The union head who represents Rikers Island corrections officers slammed plans to close the jail complex as nothing more than a “political con game” and a “land grab” that would enrich well-connected real estate developers.
Elias Husamudeen, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, said Sunday the closure plan has nothing to do with helping blacks and Latinos as some have argued, but “everything to do with business.”
The union big honed in on a report overseen by former New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman that called for the closing of Rikers within ten years — noting its claim that the city and state stand to gain $17 billion if the island is repurposed for use by LaGuardia Airport.
“It has everything to do with business,” Husamudeen said Sunday during an interview on John Catsimatidis’ 970 AM radio show. “There’s so much wrong with this. This is such a political con game.”\
Husamudeen pointed to the make-up of the Lippman commission, charging that only two people on it have experience with jails.
“The majority of the people on your committee are real estate developers,” he said, referring to Lippman’s commission. “This is really a sham, it really is. It’s a land grab.”
Husmudeen argued that politicians should be more focused on the safety of corrections officers, citing more than 2,000 assaults against union members since de Blasio became mayor.
“My thing is: take your island, take your jail, take the island. We don’t care. Make the jails safe,” he said.