Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Daily News exposes Gallagher lies

Dennis Gallagher has let down community, activists claim
by John Lauinger, NY Daily News, 11/13/07

Councilman Dennis Gallagher has been keeping a low public profile since his indictment on rape charges this summer - even as torrential rains swamped his district in August.

Oddly enough, some of Gallagher's constituents wish he would keep things that way.

Instead, the embattled Councilman has been quietly lobbying city planners and Borough President Helen Marshall on behalf of a foreign developer who wants to build houses on the grounds of the historic St. Savior's Episcopal Church in Maspeth.

Gallagher's efforts have infuriated residents and civic leaders who have fought for some two years to preserve the church and surrounding property as a park. Gallagher flatly denied engaging in hush-hush influence peddling in an interview with Queens News on Friday.

"I've done everything humanly possible to try to maintain this property and this church," Gallagher said. "Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the cooperation necessary from the mayor's office and the Parks Department."

However, a planning source told Queens News that as recently as two weeks ago, Gallagher had inquired about the status of the development's application, wondering why it was taking so long to be certified.

The source said Maspeth Development LLC's application to build roughly 70 residential units on the once-wooded property has been snagged by environmental concerns.

But a Planning Department spokeswoman said Friday that it was a "definite possibility" that the developer's application could be certified by year's end.

James Trent, president of the Metropolitan Historic Structures Association, said Gallagher has deprived the community of much-needed parkland.

"This is really a betrayal of the community," Trent said. "Whose interests rule the roost here?"

Gallagher said he tried to have the property landmarked, then looked into designating it as parkland. But in both instances, he said he was thwarted by institutional opposition.

He also said he put $1 million into the city's 2008 budget to preserve the church property, but couldn't come up with $2 million more needed to seal the deal.

Gallagher said he met with Marshall three times regarding efforts to preserve the church, but Marshall refused to discuss details of the meetings.

However, Marshall said the property is "an eyesore right now" and suggested the development would likely move forward. A portion of the grounds would be used as a park, "but mostly for people who live in the development," she said.

Paul Ditta, 51, who lives near St. Savior's, accused Gallagher of never intending to preserve the church.

"I talked to Gallagher about a year ago and he said, 'Do you want an asphalt plant or do you want houses?'" Ditta recalled. "He said, 'You're better off taking the houses.'"

Christina Wilkinson, who has led a campaign to save St. Savior's, said the Parks Department had initially shown interest in the property before the developer cut down 185 mature trees there.

Gallagher brought Parks officials to the site only after the tree-chopping, she noted. Parks later said they no longer had any interest in the property. "Either they lied directly to us or somebody got to them - and that somebody was Gallagher," Wilkinson said.

And Parkside Group, run by Gallagher's best friend, Bill Driscoll.

52 comments:

mv ben said...

I don't understand.

According to crapper, the residents of Maspeth would rather have a “factory” then housing.

When why don’t Tony and Paul contact the developer and just say, “Tear down the church, put industrial complex in place. Thank you!!”

Done!!

Queens Crapper said...

The developer isn't a factory developer. He is a housing developer and has no plans to put a factory there. So Gallagher lied about that too.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this supposed position of the residents that they would rather have a factory seem hypocritical? On one hand they say that the church building is so important and a historical piece of the community, but on the other hand, if it means keeping housing away, tear it down and build a factory, that's fine with us.

Anonymous said...

Overdevelopment is the more important issue.

Anonymous said...

There is no mention of a factory at the site in this article, except to a resident by Gallagher. So why would they believe that is the developer's plan?

Queens Crapper said...

Isn't it hypocritical for a councilman to work against the wishes of the community and push a developer's zoning application through?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that not only is Gallagher pushing for rezoning of this area to allow yet more housing, bringing with it more flooding, but that Helen Marshall is listening to the rapist.

Anonymous said...

Helen Marshall is an airhead. She thinks overdevelopment is great.

Julie said...

Notice how the city planners are too embarrassed to give their names.

Anonymous said...

I bet Jennifer Manley is involved in this too.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with wanting to stop more development in your neighborhood. The flooding this past summer in western Queens proved that the city can't handle the development that we have here now. Why should we sit idly by and accept more? So we can pay more damages when it rains again?

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece by the Daily News. I hope they come to Katz' district next.

Anonymous said...

Now we know who borough hall really listens to. Developers. Lobbyists. Indicted rapists. Crime really does pay.

Anonymous said...

Instead of lobbying to get a park here, Gallagher did everything in his power to make sure that the city said no. What a pig!

Phil said...

This fellow is certainly setting himself up for some bad karma. May he oink his way all the way to jail.

Anonymous said...

He got 1 million dollars to save the church, but needed 3 million dollars to seal the deal? What a load of horseshit!

Christina Wilkinson said...

Here's proof that Gallagher lied about the money: Comparing Elmhurst Gas Tanks site with St. Saviour’s

Queens Crapper said...

This is great. Allow me to paste individual quotes: “All we are interested in here is getting the land to be used for the benefit of the community. And the right thing is a space that will provide the community with something they need, not a project that does the harm that the proposed development would do here.” – Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

“This is a big first step. With more time, we should be able to come up with enough money to allow government to put something beautiful in the space, like a park.” – Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

“We are very serious about acquiring this and using it in a way that is best for the community.” – Councilwoman Melinda Katz

Queens Crapper said...

“We’re being oversaturated with development now. I don’t like multiple dwellings or massive retail. I’d like to see something we can all be proud of.” – Councilman Dennis Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

“This was a number one priority. We need some open space here, and it’s nice that we will have a new legacy." - Councilman Dennis Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

"Councilwoman Melinda Katz and Councilman Dennis Gallagher have set the ball rolling with a plan for Queens legislators to purchase the former Elmhurst Gas Tanks site. The pair has allocated $3 million to assist fellow City, State and Federal legislators in acquiring the property. These are the first funds apportioned in these efforts. The site, currently owned by KeySpan Energy, was originally home to the Elmhurst gas tanks. The tanks were razed in 1996 and the future use of the property has been at question since.

This significant step in the property's purchase comes after a meeting held last month where city, state and federal Queens legislators negotiated with KeySpan to postpone the sale of the property until the end of the year. The $3 million allocated by Katz and Gallagher will come from the 2005 capital budget. The amount will cover approximately one-fourth of the site's estimated $12 million cost."

Queens Crapper said...

* Note: The Katz-Gallagher money was designated from the 2005 capital budget. The deadline for elected officials to fund the project was Dec. 31, 2003. Eventually Keyspan would donate the Elmhurst Gas Tanks property to NYC for $1. In 2004 when the JPCA asked Gallagher and Katz to use the $3 million for construction of the park they said the money was not there. According to other elected officials the money was never there, it was just a phony pledge to insulate Gallagher & Katz from criticism when the $12 million could not be raised by elected officials.

Queens Crapper said...

"I advocated an approach through negotiations to preserve St. Saviour's and the character of the surrounding property." Queens Ledger – Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

"Reasonable residential development would be something we'll have to talk about with the developer. I hope the community board will be reasonable in regards to a zoning change. We need to come up with a compromise." - Times Ledger, 9/21/06 - Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher

Queens Crapper said...

Campaign contributions made to Dennis Gallagher in 2006:
STADTMAUER BAILKIN LLP (law firm representing developer of St. Saviour’s):
$500.00 (May 2nd, 2006)

WILLIAM DRISCOLL (of PARKSIDE GROUP - lobbyist hired by developer of St. Saviour’s)
$250.00 (May 7th, 2006)
$250.00 (April 30th, 2006)

INTERESTING TIMING!!!!

Queens Crapper said...

"The lobbyist group that the developer hired, do I know them? Yes. Do I know all the lobbyists in New York City? Yes.” – Councilman Dennis Gallagher as quoted in Queens Ledger, 9/20/06

Queens Crapper said...

Enough said.

georgetheatheist said...

Who's the developer? What's his name? What country is he from?

Anonymous said...

Who in their right mind would want a 70 unit housing development with a private park exclusively for its residents across the street from them in what is now open space? Gallagher and his lobbyists are unreal.

Anonymous said...

Hey Helen: the property is an eyesore right now because of Parkside, Pinky, and the developer.

Julie said...

I have a better one for Helen: The Elmhurst Gas Tanks site is currently an eyesore too. Why aren't you advocating for housing units there?

Christina Wilkinson said...

George:

The principals of Maspeth Development, LLC, is Scott Kushnick and Tomer Dafna. They are Israelis. They come here to tear down American history and build cheap housing units. And our government apparently thinks this is a fabulous idea.

Queens Crapper said...

Let's charge Dennis Gallagher and the members of the Parkside Group with treason.

Anonymous said...

Why don't we bring the Park's Department back in and plan the park with new trees. Didn't Mayor Bloomberg pledge to plant more trees in the boroughs? Well, he can start here and make St. Savior's a green space. This way, he can be true to his word and the Park's Department, who were originally interested before Mr. Gallagher and his thugs chopped them down, could re-evaluate their decision and give this area what it needs - a new park and green space. No one needs a factory or more over-development. New trees will grow and Maspeth will have a new beginning with the old church as a cultural site.

georgetheatheist said...

Why are Israelis not investing in Israel? Putting Israeli money into Israeli land?

Christina Wilkinson said...

The parks department also visited the site with the belief that the entire space was available. When they got there, the developer & Gallagher told them they could only have a portion of it because the rest of the property would have houses on it.

Anonymous said...

Once again - eminent domain, land swap - both viable alternatives for a city claiming to be strapped for cash.

Anonymous said...

Even if it used eminent domain, the city would still have to pay fair market value for the land. Eminent domain doesn't mean that the government takes your property without paying for it. And what city-owned land would you swap for this property? It isn't as easy as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

The city has plenty of land it owns that it is in the process of selling to developers for $1 to build on. Give me a break. And they could use eminent domain and then take the money they spend on cancer causing turf and instead apply it toward the acquisition.

Anonymous said...

"Once again - eminent domain, land swap - both viable alternatives for a city claiming to be strapped for cash"

Gallagher single handedly talked the developer and his lobbyest out of the landswap idea and then spoke openly of it to a newspaper. Now he's stupid enough to say he tried everything to save the property in his carefully and vaguely worded responses.

So Dennis, remind us again how hard you tried? You are the victim of your own moral bankruptcy in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

And there I was just this morning thinking Christina might make a good possible candidate for some future office. Humph.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what an empty suit Helen Marshall is....too bad for her that even when you are "high yellow" the Queens Democratic Machine still treats you like a run of the mill ghetto Negro. Make sure you take an entire table to their annual function Helen and be sure to say "ye'sir massa bill" when you kiss the hand of the Parkside plantation owner.
PS- Pinky, you should of got your money from Parkside up front. You are a bad Councilman and a bad businessman.(but still good at being a shanty tinker)

Anonymous said...

Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves....

We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture.

And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.

--New York Times editorial, 1963

Anonymous said...

Helen Marshall should be ashamed of herself for allowing land with ties to black history to be developed with cheap housing.

Anonymous said...

Praise be to the Lord for the fine job
Mr. Lauinger has done exposing massive corruption
in NYC government....via some local scum bags !

He's a saint among sinners !

This is what INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
is all about.

Please take note you inept politico controlled
weekly rags !

a flushing-ite said...

You think that Beep Marshall is bad ?

You don't know what
former Beep Shulman DIDN'T DO
(that she should have done)
to prevent the historic RKO Keith's Flushing theater
from being destroyed by Q.B. Hall's favorite partner
Tommy Huang !

She was, and still is, a lying malevolent cur.....
a mangy dog....who has been rewarded
by the clubhouse for her past treachery!

H-m-m-m.....
she's been made director of the Willets Point job....
a nice fat patronage position for one's old age!

Anonymous said...

Here's an argument made by the other side:

"You see, sometimes you win a fight and sometimes you lose. It is just a basic principle in life. We won the Keyspan fight but now the community might have to make concessions with St Saviours."

Oh ye with short memories.

Elmhurst was told by their lazy elected officials that the Keyspan-Home Depot was a done deal and not to bother fighting. They didn't listen and started to fight. Because of the controversy, the developer proposed a compromise that consisted of a 2-acre park surrounded by a Home Depot. The residents said no and kept fighting, although the lazy elected officials urged them to accept. They finally won and saved the entire 6-acre site. I guess you think they should have just taken the Home Depot. I for one am glad they didn't.

There is no reason for anyone to suggest that we 'make concessions' to save St. Saviour's unless they are a) a lazy elected official, b) being bribed by the developer and/or c) don't really care about Maspeth.

Anonymous said...

With the Keyspan site, reasonable people were able to convice the city that it was an excellent location for a park. The arguments for a park at the St. Saviour's site aren't nearly as strong as they were for the Keyspan site.

Julie said...

Actually, its the same reasonable people that argued for the Keyspan site. Both parts of the neighborhood are devoid of parks. There's open land available. If Dennis Gallagher had been on the right side of the fight to begin with, Maspeth would have a new park. But he turned and became a corrupt indicted lobbyist instead who is hell bent on revenge. Of what, I am not quite sure since he is the one who started the fight with the community to begin with. What a sad, sad chapter in Maspeth history.

Matt G. said...

Julie, let's take it a step further. The Keyspan site was CONTAMINATED land back in 2003 that the Bloomberg administration got them to clean up before they turned it over to the city. How many millions did Keyspan have to invest in that? But in 2007, pristine land in West Maspeth is not good enough for him to fight or make a deal for. What a difference being a lame duck makes.