We read with great interest Councilman Jim Gennaro's response (which appeared in all Queens weekly newspapers in mid-February) to the open letter we wrote to Governor Spitzer, published in the Fresh Meadows Times on January 17, 2008 and we wish to reply as follows.
Your answer highlights in great detail the many attempts you made at addressing the SJU Henley Road dorm project, and included quotes from our local newspapers attesting to your commitment. Unfortunately, you failed to address our principal question relating to the ethics of your accepting campaign donations from the Kamali Organization, the developers that are building the St. John's dorm. It is a fact that the same weekly newspapers that documented your efforts, questioned your judgment when accepting donations from this very same organization, the one from which you were allegedly defending the community.
In an article entitled "Gennaro Likes Dinero" Queens Chronicle, September 13,2007, the same quotes constituents stating "that you talk out of both sides of your mouth" and when questioned, you defended accepting Kamali's donation by pointing out that every elected official in New York City takes contributions from developers. "Pricey Politicians" which appeared in the Times Ledger, September 8, 2007, disclosed that the single biggest donor to your campaign was the Kamali Organization. The Queens Courier September 27, 2007 article "St. John's Dorm has Neighbors Seeing Red" states that when you were asked about Kamali Developers' donations to your campaign you dismissively replied "we all have to raise campaign funds."
We understand that raising funds is important to all politicians, but you can not be an "ardent opponent to the dorm project and vigorously advocate for what is in the best interest of the community" and claim to be "working on changing the zoning laws so as to discourage dorm projects in residential communities" all the while accepting donations from the developers.
We personally feel that this is a conflict of interest. Why would the Kamali Organization, a Great Neck based firm, make campaign donations to a Queens politician, unless they were expecting favors in return?
Maria and Louis Collier