John tells me that Russo and LaBarca happened to leave the funeral just minutes before John arrived.
We also report on another contractor paid trip that Jim Gleba, Asst. Dir., Contract Administration, had taken.
Issue 53 (4-1-2000)
The Public Housing Spotlight reports that the horrific Vandalia Houses fire might have an explanation. Seems that when it comes to maintaining NYCHA sprinkler systems, NYCHA has a big problem.
We also quote from an email we received from a NYCHA Exec. This idiot wrote of his dissatisfaction with our comments regarding the Dorismond shooting. And, as often happens when an ignorant bigot gets his hands on a writing instrument, our NYCHA Exec proceeds to show his true colors.
And another scheduled move into the $!00,000,000 warehouse has been postponed. (Falling ceilings and walls can cause delays!)
Issue 52 (3-28-2000)
Back in the news is the $100,000,000 building lease that NYCHA Board Member Kalman Finkel forced onto the taxpayers so that his friend Ruben Schron would be happy. Now we find that the building is still falling to pieces, and all moves into that horror are back on hold. And, get this, the building was empty when NYCHA leased it because it had been condemned!
Issue 51 (3-23-2000)
We report on the promotions for JoAnna Aniello, Jim Drinane and Bobby Podmore. We also point to their lack of qualifications for the jobs they will now handle, but that never stopped a promotion for the Mom of Rudy Giuliani's Chief of Staff, Tony Carbonetti.
Next we mention Sylvia Castenada, Ninfa Segarra's sycophantic buddy. We tell how Sylvia is still receiving a NYCHA check, months after Ninfa moved her out of NYCHA.
Issue 50 (3-21-2000)
In this Issue, Spotty takes sides in the aftermath of the Patrick Dorismond shooting.
Issue 49 (3-17-2000)
Y2K, Tony DiAlto and the IG/DOI all come under fire in this issue.
Issue 48 (3-10-2000)
We mention that, despite NYCHA Exec's attempts to spread rumors to the contrary, the Public Housing Spotlight does NOT track visitors that come to our site. While there are tools that will allow us to grab much information from our visitors without their knowledge, we choose NOT to do so. The only info we do grab lets us know things that help in designing the pages for you, the reader. We can tell, fairly reasonably, how many of you are using NETSCAPE or Internet Explorer, how many of you have activated Java, what screen resolution you are running and other technical data. But we do NOT attempt to identify those who drop by to read Spotty's ranting.
In Issue 48 we say goodbye to Nick Calace, who has accepted a job with KMF, a contractor who does millions of dollars in business with NYCHA each year.
And we mention how some Tenant Association members are profiting, at the expense of the very tenants that they are supposed to be protecting.
Issue 47 (3-6-2000)
A recap of DOI problems.
Issue 46 (3-3-2000)
A portion of another taped conversation is made available from this issue. This time it's John Kilpatrick, a DOI Investigator, who is heard talking about a phony $6,000 Change Order.
Issue 45 (2-16-2000)
Spotty releases a tape of a conversation with Tony DiAlto, a "dirty" CAD Inspector who went undercover for the NYC Department of Investigation. (DOI Investigator John Kilpatrick stated that he had never had such a great case presented to him on a platter like this.)
The entire tape of Tony DiAlto confessing to a series of bribes is available from a link in this issue. It has been reformatted as a Real Audio sound clip.
Issue 44 (1-19-2000)
In Issue 44, we report that NYCHA has re-hired Harold Sole as a consultant. We write of the lack of a sufficient number of phones for Leased Housing at 90 Church Street. It's gotten so bad that employees are using personal cellular phones to conduct NYCHA business.
We also posted some of the email and faxes we received since running the piece about Mike Mastriano.
It appears that Mr. Mastriano has found many ways to "get over" on NYCHA.
Issue 43 (1-9-2000)
In Issue 43, we mention that Mike Mastriano isn't alone in playing fast and loose with NYCHA funds.
We also have a Nora Reissig-Lazzaro update.
We finish by complaining about the decision to remove Security Guards from 90 Church.
Issue 42 (1-7-2000)
This issue begins with the tale of how Mike Mastriano abuses NYCHA's policy concerning reimbursement for using one's own vehicle while performing for NYCHA. It seems that Mr. Mastriano believes that the reimbursement is due to him whether he uses his vehicle, or not.
We also mention that the new 90 Church Street is considered a fire trap by the employees working there, and how NYCHA was told to vacate Bush Terminal.
Issue 41 (1-3-2000)
A short issue, covering the minuscule changes brought about by NYCHA's new Chair, John Martinez.
Issue 40 (12-27-1999)
We comment on current schemes wherein NYCHA's Skilled Trades are NOT brought in to do repairs in some cases where Project Management would rather DEAL with a private contractor.
We also tell how bad some conditions are at NYCHA's 90 Church Street location.
Issue 39 (12-22-1999)
We critique a recent memo from NYCHA's Chair advising employees to report corruption to the IG/DOI.
Issue 38 (12-20-1999)
A collection of stories, short but sweet. These cover Graziano, Aniello, Birney, Nora Reissig-Lazzaro and, our old friend, William (Little Billy) Russo.
Issue 37 (12-13-1999)
3 NYCHA people are arrested for accepting bribes, yet not one of them are from the crew of dirty inspectors that DOI claimed it was investigating for 18 months prior to our first issue. And, of course, DOI still hasn't charged a NYCHA executive, although we tried, REALLY TRIED, to give them one. But they REFUSED to even listen.
At Finkel's Folly, the $8,000,000 building that Finkel's Friends are leasing to NYCHA for $100,000,000, we had some horrendous news. As we reported: "Recently, a NYCHA work crew was treated to an indoor snowfall compliments of Finkel's Friends. A large portion of the ceiling, in a floor scheduled to be used as office space, came falling down."
Issue 36 (12-8-1999)
The National Association of Housing Information Managers (NAHIM) has spotted the Public Housing Spotlight and has done a story on our rag!
And we have another (Ho-Hum) story of an Aniello mess.
Issue 35 (12-1-1999)
More on Joe Trivisonno, the former Brooklyn Buildings Department commissioner who lost his job for forcing one of City Hall's friends to abide by the contract. Mr. Trivisonno's statements confirm what Spotty has been saying about DOI.
Also, we relate another Aniello idiocy, this one involving a simple painting of a stair hall at Red Hook Houses.
Issue 34 (11-29-1999)
Recent news reports have been about a collapsed building in Williamsberg, and how City Hall's influence led to the removal of a Building's Dept. exec who had complained about the politically connected builder on this site. As this is a mirror situation to what happens at NYCHA, the fact that an investigation was promised had us excited. (We should have known better!)
We mention Council Member Kenneth Fisher's promise to meet with us if DOI produced no investigative results by July 1, 1999. To date (3/29/2000) there has been no invitation to any meeting.
Issue 33 (11-16-1999)
More on the Sinclair memo (see Issue 32, above), along with our naming NYCHA's chosen scapegoat for the leak, Mr. Cardenas, Director of Computer Services.
Issue 32 (10-10-1999)
The Public Housing Spotlight looks into Interboro, the company contracted with NYCHA to install an Automated Time Keeping System (ATIS). We show how the company is now 3 years behind schedule, and nothing is working yet. We also publish an embarrasing memo on this subject that was written by Roy Sinclair, NYCHA's Deputy General Manager-Finance.
Issue 31 (10-25-1999)
A short issue pointing out NYCHA's failure to clear up a vacation ban that precluded employees from taking a vacation over the New Year weekend.
We also published our new Spotlight Fax number: 718/745-0170
Issue 30 (9-28-1999)
A one page letter complaining about blatant discrimination in NYCHA's Budget Dept. was making the rounds at NYCHA, and some people assumed it was another issue of the Spotlight. It wasn't, and we gave an explanation of why we couldn't take on that story.
We also reported on JoAnna Aniello's new victim, Eliot Levine. Joanna is replacing him with someone more to her liking, Mike Kramer.
Issue 29 (9-15-1999)
In Issue 29, we go a little further into suggestions that were made at the Javitt's Center meeting. We also point out the obvious flaws in the Chair's faux "Ombudsman" plan. Although NYCHA's employees are crying out for some means of reporting on the atrocious treatment dealt by some of NYCHA's incompetent, but politically hung managerials, this new Ombudsmen Light plan falls far short of addressing that problem.
Issue 28 (9-14-1999)
NYCHA's new Chair, John Martinez, ordered up a massive meeting at the Jacob Javitt's Center so that he could meet and address his new troops. Half the Central Office staff attended in the AM, with the others arriving after lunch. Spotty, of course, was there for both sessions. In this Issue, we give a summary of the important portions of the meeting.
Issue 27 (9-6-1999)
The Public Housing Spotlight received a copy of the Complaint filed on behalf of some of the victims of Bruce Gatewood's sexual harassment and assault, and we printed a few portions of it.
The complaint refers to the women being followed by members of the NYCHA "Secret Police" force. Here's a quick quote from the Complaint: "During the investigation by the Inspector General, Defendants Franco and Finkel took additional steps to harass, frighten, intimidate and silence Plaintiffs, in abuse of their authority and with full knowledge that their conduct was unlawful, arbitrary and unreasonable."
We also gave a brief list of some of the major personnel changes brought about by JoAnna Aniello's pet, Nora Reissig-Lazzaro.
Issue 26 (7-27-1999)
We rebut some of the recent distortions of facts made to the Chief newspaper by the disgraced former Chair of NYCHA, Ruben Franco.
We also look back on Spotty's first year of shining a light on NYCHA's dark places.
Issue 25 (7-13-1999)
The new Chair called for a morale-boosting meeting. Half the Central Office employees attended a morning session, while the remainder went to the afternoon gabfest.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the big morale boost that was expected. Spotty was mentioned by one of the questioners, and Mr. Martinez acknowledged that at least "some" of our reports were true. (Hey, that ain't bad. In another 50-60 years, they may verify everything we've reported thus far.)
Much of the prior planning had failed, or prior planning was not done at all. The written question forms were not handed out until just prior to the meeting, so, in reality, the rules called for them to be completed and handed in PRIOR to the employees receiving them!!!
There were other problems, and it was a real shame. The first time NYCHA has attempted to listen to the employees, and it gets screwed up.
Issue 24 (6-26-1999)
We welcome the new NYCHA Chair, Mr. John Martinez.
We also gave a closer look at the Closed Circuit TV farce.
Issue 23 (6-13-1999)
This was an important issue, as it was the Public Housing Spotlight's first report on the $100,000,000 rip off perpetrated by a group of Kalmen Finkel's friends. NYCHA signed a $100,000,000 lease for a building that Finkel's Friends had recently purchased for $8,000,000.
We also add to the praise garnered by DOI in it's headline grabbing arrests of people who cheated NYCHA out of amounts like $100 a month. (Of course, the millions being fleeced from HUD and our Nation's taxpayers were NOT subjected to DOI's eagle eye.)
Issue 22 (6-1-1999)
In Issue 22, Spotty answers a letter criticizing some of our reporting.
We also reported on the restoration of an employee's retirement bonus.
Issue 21 (5-11-1999)
In Issue 21, we report on the installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in many of NYCHA's Developments.
Of course, as with most NYCHA run tasks, the taxpayer's get a royal screwing again due to the Tilt-O-Whirl bookkeeping done by the Authority. One new twist; some of the funding for CCTV is being grabbed out of the ESS budget???
This issue also contained our first retraction. (I truly wish there were more, but, thus far, NYCHA has yet to refute a single story or rumor reported on these pages.)
Issue 20 (4-30-1999) Issue 20 was an extremely short issue. Yet, it brought about our first retraction (see Issue 21)
After reporting on Sylvia Castenada's overdue exit from NYCHA, we placed a graphic containing current rumors into the page. Unfortunately, one of the graphics gave an unflattering account of favoritism being perpetrated by a NYCHA Development Manager named Ms. Thomas.
We debunked that rumor in our next issue. Ms. Thomas had done nothing but try to help tenants. (And we still regret it as we compose this directory, in April of 2000.)
Issue 19 (4-15-1999)
In Issue 19, we report that although so much time had passed, the victims of Bruce Gatewood's sexual assaults had not seen their status changed. Their punitive and retaliatory demotions and/or transfers were still in place, despite the almost unanimous agreement that they were just being victimized again.
We made our first book recommendation. After reading the following book, I realized that I and the other honest inspectors had been used by DOI to allow the DOI investigators to see just how much we had uncovered. Then, DOI could help close up any of those problem areas and allow the corruption to proliferate again.
The book is:
- Inside the New York City
Department of Investigation (DOI).
It is written by Peter Benjaminson, who was the Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of DOI. It is published by Barricade Books and I know that it is carried in some branches of the NY Public Library.
We recommend reading the entire book, which is a quick read at only 249 pages.
Issue 18 (3-26-1999)
This issue led with the following quote from the 1/30/99 Issue of the NY Post:
"On Wednesday, Crain's Insider quoted ‘people close to Gov. Pataki' as saying that unless Giuliani becomes more cooperative, the State will next announce an investigation of the Housing Authority to go along with the probe of the school system."
We also reported a group of stories covering the Termination Unit (Nick and Nora), Sylvia Castenada, Mr. Kern, and some small computer thefts.
Most important, we announced that work on a Special Corruption Issue was near completion.
Issue 17 (3-5-1999)
The Termination Forms are still causing an uproar at NYCHA's headquarters in 250 Broadway. Spotty found that Nicholas Schiavone, sent a memo out in October, 1998, directing his people to hold all inspection cases that were based on Failure To Allow Inspection. We were told that he actually instructed those under him to store these folders on a "temporary basis".
Of course, we would normally expect denials from Mr. Schiavone and others in NYCHA about any deliberate attempt to stall the necessary work on those folders. But, this time we had the original memo in which the directive to hold those files and to not send them to NYCHA's Law Department, as NYCHA's standard procedures would dictate. And Mr. Schiavone's initials were prominently displayed on the memo.
Sylvia Castenada made her maiden appearance in our rag in Issue 17. We mentioned that while Sylvia was playing sycophant to Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra, she had forgotten to come to work at NYCHA for about 6 months. (Sylvia's travails became an ongoing feature in our pages.)
Issue 16 (2-26-1999)
In Issue 15 the blame for those idle Termination Forms was laid at the feet of JoAnna Aniello and Nora Reissig-Lazzaro. (Spotty knows of other Execs who were aware of those files being ignored in a copy room, and if an investigation is ever opened, we'll be glad to supply proof.)
Things got so hot, Kalman (the Fink) Finkel called Steve Pasichow, NYCHA's Inspector General, into a private meeting.
We also related to NYCHA execs exactly what the employees expect of them.
Issue 15 (2-23-1999)
This issue really caused a stir at the upper levels of NYCHA. We report that over 1,000 Tenant Termination Reports have been PURPOSELY left to rot next to a copy machine.These apartment inspections are very important. These reports have information on HUD mandated apt inspection ranging from any number of violations. These folders may very well have additional charges for domestic violence and/or drugs and/or guns and/or dogs. But who knows?
Within minutes of our rag hitting NYCHA fax machines; those files were being delivered to be processed, as should have been done weeks and months ago.
In Issue 15 we also awarded Robert Malamo with our second DUMB Award. Mr. Malamo had the misfortune of unfairly writing up an underling who happened to compose an intelligent reply to the unfair counseling memo.
Issue 14 (2-15-1999)
We point to a Newsday story, by Liz Willen, that comments on a report done by the NY Comptrollers office. In it, Carl McCall's office finds that "an urgent need for repairs and major deterioration in two-thirds of the projects surveyed." Also, "These projects have to be a place where people feel safe and comfortable . . . there must be some attention."
Spotty gives out his first "DUMB Award" in this issue. It goes to Mr. Kern of Section 8 Housing, therefore assuring him a spot in Spotty's annals!
Issue 13 (2-9-1999)
Well, Franco was dumped by Giuliani. But no investigations were begun. While some had stated that our little rag was just a certain clique's method to try and get rid of Franco, our continuing to publish should lay waste to that bull!
We bemoaned the fact that no investigation was commencing. We told how Kalman Finkel and Tom Hahn were pushing for NYCHA to find contracts for a company named Data Secure.
Issue 12 (12-31-1998)
While still under the (mis) impression that an independant investigation into NYCHA was beginning, we wrote that we now hoped the Spotlight could be retired by the beginning of the New Year, 1999. That didn't happen!
Issue 11 (11-14-1998)
Issue 11 was a bit premature and certainly too optimistic. We announced a hiatus on publishing the Public Housing Spotlight, as we had heard a high-level rumor of a major NYCHA related development. The source of the rumor, who had been very reliable in the past, told us that coming news would make Spotty a very happy fellow. So, we "hiated."
Issue 10 (10-25-1998)
We relate how after a rumor of a Corporate Council investigation spread through all of 250 Broadway, the Franco/Finkel/Andrews trio held a long closed door meeting. Meanwhile the rest of NYCHA's brass roamed the halls of 250 Broadway waiting for the delayed Board Meeting that had long been scheduled but had to wait for the Chair to leave that bunker.
Issue 9 (10-10-1998)
We lampoon a recent column in the official NYCHA newspaper, penned by Chair Franco. In it, he complains about those Tenant Leaders who don't perform in a manner that is pleasing to dear Ruben.
We also make our first mention of Ms. Sylvia Castenada-Director of the Office for the Aging. Sylvia was a Deputy Mayor Ninfa Segarra appointment, and she seemed to spend all her time following Ninfa on City Hall errands, while being paid with Federal Government (HUD) funds.
Issue 8 (10-1-1998)
Issue 8 begins with a few choice NYCHA rumors, and announces that we will soon go digital and publish a web edition of the Spotlight.
Issue 7 (9-25-1998)|
The Public Housing Spotlight reports on the NYCHA Special Investigations Unit. According to people at 250 Broadway, the Special Investigations Unit is used by Finkel/Franco as a private police force. In another story, we publish a memo sent out by the new Director of Computer Services, Mr. Cardenas. The memo itself is hilarious, including confidence inspiring gems such as:
"Should, however, any problem arise after the CIO has approved and signed the request in good faith, then the CIO is released and forever discharged from all know claims and liabilities of any nature, including but not limited to, all actions, causes of action, suits, debts, sums of money, attorney's fees, controversies, damages, claims, grievances and demands, at law or in equity, by contract, tort, pursuant to statute, that anybody could have against the CIO, by reason of or arising out of processing of documents submitted by the REQUESTOR and approved by the CIO in good faith."
Issue 6 (9-18-1998)|
More stories of sexual harassment are chronicled. These range from women who were told by male Executives that their jobs were on the line if they didn't accept the exec as a bed partner, to a woman who was propositioned by a female supervisor and has been constantly harassed since turning the supervisor down.
Issue 5 (9-13-1998)|
In Issue 5, we were sad to report on NYCHA's choice to further punish 4 of the women who had the audacity to report on Bruce's sexual assaults. We told how Alberta Fuentes, Director of Staff Development, was summarily fired. The other three, Bat-Sheva Horodniceanu, Sonia Guidry and Maristella Kelsey were all told that their salaries were being reduced. We predicted that this idiotic move would insure the end of the Franco/Finkel regime. (A little over 3 months later, Chair Franco got the boot!)
Issue 4 (9-7-1998)|
In Issue 4, we announced that we would now have all issues of the Public Housing Spotlight available over the Internet.
We introduced our readers to one of NYCHA's big spenders, Tom Hahn.
We also listed the politicians/officials who were then getting the issues faxed and/or emailed to them.
Issue 3 (7-22-1998)|
Issue 3 contains a fairy tale, or Spot-Tale, as we called it, that gives a running account of the past decade, or so, at NYCHA's headquarters at 250 Broadway. It's a fun read.
Issue 2 (7-4-1998) |
Our 4th of July Issue was headed by an editorial, in which we first mention the pervert, Bruce Gatewood, and his predilection to use his Executive status as a weapon allowing him to assault women who work at NYCHA. (Bruce spread his perversion to other city agencies, but that story will await any future trials before we print it.)
Next up, the Public Housing Spotlight looked at nepotism at NYCHA, along with stories about Interboro and the long running fleecing of the taxpayer for a non-operative, but expensive, Time keeping System.
We expanded on our Norberto Caballery info, and we threw a Spotlight on to the City's practice of using monies that were allocated to provide decent housing for our residents, but wound up building Police Precincts instead.
And we made our first mention of the nefarious Special Investigations Unit, or the Sneakrets.
Finally, we suggested that the New York City Housing Authority set up some form of an independant Ombudsman, to give employees a place to take grievances where retaliation would not be an immediate consequence.
Issue 1 (6-24-1998)|
Our inaugural issue begins with a brief rationalization of our existence. Following the introductory notes, we have a story about the New York City Housing Authority's immediate past Chair, Ruben Franco. We delve into domestic problems regarding Mr. Franco that had become the leading gossip at 250 Broadway. We also exposed some disturbing facts about Franco's latest NYCHA-girlfriend.
Our next story uncovered the criminal background of NYCHA's Manager of Data Security, Norberto Caballery. Mr. Caballery had pled guilty and been convicted of extortion in 1974, in a scheme to defraud a brokerage house of over $800,000.
And, finally, we told of how friends of Kalman Finkel had purchased a warehouse in Long Island City for a little over $8,000,000, and within months, NYCHA had signed a lease with Finkel's friends that would cost the taxpayers well over $100,000,000 to lease that building for 20 years!
That's all . . . for now!
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Current Issue of the Public Housing Spotlight |
Brief Spotlight Background
Public Housing, particularly the New York City Housing Authority, is occasionally put under our Spotlight. The Public Housing Spotlight began in 1998 as a single page newsletter faxed to a handful of NYCHA fax machines. The Public Housing Spotlight is now faxed to over 400 locations, including NYCHA Central Offices and the various Developments, local and national politicians, officials and others who have an interest in Public Housing.
Thus far, although both current and former NYCHA employees have stated that they will testify at any independant investigation into NYCHA, neither HUD, the 2 Federal Prosecutors covering NY City, the District Attorneys, the City Council or any other independant entity has agreed to investigate the charges presented in the Public Housing Spotlight.
Brief Publisher Background
I will place some brief biographical information here. I'm doing so in the hope that it may help show that I'm not some psychotic disgruntled ex-employee of NYCHA. Rather, I'm a guy who has led an average life, but who got caught up in a web of corruption that I couldn't close my eyes to. (Now, 5 years later, I almost wish I had!) I also believe some of my past experiences had helped me to get a grip on what was happening at NYCHA.
I'm a 53 year old native New Yorker. At 17, I became a Steamfitter apprentice (Construction). In 1969 I voluntarily dropped a draft deferment and entered the Army. Some months later, I was in Vietnam. I was assigned to an Intelligence Operation called Project Dufflebag. We delivered, placed and monitored electronic intrusion detectors and audio monitoring devices. The devices were delivered in one of two methods. Some were emplaced by hand, when we would go out with Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP's), Special Force Units or Special Operations Groups (SOG's).
Other devices were emplaced from helicopters. We would fly low over enemy trails and/or areas where heavy enemy activity was expected. While standing on the chopper's skids, we would drop the device as near as possible to the suspected enemy trail or camp.
Within 6 months, I had become the person in charge of all of the US Army's electronic surveillance activity for II Corp, which encompassed approximately 25% of Vietnam.
I left Vietnam in November of 1970, with a Bronze Star, a couple of Air Medal, a Combat Infantryman's Badge and other pretty ribbons.
After getting married while on leave from Vietnam, I was assigned to be an instructor at the US Army Combat surveillance and Electronic Warfare School at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.
A year later, I received my Honorable Discharge and returned to New York with my wife and our infant daughter.
For most of the 1970's, I worked as supervision on various large construction projects, including the ill-fated Shoreham Nuclear Power House. I worked on large projects in other States (such as: Maine - Paper mill, Baltimore - Rocket Fuel Plant, Cleveland - Steel plant and Canada - Oil Refinery). I became a member of Greater NY Mensa and was active as an advocate for special educational opportunities for highly intelligent (Gifted) children. In 1979, my wife and I were selected to be the Governor's appointees as advisors to the Suffolk County BOCES Gifted Children's programs.
In the 1980's I spent two years as a Member of the Board of New York Mensa. I was also elected Treasurer during that time.
In the early 1990's I was elected President of the Gateway Users International Group, an organization composed of owners of Gateway computers. I was also the Editor and Publisher of the group's monthly magazine. The magazine was delivered/published in 2 formats. Gateway paid for the printing and mailing of a gray scale paper issue, and we also published a full color edition that was sent via the Internet.
My wife Barbara and I have two daughters.
So, we continue to publish!