If you've been visiting our website to view the last few issues, you're probably wondering when the separate window with the link to the Washington Times story (on HUD's missing $50 Billion dollars and NYCHA's missing $50 Million in contract tracking files) will finally be retired.
The reporter who wrote that story, Ms. Kelly O'Meara, was probably hoping to do what should be a rather easy follow-up.
You know, something like:
"As a result of our story on the public housing funding mess, and our interview with HUD's own Inspector General, Congress and Local NYC prosecutors are now looking into the possibility of prosecutions."
But Ms. O'Meara was not to have that story. Actually, the news now would actually be
"As a result of our story on the public housing funding mess . . . uhhhh, NOTHING has happened."
We here at Spotty keep saying that we have people willing to testify. That we have tapes that have not yet been posted. And that the NYC Dept. of Investigation is either inept or has taken the role of Public Relations Dept. for both NYCHA and NYC government.
Yet not one question, letter, phone call or email has arrived from anyone in NYC government asking about that Washington Times story. The mob of candidates for upcoming local office have been too busy trying to scheme ways to overturn term-limits if they're already in office, or to defend them if they don't currently hold office, to care about public housing tenants and employees who suffer due to the mishandling of HUD generated funding.
In the NYCHA mess, the corruption was reported to the IG years ago! But the lack of political interest let DOI decide to duck this blow. It took a pass on investigating, and nobody in power blinked.
By closing the investigation as soon as it seemed that NYCHA Executives would be grabbed in the net, DOI lost any moral authority it may have ever had. We doubt anyone in NYCHA would report corruption to the NYCHA IG (DOI), as it's now common knowledge that if the corruption touches anyone in power, the person going to the IG is the only guaranteed loser.
So, as much as it shouldn't be this way, we continue to recommend staying away from the IG/DOI and reporting corruption to any publication that will publish the story.
So far, that's us. But as the stories proliferate, and as many of you are now backing up your tales of NYCHA foibles with actual memos, the regular media will eventually be forced to cover the story.
So, please keep those faxes and email coming. From what we're told, you now have the crooks sweating and swearing!
Why Finkel is called The Fink!
Paul Graziano has been gone from NYCHA for barely months now, yet Kalman Finkel, in what may be a CYA (Cover Your Ass) strategy, is already distancing himself from Paul's many years at NYCHA's top Operational position. In a textbook example of damning with false praise, here's the Baltimore Sun reporting on the Graziano arrest.
Kalman Finkel, who oversaw Graziano as one of three members of the New York City Housing Authority's board of commissioners, said Graziano was a solid general manager.
"Good. I wouldn't say great," Finkel said. "He had strengths and he had weaknesses."
On the other hand, Finkel said, Graziano's weakness was that "sometimes, he wasn't tough enough," that he could have been more decisive at times. He said Graziano was best at dealing with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
I guess after 6 years of Paul's operational leadership, we're getting nearer to blame time at NYCHA. So, Kalman Finkel is ready to throw Paul's work reputation down the drain, in order that Kalman may get himself out of anyone's sights.
Nobody at the Spotlight condones Paul's drunken foray into gay-bashing. It was offensive and deserves a quick response by Paul's political superiors. Paul's defense that this was just a result of a drinking problem that led to a lowering of inhibitions is as inane as it is insulting to those he offended.
Webster's defines "inhibition" thusly
Main Entry: in·hi·bi·tion
Pronunciation: "in-h&-'bi-sh&n, "i-n&-
Date: 14th century
1 a : the act of inhibiting : the state of being inhibited b : something that forbids, debars, or restricts
2 : an inner impediment to free activity, expression, or functioning: as a : a psychic activity imposing restraint upon another activity b : a restraining of the function of a bodily organ or an agent (as an enzyme)
It would be nearly impossible for Paul to run public housing anywhere after he uses the excuse "liquor made me state my true feelings". And if you use a lessening of inhibitions as your excuse, that's what you're saying. (I guess if you've got homophobic, racist or other warped views of society, if you keep yourself in check and not let any reports of your bent views be published, you are then considered good managerial material?)
But to have Kalman Finkel casting aspersions on Graziano's work performance, while Finkel was a NYCHA Board member and kept Paul on-board all these years, is just simply ridiculous.
What's even stranger is that the Fink didn't think to edit NYCHA's own website, where we find that while under Graziano's leadership:
"NYCHA is considered one of the best operated public housing authorities in the nation, despite its size and complexity. This standing in the public housing industry is clearly demonstrated by our consistent designation as a "High Performer" under the Public Housing Management Assessment Program (PHMAP). The program grades public housing authorities on their management performance in the areas of vacancy rates, modernization, rent collection, work order completion, physical inspections, financial management, resident services and security. NYCHA has been rated a High Performer (score of 90 or above) since 1991, culminating with a record score of 99.25 in 1997."
The irony here is that, if indeed NYCHA had been led by an independent General Manager who was "stronger", as Finkel desired, the Contract Administration bribery scandal under William Russo would NOT have progressed as it had. Paul would have pushed for a true investigation, contractors would have been arrested, voluntary testimony by inspectors and NYCHA execs would have commenced and some higher-ups at NYCHA would have been given a tour of public housing at Rikers' Island and/or at prisons in other areas. Finkel, Franco, Russo and others might have been granted an exciting chance to attend the longest real-time, on-board, interactive presentation of public housing conditions that the US Bureau of Prisons has ever held.
And Finkel's friends would be stuck with a crumbling edifice in Long Island City that never would garner a $100,000,000 lease!
We hear that at the Dept. of Housing and Preservation there is a rather interesting letter circulating about conditions at ERP. If anyone has any information about the letter, or a copy of the letter, we'd appreciate you faxing us at 718-745-0170. If you're worried about being identified, remain anonymous and fax from an office supply store or any place that offers fax services to the public. (Also, if anyone has a list of fax numbers for HPD offices, we'd appreciate it if you could send us a copy.)
In Issue 68, we told of a widow who was getting a run-around while trying to ascertain benefits due to her family from NYCHA and/or Local 237.
Within 24 hours of publication, Mr. Nick Mancuso called and told us that he was personally going to insure that the information would be given to the widow ASAP.
We thank Mr. Mancuso for his prompt attention to one of his member's families.
And No Thanks . . .
In Issue #70, we told of the plight of the Rogers' family.
The mother and daughter were living "doubled-up" while awaiting an apartment vacancy at NYCHA. They expressed shock that in Issue #69 we had published a NYCHA memo stating that there are 472 vacant apartments in a single NYCHA development.
That's right. According to a memo sent to Michael Kramer, Director-Operations Services Dept. from Richard Daronco, a NYCHA Property Manager, there are 472 apartments empty at Edgemere Houses in Rockaway, Queens.
As almost 2 months have passed, so we did some checking. Ms. Rogers, and many, many others, are still residing on a list. Meanwhile, Edgemere apartments remain empty.
This is lunacy!
© 2001 Public Housing Spotlight and John Ballinger. All rights reserved.
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