Sunday, March 24, 2013

Civic Virtue cover up!

Dear Queenscrapper,

In our continual pursuit of the truth behind the circumstances of the removal of Triumph of Civic Virtue, we have received some tangential documentation from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) in response to our FOIL request, but not the information that we actually asked for. Among these documents are the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for services related to preservation of the statue and construction of the armature used for its transport to Green-Wood, in which we have found something quite unusual.

As a former intern with NYC Small Business Services, I had the opportunity to post several dozen RFPs. All of them were posted 3-4 weeks before the submission deadline for interested contractors, and often longer when addenda were involved. On DCAS' own open list of RFPs, this 3-4 week period is also followed. The RFPs related to Triumph of Civic Virtue however, were posted only 7 and 8 days prior to the submission deadline. This quick window is bewildering, especially given the intricate nature of the construction work involved. Furthermore, the required time period for public notice of RFPs appears to be set at 20 days by the Procurement Policy Board. DCAS has also not provided any communications pertaining to the removal of the statue that might have occurred with contractors prior to this time, and refuses to provide any of the communications that took place between itself or any other city agencies and Green-Wood cemetery related to the removal, citing attorney-client privilege.

We spoke to attorneys at the Committee on Open Government in Albany regarding this situation, and their assessment is that DCAS does not have the right to deny these records. We are considering what legal course of action to take at this point in order to receive what we have still not received months ago, namely, all records of communication. Some generalist attorneys have already expressed interest in representing us, but we are still looking for counsel with experience in matters of preservation, records access, procurement, or other NYC municipal procedure to examine documents, research the city and state statutes, and determine other help precedent that might better advise city or state legal authorities reviewing our case.

Please read more here:

-Jon Torodash


Anonymous said...

good job Jon...DON'T QUIT....

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest.

Just got in a magazine issued by Green-Wood Cemetary. Refreshing to read something written by, and for, adults.

None of the childlike dependency on smarmy policos like Queens. They were blunt: it was neglected and abused here - for years.

It has a new home and will be restored and cared for in a fashion that seems to be beyond anything Queens could do.

Lets focus our attention on yet another second rate tweeding exercise that seems to be in the works: Queens Borough Hall's tribute to women.

Let me see, Queen Catherine, Queen Shulman, Queen Marshall, gag gag gag gag ....

Anonymous said...

This guy is so Queens.

Wakes up and gets in a tizzy after the crowd as gone home, had dinner, and went to bed.

Jerry Rotondi said...

Good job, Jon!
Keep the screws on borough hall.
It's the epicenter for corruption and crookery!

The Powers That Be said...

Shut up and do what we tell you.

georgetheatheist said...

Nice work Jon.

100G's of taxpayers'money went into this schlep of the statue. Another 165+G's from Green-Wood. A quarter of a million bux shuffled around.

Where was the press, city-wide and local, digging up what you dug up here?

From your diligent website: "..the idea to obtain Civic Virtue was hatched in someone's head..." Whose head? We still don't know.

Have you tried contacting a Queens Borough President candidate, City Councilman Peter Vallone, to lend his invaluable assistance here? He belongs to a prestigious law firm as well. Here's what he wrote me at the end of December:

"Thank you for your email, and for getting involved in this important Queens issue.

As you already know, I have been a longtime supporter of the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue and have opposed any and all efforts to remove it from its rightful place in Queens. Although the statue has already been inexcusably relocated to Brooklyn, I will continue to fight in order to ensure the public is informed of the true reasons for its removal...

If my office gains any additional information as this issue develops, I will be sure to let you know.




See? He says he's a "long-time supporter" of the statue and that it's "rightful place" is in our borough and that the statue was "inexcusably removed" and that he will "continue to fight in order to ensure the public is informed of the true reasons for its removal."

What a guy. Give him a buzz.

Hey Jon, you've got their asses in your maw. Chomp down. Hard.

Anonymous said...

JON, do not allow the Saul Alinsky (RULES FOR RADICALS") commenters discourage your efforts,with their "ridicule at all costs any one exposing the progressive agenda ".

been there and succeeded to expose them.....30 years ago.

Anonymous said...

There's no "Virtue" in Queens!!!

Jon Torodash said...

To answer some questions:

Vallone's office was contacted with this information, and Mr. Szott, his counsel on staff, confirmed receiving it. I have also spoken to staff for Tony Avella over the phone, and intend to reach out to the other candidates as well. I am far from done on this - it takes a little time, but I'm not in the least discouraged. The content of the sarcastic comments reveal that the people behind them have barely read a cursory amount of the information on this issue available on the web, let alone pored over the paper archives as I have, archives open and available in the CB9 district office at borough hall, going back over a decade. (And these posters are anonymous as usual, of course...) Civic Virtue may have been abused through willful neglect by those in power who could do something, but it was not forgotten by those who gave a damn about the borough's charm and history, those who remember that the statue stood firm amidst the downfall of the likes of Donald Manes and Anthony Weiner with offices mere steps away.

Joe Moretti said...

Keep it up Jon. You have the passion for change that so many just lack or just do not want to do anything except say little nasty comments, but yet are not willing to do all that you have done.

Keep it up and keep the powers to be on their toes.

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

You are dead wrong on your information. I was a contract officer for the City for 15 years. The RFP information is for procurements over $100,000 and not for procurements at or below $50,000. Most small purchases (below $50,000) only have an open window of 1 week. I also know there was a mandatory site visit done prior to the bid. No public notice is required either due to the low cost. I think it is wrong to blame DCAS and you are barking on the wrong tree. You need to investigate the negotiators between the cemetary and the City.

Anonymous said...

Give it a rest Mr. Bob S.

Stop slinging the same old BS.
Your tired old Queen Catherine returns rant,
is boring us all.

Jon Torodash said...

Whether or not the reduced window is valid for bids just under $50,000 is yet to be determined, but as the FOIL request asked for communications between all city agencies and the cemetery or contractors on this issue, which DCAS did not comply with as per FOIL, we're going to keep investigating. If you suspect another entity was involved, you're welcome to contact us.

Anonymous said...

Fig leaves needed

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:

While you could make an argument for dropping this one as a lost cause and moving on to something else that's not yet a done deal, Torodash got involved before the statue was moved and "the crowd had gone home." He didn't just raise his voice afterward.