Thursday, September 4, 2008

CB7 video raises questions of corruption



Video Demonstrates Community Board 7 Board Ignored its Own Conditions in Approving Willets Point Redevelopment

Willets Point business and land owners today released a video revealing the Queens Community Board 7 vote may have to be converted to a "No."

In June, the Land Use Committee of CB7 held several meetings to review the EDC's plan to rezone and redevelop Willets Point. After the final Committee meeting on June 23, it was very clearly stated by the Community Board Chair Gene Kelty and the Committee Chair Chuck Apelian that the Board required several "mandatory" concessions from the EDC before the Board would approve the plan. If these recommendations were not agreed to by the EDC or adopted by the CPC in its final approval, the CB7 vote would convert to a "no."

At the final hearing and board vote on June 30, 2008, Chair Chuck Apelian read a letter from Deputy Mayor Robert Leiber which he claimed addressed most — if not all — of the Board's concerns. The video provides a side-by-side comparison of the Board's Conditions set forth on June 23 and the EDC's response on June 30. It is clear from the Video that CB7 did not receive the mandatory concessions it required before approving the plan. WPIRA has distributed the video to the City Planning Commission and will distribute it to all members of the to NYC Council.

Dan Feinstein, President of Feinstein Iron Works, said, "If not for the strong-arm tactics of Board Chairman Gene Kelty and Willets Point Committee Chairman Chuck Apelian, it's clear the majority of board members would have voted against this illegal land grab. Kelty and Apelian clearly went over the line and IGNORED the interests of the very people they are supposed to represent."

"Kelty and Apelian should be removed from office immediately, and the board members should call for a new vote now that Kelty and Apelian's betrayal has been laid bare for all to see," Feinstein said. "Kelty himself said the board's approval would turn into a 'No' vote if its conditions are ignored. To date, there is no evidence the Administration will do anything but pay lip service to Community Board 7 and no evidence Apelian and Kelty will ever stand up for the residents of Queens. While it's clear the board's 'Yes' vote really meant 'No,' it's time for the board to make clear that Apelian and Kelty's shameful sellout will not succeed."

As the video clearly demonstrates, the board members made clear with their conditions that they do not support eminent domain and the plan as currently proposed by the EDC. The Board's conditions for approval included:

· More affordable housing – the board wants 30 percent of the project devoted to real affordable housing for low-income New Yorkers, while the City has continued to offer only 20 percent for low and middle-income families;

· A substantial traffic mitigation fund – the board has asked for 10 percent of the project cost for traffic mitigation (about $300 million) - the city has continued to offer the community board only $5 million to mitigate the impacts of this project. This in spite of the City's admission that the traffic impacts of the project are an incurable problem;

· Real Community Board oversight of the project – the board wants an ongoing and active oversight role in the project if it moves forward, while the city has promised only quarterly advisory meetings with an unknown developer who will have no obligation to heed the community's advice or concerns;

· Limited use of eminent domain to obtain private property for use by a private developer – while the Board acknowledged the possible need for eminent domain, it demanded the City exhaust all efforts to relocate current businesses before considering the use of eminent domain.

Anthony Fodera, owner of Fodera Foods said, "The City will continue to make claims of good faith in dealing with the business owners of Willets Point, but we know their word is as good as Kelty's and Apelian's. We will take this fight to the City Council, and beyond if necessary. We will not relent in our efforts to fight for our rights and our private property."


Yes never means no except when a pol flip-flops on an issue.

Q: What kind of idiots vote "yes - with conditions" when they mean "no, not as presented?"
A: Queens community board members who were appointed by and are controlled by the Machine.

Brilliant video, WPIRA. Bravo! No one from the media analyzed it this way or reported what actually happened at the hearings. Wonder why...

70 comments:

McShameful said...

This is the finest piece of journalism I've seen in decades.

It is a gross statement that such trash ends up being "leaders" of our community board. Apelian is like a two faced used car salesman. Kelty has the appearance and demeanor of a low class, foul tempered, loud mouth drunk who just lost everything at the OTB. What disgraceful behavior.

Time to flush these two, and the entire community board system they represent.

Anonymous said...

good work wpira.

smack 'em in the head with their own words.

Anonymous said...

i wonder if apelian is armenian

Anonymous said...

Just shows the CB7 people to be the dopes they are -- all of them.

Its a negotiation. The CB voted yes with conditions, the EDC addresses each condition with a counter offer and the CB tendered their final Yes vote.

whats the issue here again?

WPIRA cuts up a 12 hour video and its supposed to mean something?

Anonymous said...

The issue is that Chuckie seems satisfied with saying the city met the conditions when they clearly did not. You don't ask for concrete things and then get all happy when the city tells you "tough shit, we ain't doing that." Someone got to these 2 and his name is Evan.

Anonymous said...

This means plenty. This is a huge scandal, it deserves a proper investigation, and it knocks another leg out from under the City's already-precarious Willets Point redevelopment plan.

Prediction: Not even Parkside can help them weasel out of this one.

Who the heck does this Chuck guy think he is? We didn't elect him and he answers to nobody, but he has the nerve to "hijack" democracy (to borrow a word from the video)? The most outrageous thing in the video is when committee people sincerely want to pursue voting their disapproval, instead of approval. Chuck bangs his fist on the table, slams the door shut to more discussion, and, treating them like schoolchildren, says: "It's very simple! Approval... End of story!" It's downright dictatorial, and completely at odds with the way the community expects these things to be conducted. My blood is boiling just watching this.

If that's how project proponents behave in broad daylight when a camera is around, it practically proves the bad faith on the City's part that WPIRA has tried so hard to get us to see. Maybe now people will understand what's actually going on before it's too late.

The press release shown below the video alludes to the Board's vote becoming a "No" if its recommendations aren't adopted. Since the Board members voted to approve based on Chuck and the Board Chair's statements that the vote will become a "No" if the recommendations aren't adopted, it seems obvious that there's no choice here but to deem CB7's vote a "No" if its conditions aren't adopted. It was in that limited way that Board members voted approval.

"Yes" Means "No" - that's apparently true. Great title.

Anonymous said...

what's re scandal here?? They took final vote and it passed.. No means yes as often as yes means no..

Anonymous said...

Brilliant logic by the last commenter. When does yes mean yes?

Anonymous said...

This video is awesome. It lays bare what many of us suspected that night but couldn't tell for sure. Chuck introduced that letter from Leiber as "so many concessions" and summarized it as "pretty terrific." At 12:30 in the morning (after 6+ hours in the meeting) Board members trusted Chuck's characterizations of the letter and then went along with him. But this video shows that what Chuck said was not supported by the actual text of the letter (which, by the way, Board members didn't get copies of). That kind of misrepresentation of the letter in the minutes right before the vote should make the vote INVALID.

If this doesn't need a serious investigation, I don't know what does. And, more community residents should attend Community Board meetings from now on so that this kind of stunt can't be pulled all the time.

Anonymous said...

all this video shows is the CB are poor negotiators.

On the 23rd they said we need these 7 conditions for yes .

The city addressed each with an offer and they voted yes on the 30th

Other than some creative editing by WPIRA I just don't see an issue.

Anonymous said...

"That kind of misrepresentation of the letter in the minutes right before the vote should make the vote INVALID."

It should also make Chuck and the other guy ineligible to serve on the Board. Will they be dealt with before the next CB7 meeting?

Anonymous said...

know did he misrepresent the letter? He read it a loud

Anonymous said...

They're bad negotiators, only because they fell victim to Chuck's manipulation which made them agree to lower their standards, and then vote the approval they apparently said they wouldn't the week prior. They voted an approval that they wouldn't have voted if Chuck hadn't fooled them.

I agree that someone up the ladder should review what happened and whether the people involved should be allowed to continue their involvement.

Anonymous said...

what does it matter if Apelian is armenian?

Anonymous said...

these are all grown men and women who had a vote and made it. If they were soooo opposed they should have voter no

end of sorry..more WPIRA sour grapes

Anonymous said...

The point is that they DID vote no by the City not agreeing to their stipulations.

Anonymous said...

the final vote on the 30th is yes or no..

There are no "stipulations"

Anonymous said...

You obviously don't understand the CB process. The committee took up the issue, voted to support a yes with stipulations and made the recommendation to the board. The board then considered the recommendation of their committee and voted on it. The borough president gave a conditional yes as well.

Anonymous said...

But the full board had the city's reply to their conditions and voted yes to those modified conditions.

End of story

Anonymous said...

so on the 23rd the committee says we will vote yes with these 7 conditions

The city reponds to the 7 conditions and gives a counter proposal

The full board votes on the 30th with the city's stipulations and votes yes

What am I missing? Grown people can vote no if they don't like the new stipulations

LegalAuthority said...

To be clear: On June 30th, the Board voted to approve based on its own previously identified conditions, not "with the city's stipulations." The Board's conditions are distinct from, and more strigent than, the City's lesser stipulations. Chairman Kelty told the Board that if its conditions own are not adopted, then the Board's vote will be considered "a NO." With that understanding, the Board voted.

Based upon this video, it appears that the vote of Community Board 7 was fraudulently obtained, as it seems to have occured immediately following misrepresentations made by the committee Chair to the Board, concerning aspects of the issue being considered. In addition, the Board Chair seems to have misrepresented to the Board the ULURP provision by which a conditional approval may under some circumstances be considered a negative recommendation. If so, then this requires a thorough investigation.

Moreover, as subsequent steps in the ULURP process are dependent, in part, on a review of approvals/disapprovals encountered by the application during the ULURP process, the integrity of any step that has occured AFTER the CB7 vote may also have been compromised. If pressed through proper legal channels, this could become a basis to force withdrawal of this entire ULURP application. The project would be sent back to square one, necessitating a new ULURP application and a fresh start with a clean slate.

On a project of this magnitude, there should be very little tolerance for deliberate distortions of the process.

This video strikes me as the opening salvo in what could be a strong legal challenge to the validity of the specific ULURP process undergone by the Willets Point application.

Anonymous said...

If the board didn't like the city's reaponses to the stipulations why didn't they vote no?

Is this the first time they've ever voted and were confused or something?

Anonymous said...

re-screen the video. answers are all there.

#1: board trusted the word of the committee chair.
#2: meeting had dragged on until 12:30/1:00am. people wanted to get the heck out of there.
#3: room overheated to 85+ degrees. non-essential people left due to the heat. people wanted to get the heck out of there.
#4: due to above, no time for careful comparison of CB's conditions with letter's responses (as video now can do in hindsight). Therefore, see #1. if in doubt, and tired and hot, and can't discuss more on another day, then go along with committee chair.

coincidence, that this vote was scheduled for the final day available (deadline), which applied full pressure to complete the vote that night? another issued scheduled the same night, and handled first, to push WP "much later into the evening," wearing down voters? letter unveiled only after public comment time ended (so public was denied chance to comment on the letter, or expose that it didn't meet CB's conditions, counter to chuck's speech)? and there's more...

watch video again. it's all there.

LegalAuthority said...

To be clear: On June 30th, the Board voted to approve based on its own previously identified conditions, not "with the city's stipulations." The Board's conditions are distinct from, and more strigent than, the City's lesser stipulations. Chairman Kelty told the Board that if its own conditions are not adopted, then the Board's vote will be considered "a NO." With that understanding, the Board voted.

Based upon this video, it appears that the vote of Community Board 7 was fraudulently obtained, as it seems to have occured immediately following misrepresentations made by the committee Chair to the Board, concerning aspects of the issue being considered. In addition, the Board Chair seems to have misrepresented to the Board the ULURP provision by which a conditional approval may under some circumstances be considered a negative recommendation. If so, then this requires a thorough investigation.

Moreover, as subsequent steps in the ULURP process are dependent, in part, on a review of approvals/disapprovals encountered by the application during the ULURP process, the integrity of any step that has occured AFTER the CB7 vote may also have been compromised. If pressed through proper legal channels, this could become a basis to force withdrawal of this entire ULURP application. The project would be sent back to square one, necessitating a new ULURP application and a fresh start with a clean slate.

On a project of this magnitude, there should be very little tolerance for deliberate distortions of the process.

This video strikes me as the opening salvo in what could be a strong legal challenge to the validity of the specific ULURP process undergone by the Willets Point application.

Anonymous said...

I saw all that. Does not wash.

If people are adamantly opposed they should stick around regardless of time or temperature.

Sounds like crybabies.. It was late and hot . Whaaaa whaaa whaaa

Anonymous said...

I saw all that. Does not wash.

If people are adamantly opposed they should stick around regardless of time or temperature.

Sounds like crybabies.. It was late and hot . Whaaaa whaaa whaaa

Anonymous said...

this video is not evidence if anything

It is highly edited propaganda created by WPIRA

Anonymous said...

Is it really reasonable to expect people to not only stick around, but to be at the top of their analytical games, at 12:30/1:00 in the morning, in such heat, after such a long time already spent, and with obligations the next day requiring them to wake up early in the morning? This was deliberately scheduled to cause the vote to occur under the worst possible conditions, which is unacceptable considering what is at stake, and WPIRA is right to publicize this and demand redress. Remember, CB members are unpaid volunteers, not salaried employees who rejoice in overtime payments when things run long. A point of the video seems to be that bad conditions in the room made the Board susceptible to Chuck's speech/summary, which was not entirely faithful to the letter, and equally uninterested in challenging/questioning Chuck's summary under those circumstances. In the video, you even see the Chair close down the discussion -- not because the issues have been adequately discussed (they haven't), but only because it's 12:30 in the morning.

Anonymous said...

if it's such an important issue take your responsibility seriously and focus on the task YOU signed up for otherwise step aside

So why didn't they just vote no if so opposed? That is unclear

Anonymous said...

The video provides an accurate overview of CB7's handling of the proposed Willets Point project, with no tricks. Everything in that video is verifiable by examining the minutes of the meetings and the related documents.

Anonymous said...

LegalAuthority should try going to law school. There is no scandal here - the committee chair read the city's response to the conditions, and the board voted. The Board can state conditions all it wants, at the end of the day, the vote is yes or no, and they voted yes. 99% of the city wants this area cleaned up and developed - you NIMBYs are just making a joke of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

"So why didn't they just vote no if so opposed? That is unclear"

watch video again
pay attention
answer is there

Anonymous said...

they say if they vote no they lose leverage which makes no sense ..

Please explain if you know

legalAuthority said...

Regarding the above comment, "There is no scandal here":

According to the video, the vote was predicated on false information given to the Board by its leaders just prior to the vote. If so, the validity of the vote is indeed undermined. Subsequent ULURP steps may also have been undermined, perhaps irreparably.

I stand by my previous post and I encourage WPIRA to examine the legal options.

Anonymous said...

what's the false info?? That he said this is a very good deal we were offered?

Anonymous said...

Hey, WTF is Chuck think he is.

He doesn't represent the people of living within CB7.

Why does CB7 speaks for the people that is affected?

I do think some of the items doesn't make much sense.

1) 300 million traffic mitigation
YES. IT'S A MUST.

2) CB7 Approval
NO. Too Many incompetent people at CB7. Nothing ever gets done!

3) 100% Paking Required.
What does this mean anyway.
100% of the required 300 SF/ parking space the CB7 always wanted or 100% of 0 required parking.

THIS IS F.O.S.

THE CB7 WANTS THE WHOLE W.P. TO BECOME ONE BIG PARKING LOT

AND THE CITY WANTS TOO LITTLE PARKING SPACES

JUST GIVE ME A NUMBER!

4) Eminent Domain- Advance Notice
YES. You are taking my F**king land away, at least give me 6 months notice. What is problem?

5) Business & Worker Relocation.
I thought the EDC is doing its best to relocate some of the "LEGIT" businesses, and offer job traning to the "LEGIT" workers at W.P.

Except for "THE HOUSE OF SPICE"
I think they are getting cheated!

6) 80% housing for Affordable and Senior.... LOL and 20% for ????
Profit????? LOL....... Who thought of thess thing.... yeah sounds good.... but....

7) School on Site
YES. A MUST

8) LEED Certification.
NO. Another F.O.S. Sounds good, looks good, but.......

WHAT HAPPEN TO THE MY PARK AND WATER FRONT PUBLIC WALKWAY?

Anonymous said...

don't these board members require some knowledge of the process they are voting on?

I'd they are claimig they did not understand they process they all should resign tomorrow

Anonymous said...

Chris or whoever the Bloomberg stooge posting all the comments is... does have a point. The board is guilty of stupidity. But worse, Kelty and Apelian are guilty of manipulation.

Chuck Asswipean said...

Hi everybody, my name is Chuck and I have a bridge I'd like to sell you, since you're all so fucking stupid and gullible. Only a complete retard would buy a steaming load of buffalo fodder like the one the EDC and I put fourth. Good thing we've got pleanty of retards on CB7. I actually have to laugh when I think about what we got away with, its just hilarious. Hey, anybody seen my case full of snake oil?

Chuckie's math teacher said...

What is 0 + 5 mil?

a) $5 mil
b) 0
c) 2
d) 300 million

Answer is: it doesn't matter if you're going to sell out.

Dennis the rapist said...

Damn, I thought I was shanty Irish, but Gene Kelty puts me in my place as the most obnoxious piece of white trash in the boro of Bunker.

Hey Gene, I have a tab at O'Neil's that I'm funding with my old campaign money. C'mon over sometime. And don't worry if you get indicted over this, Dick Brown will throw the case just like he did with mine.

Anonymous said...

I've never seem a more pathetic bunch if stooges than the CB 7 short bus crowd..

If these doors didn't like the proposal VOTE NO

That these two idiots hoodwinked the board is nor a surprise ..

It sounds like whatever CB 7 voted it didn't matter.

Thank god these invalids don't wield any real power /- I feel safe at night now

Anonymous said...

corruption???

How about questions of competance???

Did they not understand the ULURP process??

Morons

Anonymous said...

the vote was predicated on false information given to the Board by its leaders just prior to the vote.

what pray tell is the "false information"?? that conditions could be applied to a Yes vote to turn it into a No vote???

Do these people have any idea what the voting process is?

All Apelian says if we vote No then we cant negotiate. What does that mean? No means No.. Yes never means No.. so so silly

Mina, Fodera and a few other WPIRA members were at the committee meeting. Are they on the land use committee of CB7?


poster up higher is right . most of these CB 7 people look like they ride the short bus.

and the Board Chairman is Archie Bunker reincarnate.

7 not on your side said...

This video is the best reason yet why community boards should be eliminated.

Kelty is an idiot, Apelian is a liar.

Anonymous said...

I cant think of any task i would trust this Kelty clown with.

power washing graffiti maybe?

how does this man make a living? his shirt looks like something fire dept related -perish the thought peoples lives actually rely on this mutant.

Anonymous said...

Most of these CB7 members look like they cant hold down actual jobs.

How do you get on a community board?

show up early on a Sunday morning>?

Maybe lose at musical chairs?

Anonymous said...

What can you expect from the
"Chuck & Gene show"?

This pair have been pulling the wool over the community's eyes for years and everyone's been letting them get away with it!

Strong arm tactics have always been included in their bag of tricks
and they've used them quite successfully!

Did you ever see Gene run a meeting like a bullying union boss?

And why did Chuck find it necessary in the past to hold some private meetings in his home?

Time to dump this shady duo!

Take your video to the feds!
Otherwise it's going to be buried.

Anonymous said...

Video vigilance
is the wave of the future.

Put that stuff on line WPIRA!

FORCE YOUR GOVERNMENT
TO DO THEIR JOBS OUT IN THE OPEN
NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!

Smile, your on camera!

Anonymous said...

When Chuck wants something,
Marilyn promptly drops to her knees and kisses his ass in approval!

The same goes for Gene,
otherwise she might lose her very high paying job!

That's the way CB#7 (and other CBs)
usually do business!

Anonymous said...

This is Flushing ain't it ?
Where a flush can beat a pair.

Royal flush those two marked cards from CB#7's crooked deck and make it PDQ!

Gene and Chuck have held their positions far too damn long to be trusted any more!

Let's have an honest (relatively speaking of course) poker game!

Anonymous said...

FYI...WPIRA....the FBI's
anti-corruption unit is located
in Fed Plaza.....Manhattan.

Your tape is admissible evidence.

Anonymous said...

Myra Baird Herce was a member of the committee? WHY? She's no longer a member of CB#7.

Claire Shulman is sitting next to the presumptive chosen developer, Wellington Chen, in the video.

Wellington, Myra, Gene, Chuck, Marilyn AND Claire have been asshole buddies for more than two decades. This whole "approval" process is being carefully orchestrated with the help of The Parkside Group. Parkside has been hired by the Willets Point LDC and the companies controlled by Wellington Chen.

This land grab is corrupt and warrants investigation, starting with the Community Board.

WIPRA: Act now before it's too late.

Anonymous said...

CB7 members must be under a gag order now.

Hundreds of hits on the video, but no new comments here in quite some time. Silence. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

54 comments.. nothing else to say.

Anonymous said...

My only question. Did Tully pay for all your video equipment? This is kind of crap you see on Faux News..

Anonymous said...

Who's funding the Willets Point LDC? Who's paying The Parkside Group? Who's paying Claire?

Follow the money.....
Look at the campaign war chests....
Filled with the riches from the east, from Flushing and the far east....

The creation of Wellington Pointe continue.

Anonymous said...

I was on a few of their committees in the 80’s and 90’s as a rep of my civic association. The same tactics are used time and again by this Board when a hot issue is before them. They let the commoners think they’ve negotiated a good deal, when in fact the perks were already in place. (i.e. road improvements, traffic mitigation, etc.) Remember the USTA?

Sadly, the “conditions” and/or “stipulations” are nothing more than a recommendation and are not binding on the part of a developer. The committee chair, Chuck Apelian, is a pro at blowing smoke up the ass of the Board and, in turn, the community.

WPIRA should launch an investigation and take them to court.

Anonymous said...

What needs to be investigated is the guy who is telling people he is doing a documentary (a lie). When in fact he is doing a hack job for Tully. Shame on you..

Anonymous said...

Parkside's role in this land grab needs to be investigated.

Caught on Tape said...

"What needs to be investigated is the guy who is telling people he is doing a documentary (a lie). When in fact he is doing a hack job for Tully. Shame on you."

The truth hurts. What exactly is inaccurate about the video? It certainly shows the true colors of the disgraceful leadership of CB7.

Anonymous said...

Community board meetings also are public and anyone can tape them for any reason.

Furthermore, this is certainly a documentary if Michael Moore's stuff is considered to be.

Anonymous said...

If CB7 and CB5 had an asshole competition, who would win?

Anonymous said...

The truth hurts. What exactly is inaccurate about the video? It certainly shows the true colors of the disgraceful leadership of CB7.

Show the whole meeting not a little piece that Tully wants you to see. Your hack job. Because thats all that it is. Is the disgace in this matter. End of story.

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece of documentary. Really shows what crooks you got on the board who are willing to sell out your community.

Anonymous said...

The great thing is, it shows the Council that the approval was anything but sincere, and that the approval is actually supposed to be considered a "NO" if all the board's conditions aren't accepted. There are some who would prefer that small fact be forgotten or erased, but thankfully, it won't be. Right now, it's plain as day.

Anonymous said...

Chuck & Co. put so many restrictions on the RKO Keith's project that owner Boymelgreen finally tossed in the towel and is selling it of in disgust!

Thanks CB#7 for another decade of decay at this historic site!

Maybe you've arranged for one of Tommy Huang's sons to buy it back!

After CB#1 (the community board from hell) CB#7 is one of the most shamefully corrupt boards in NYC!

It's time for a DOI/FBI enema!

Anonymous said...

It's funny that the representative of Willets actually voted Yes at the CB 7 land use committee; three people actually voted no, probably knowing the city won't give them anything anyway.

Also, the school and leeds was already guaranteed in accordance to the edc's plan, so technically, they didnt get anything they asked for. I swear they're idiots.

Anonymous said...

THESE TWO SHOULD BE ARRESTED ONCE AND FOR ALL

Anonymous said...

MEETINGS IN CHUCKS HOME? HEY I THOUGHT IT WAS BECAUSE HE IS SUCH A NICE GUY.. I WAS INVITED TO SUCH A MEETING AND IT REMINDED ME OF THE GODFATHER. WHEN THE DON TELLS MICHAEL, THE ON THAT OFFERS YOU PROTECTION ON HIS TURF, HE IS THE ONE WHO WILL BETRAY YOU. TOTALY SUREAL. WHEN WE GOT THERE EVERYONE WAS SEATED AND THERE WERE NO SEATS FOR US. WERE THEY LOOKING FOR CONCESSIONS FROM US BY MAKING US ASK FOR A SEAT? OR WAS IS SOMETHING MORE OR LESS?