Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mom & Pops Have No Friends at City Hall, says Korean-American Business Leader

Sung Soo Kim, who endorses Sal Albanese for Mayor, is a leading small business advocate (see below) in Queens for three decades, now accuses the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY) a powerful lobby, of “killing our democracy” by “taking control of our city’s Democratic lawmakers and the election process.”

The outspoken Kim charges “When New Yorkers vote shortly, they will be unaware they are really voting for which lobby or union will be empowered to make policy at City Hall, which will impact their lives, economy, jobs, taxes, and their democratic rights.”

In a statement from NYC’s Small Business Congress, an independent small business organization, Kim states, “When it concerns economic policy and jobs, REBNY controls the positions and platforms of all incumbents Democratic candidates through:

• REBNY’s influence with media
• huge campaign funding
• threats of supporting opponents
• rewards with government jobs
• promises of future business for political consultants
• sway with party bosses in the selection of a new Council Speaker
• control of the biggest high salary jobs’ revolving door with bureaucrats
• and most importantly, being viewed as the only pathway for Democratic career politicians to higher offices.”

Kim believes that the above “permits REBNY to dictate the issues and debates of our economy and jobs in the city’s elections. REBNY is the 800-pound gorilla you don’t see or hear of in the election. REBNY’s influence with lawmakers and the Democratic Party has made the topic of our city’s economy and jobs a non-issue in the past two elections.”

He further explains, “In 2009, REBNY created a bogus legal roadblock to stop a vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a bill to stop our small businesses from disappearing by giving rights to commercial tenants. The bill had seemed certain to pass, with all members of Small Business Committee and 32 Council sponsors.”

“But REBNY then apparently managed to get the leading outspoken champions of a populist bill, which gave rights to commercial tenants and regulated landlords, to ‘flip.’ And once flipped, to persuade them to either join in rigging the system to stop any future vote on legislation giving rights to business owners and remain silent on the rigging against mom & pop owners facing a struggle to survive, yet still referring to them as “the backbone of the economy.”

“While powerful lobbies in Washington have the influence to hand pick committee chairs and exert influence within government agencies on regulations and policy, no modern day lobby in the city has the power like REBNY to control the city’s economic policy and hand pick entire committees to assure no challenges to that policy.”

“A walk down any NYC main street shows the outcome of REBNY’s stranglehold on City Hall, with empty storefronts, sometimes for years, where once long established vibrant businesses were. Some landlords demand “cash under the table” from immigrant owners. Tenants are turned into virtual indentured servitude when given only short term leases, sometimes a year or month to month, receiving a notice from their landlord to “vacate in 30 days.”

“The single biggest cause of long established businesses closing are the exorbitant rent increases being demanded in a manipulated, speculative market. The NYC Courts evict on average 500 commercial businesses each month. Over 1,200 businesses close each month and over 8000 jobs every month lost since Mayor DeBlasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito came into office.”

“Once, both were outspoken champions of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, but upon election both abandoned their progressive SBJSA stance in favor of REBNY’s money and political influence. Both, along with other “progressive” lawmakers who apparently sold out to REBNY for their own political careers, “flipped” and joined the rigging to keep the status quo favoring only big real estate.”
SBJSA advocate Kim says there are three things voters can do to “challenge REBNY’s power and influence over our city’s government:

1. Elect candidates running for public office especially against an incumbent who refuse campaign funding from REBNY.
2. Ask for a call for an honest public hearing to find a real solution to end the crisis destroying our small businesses.
3. Hold elected leaders responsible for all the businesses that have been forced to close and jobs lost.

Know that if re-elected these lawmakers who have done nothing to save a single business or job will continue to work to keep the status quo favoring only their campaign contributors, REBNY.

All the incumbents are telling the voters they are proud of their progressive record as landlords are robbing the city’s struggling small business owners of their American Dream. Our Democratic lawmakers have betrayed the principles of Democracy, respect for our city’s entrepreneurs, art community, immigrant families who own the majority of small businesses, all workers, the hard to employ, seniors on fixed incomes, and New Yorkers who love their neighborhoods."

About Sung Soo Kim:
Mr. Kim consulted in the original and all subsequent versions of the SBJSA. He founded the Korean American Small Business Service Center 32 years ago, refusing city funding support. He is creator of the Small Business Bill of Rights, rejecting a Business Improvement District. He has negotiated more than 50,000 commercial leases. Kim served without salary as Chairman of the Small Business Advisory Board, appointed by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani. Reach him at Small Business Congress, at


JQ LLC said...

Look no further the reason why republicans are barely visible in this year's election, because the majority of incumbent democrats have been bought. REBNY is a scourge and have had a stranglehold on this city for a decade and a half, enabled and nurtured by the gentrification industrial complex subservient terms of mayors fun size and big slow

It should also be pointed out that a lot of new luxury towers that have been built have empty commercial spaces too. And I like to add that the real estate market is not only manipulated, it's fabricated.

This is a great piece by a guy who should be mayor himself. It's the small business manifesto.

If anyone saw the wretched debate, none of the candidates would give a straight answer on the issue of gentrification and the causes or even the neighborhoods were this cancer on society has spread.

Sorry, Nicole, I am going to switch my vote for Sal.

Anonymous said...

And we all know whom REBNY has in its pocket, don't we? Paul Vallone, and Bill de Blasio. (And don't forget Melinda Katz is in there, too.)

I'm voting for Paul Graziano, and am still deciding between Sal Albanese and Nicole Malliotakis. And I'll vote for Katz's opponent.

Anonymous said...

ALL mom & pops have NO FRIENDS in a REBNY run NYC. Why does the Korean community think they're being singalef out? If YOU DO NOT hold the deed of ownership to the spot your business is in, you are just whistling past the graveyard! Thems the hard facts.

Anonymous said...

In 2013 Tony Avella accepted a $40,000 campaign contribution from Glenwood Management. Glenwood was one of Sheldon Silver’s biggest contributors. They all play the game and they all take the money.

Anonymous said...

They should definitely talk to other ethnic groups and they'd see it's not just them.

Regardless - JVB made a public promise (yeah, I know, worth about as much as a bucket of sand on a beach) that he'd sponsor the small business survival act if re-elected.

Maybe some of these council people will act after the election since they're facing term limits anyway. Again, I don't hold much belief it will happen, but maybe. There are many actively complaining about this issue.

Anonymous said...

They all a bunch of crooks. They are fleecing the working class,without us knowing it, because we are too busy trying to make ends meet. They take credit for work done by others.

Dispute our nightly protests at the Maspeth Holiday Inn, and visits to Harshad Patel (the hotel owner's home), Elizabeth Crowley campaign material almost reads like she's single handedly convinced deBlasio to close the shelter.

We know she knew well in advance of the secret library meeting, to expect the Homeless shelter. She was going to throw Maspeth under the bus.

What's even troubling is she's taken big donations from a relative of Patel. Take a look at NY campaign financial disclosure 2017 32 DAY PRE PRIMARY REPORT. She took 2,750 back in August.

(sarc) said...

The Comrade Mayor Loves all businesses,

that provide large campaign donations...

Anonymous said...

Pretty funny considering that the entire stretch of Northern Blvd from Flushing to Little Neck is nothing but Asian store fronts owned by Asians and most of the signage is not in English. The Asians do not patronize other retailers and every time a house gets sold Asians move in. I have noticed that Koreans move in and out of housing every 5 years, so whats that about ? So whats Kim's point here - haven't Asians taken over enough of North East Queens already ? Do they need to take over the entire city ? Enough is enough

Anonymous said...

Monday morning anon-

Seriously? Shut your racist mouth. No one cares about your anti-asian bigotry. It is all of us against REBNY. Fight the real fight or get out of the way.

Anonymous said...

I know Kim means well, but he is chasing an illusory goal with the SBJSA. It has a loophole or two big enough to drive a truck through, and its basic provisions will almost certainly be challenged by landlords and struck down in state courts as an intrusion into basic property rights, let alone the unintended economic consequences you see with residential rent control. You want to fight REBNY? Fight to remove the legislative conflicts of interest and tighten up the lax policies that let their money influence the government. Don't waste your time and political gas mileage passing bad laws that probably won't even last.

SBJSA text

Anonymous said...

You can't fight REBNY and you can't fight the's been's impossible...they are too imbedded

Anonymous said...

This act looks pretty good, what happened in 2009 that scuttled it? Who were the turncoats?

> It has a loophole or two big enough to drive a truck through

What's the loophole?

TommyR said...

Small-business Godfather is right. But REBNY is entrenched and almost in-charge of so many levers...

to the rascist jealous we don't need white people banks and crushing life-long debt to move in, buy a beautiful home CASH, and live that nice, cushy middle-class white suburban life people like you resent anyone NOT white for having? HAHAHAHHAHHA....

...cry some more, please. Regular middle-class immigrant Americans - Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, the Hispanic home-owners of the Caribbean diaspora out in Richmond Hill/Jamaica/etc basically SAVED North-Eastern and South-Eastern Queens from getting TWEEDED OUT THE ASS. Now we need to clean house and get rid of the ones with $$'s where their eye should be - they've got rotten with greedy thinking (exploit, resell, make bank and get out) - no sense of community, constancy , continuity. Guess what - those are all ASIAN values, too. Go to Kyoto sometime and see what I mean.

If people wanted certain areas to stay low-rise, guess what, THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE SOLD OUT and moved to LI, SI, Jersey, suburbs..etc. You left, and immigrants came in, cleaned up, and kept the area nice. Boo hoo I'm sorry you couldn't tough it out.

Anonymous said...

Small business hates regulation because they all small business was set up precisely to sociopathically circumvent regulation. Feudal casuists perpetuate the canard of the mom and pop farm/deli/dega. Tocqueville 1848 ii.ii,19 debunks the notion of the hereditary family farm. Milton Friedman J Eco Lit v 30 n 9 p 2129-32 shows success of small business is indeterminate because of survivor bias. McKinsey's Manyika WP Feb 7 2010 B2 shows large firms produce jobs more quickly. Even the Economist says (small-business canard, Oct 5th 2010) only a small fraction of smaller enterprises are capable of generating sustained growth of very many jobs.

TommyR said...

@Anon "Small business hates..", you're quoting me a book from 1840? Yeah, I've read the Frenchman (Alexis was decidedly negatively anxious/concerned about democracy btw) and I've got Democracy in America sitting on my shelf...nice of you to cite your statements, I respect that, but disagree with your latter references. Studied econ, got my MBA, btw I've run "small" (meaning in terms of staffing) enterprises, and the current family business keeps me afloat (not to mention nearly 4 dozen other citizens of NYC employed and productive).

Maybe you should be shilling for the cowards and sneaks named in the Paradise Papers? Look at your own words: "sustained growth" - who cares if GROWTH is sustained? An ever-growing economy is by definition NOT sustainable. GROWTH itself is an economic myth, maybe you need to read a bit more and actually work as an entrepreneur before you can appreciate that. The primary purpose of ANY business is PROFIT - and if you're a reasonable, ethical person - is to provide a SERVICE or GOOD in DEMAND. It has NOTHING to do with JOBS. The biggest corporations took that belief to its most unethical extremes, so you can keep supporting them - by paying THEIR TAXES FOR THEM, you chump!

The rest of us small business owners don't have fancy lawyers or loopholes to squirrel away money in Ireland - we pay our taxes first, or get crushed by investigations, audits, and regulations.

Anonymous said...

What's the loophole?

For one, consider §2 d. (8) - excerpted:

"A tenant shall lose the right of renewal and a landlord may refuse to renew a lease only on the following grounds :...Upon the termination of the current tenancy, the landlord intends to occupy the retail premises in order to carry out its own business, which cannot be the same type of business that the current tenant is operating"

So basically, if I want to get you out, I just need to hire my good for nothing brother-in-law's 2nd cousin for a few months and a paltry sum to buy his weed money as a consultant so that he open up a business for me that is anything but what you were doing for 50 years and then fold up my business as unsustainable when my "manager" blew my "investment". Then it's back on the open market, original leaseholder be damned.

There are other problems if you read more carefully and think more about the contingencies.

Read the bill. It's not long. You'll probably be better informed about it than 90% of its knee-jerk supporters.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of successful mom and pop massage parlors around