Opposition to Mayor's Land Grab in Willets Point Grows Despite Borough President Marshall's Betrayal of Working Families in Queens
Two New Business/Landowners Join WPIRA
As Queens Borough President Helen Marshall today announced her support for Mayor Bloomberg's potentially illegal land grab at Willets Point, the landowners fighting to keep their family businesses issued a warning to Marshall and others who do not publicly denounce the abuse of eminent domain. "We will remember those who turn their backs on us and remind them that this fight will never be over so long as the City continues with its reckless plan to take our private land and give it to a politically connected developer," said Jerry Antonacci, WPIRA member. "Today, Helen Marshall demonstrated a callous disregard for the 2,000 men and women who work hard every day in Willets Point to provide for their families."
"This is clearly a situation where the emperor has no clothes," said Council Member Hiram Monserrate. "The land use process is designed to provide the community with the details of a proposed project. Yet, this is the second time the Mayor's Willets Point plan has been approved with the clear acknowledgment that it is absent necessary information. As their questions continue to go unanswered, the Queens community is disenfranchised from a project that will determine their future for decades to come. Unfortunately, the Queens Borough President chose to support this vague and noncommittal plan rather than question it. These questions will not be ignored in the City Council."
"This developer's boondoggle is little more than a blank check written on the backs of two thousand working breadwinners in Willets Point. Why all the secrecy about who will build it, for how much and for whom? In the midst of a City and State fiscal crisis, how can our City afford $3 billion for a deeply-flawed, pie in the sky plan?" said former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.
Despite the act of betrayal, the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, a group of land and business owners fighting the Bloomberg Administration's attempt to steal their land, continues to grow stronger and larger. Today, SIJ Inc. and Dahlia Group joined the coalition, adding a combined 34,000 square feet to the more than 24 acres of private land represented by the group. That's more than 53 percent of the private land in Willets Point.
SIJ Inc. owner Irene Presti, who has been in Willets Point for over 25 years said, "The City has been lying to all of the landowners at Willets Point for decades. They have been collecting our taxes and promising us that they would take care of us and give us the basic services we were asking for. Now we realize they are a bunch of lying crooks and that's why we are standing together as a group to fight them."
Pictured: Hundreds protested against eminent domain abuse outside CB7 meeting last night.