Tag Archive: Eric Ulrich

Oct 31 2013

Simon Says: It’s Go Time!

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 8.28.21 PMLongtime community activist, Lew Simon has all the pieces in play to take back the 32nd City Council District.

This evening I had the chance to chat with Democrat Lew Simon about his path to victory. While Simon has run before and lost, this year he is more organized by hiring an experienced campaign staff from Red Horse Strategies. 

“We’ve been on the phones, going door to door and we will be pulling them out on Election day,” Lew said describing his campaign’s strategy as focused – not only having identified the support he intends to pull out but concentrating on a large-scale ground operation.  

Lew is running against incumbent Eric Ulrich, a one term Councilman who Simon said failed to serve the entire community during his tenure. Simon cites Ulrich’s poor attendance record at Borough Board and stated Council meetings, as well as his reputation for ignoring constituents pleas for help, as grounds for removal.

“He has one of the fifth lowest attendance at meetings! That’s unacceptable when you’re being paid,” said Simon who went on to explain that if elected as a member of the Democratic party, he would be empowered to chair a committee (Simon set his eyes on Parks and Recreation) unlike his Republican rival that while in the minority party cannot chair any committees thus limiting his ability to accomplish an agenda.

lewsimon

Lew Simon speaks at a local rally.

Counting on his experience as a longtime Assembly District Leader, Simon feels he’ll be better able to communicate with constituents. He mentioned the support his campaign received as proof, calling it a “fusion” including members of ethnic coalitions, civic organizations, even members of his opponent’s party.

“I never would have expected Republicans to come over and work with me and I’m proud to have them,” said Simon.

His agenda for City Hall is pretty robust. “My first priority is rebuilding after the hurricane.” Simon vowed to make sure his district gets everything available “by not playing favorites” and calling participatory budgeting “a great thing”.

Neighborhood safety is also a major priority. “There are many parts of the district that have not gotten help… We need better lighting, additional police, the old-fashioned way of police officers walking the beat, not cameras, cameras that don’t do anything,” Simon explained.

In terms of supporting the Community Safety Act, Simon said “it is ridiculous to threaten police officers with lawsuits,” and pointing to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which is already in place, by giving it an enforcement mechanism by appropriate legislation.

Recently Simon had two stints placed in his heart, however the downtime had not taken him off the campaign trail entirely, in fact he made the most of it and campaigned right from his bedside.

“For the few days I was out, I’ve done more by phone, and the staff are working hard. Field operations are doing a superb job and I thank them.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/lew-simon-says-its-victory-time/

Oct 28 2013

Saffran Sinks His Campaign With Secret Ulrich Alliance

Saffran

As if Dennis Saffran didn’t have enough problems  trying to get from Douglaston to Whitestone without a GPS, he’s lost all local GOP “muscle” for his bid to replace Dan Halloran in CD19.

By aligning with a paper tiger, Dennis Saffran might as well throw in the towel and avoid the embarrassment on Election Day.

According to a North Queens GOP insider, word on the street is that Dennis Saffran is getting no support from the Queens Republican County organization and relying on a skeletal campaign staff from Nassau county.

There was a time when Dennis Saffran was seen as a rising star, but those days are over. The rift allegedly began when Saffran publicly switched his support mid-primary from John Catsimatidis, who was supported by the Queens GOP, to Joe Lhota and thus aligning himself with whom many insiders call one of the biggest pompous and delusional politicos in Queens county, none other than power-hungry boy wonder Eric Ulrich.

Digging a little deeper, a “friendship” was quickly born. Rumor has it Saffran and Councilman Ulrich became best friends, at least that’s what Saffran was lead to believe — Mr. Saffran has been overheard taking multiple calls from Ulrich under the auspices of Ulrich offering this seldom-seen opportunist his amateurish “advice,” which Saffran bought hook, line, and sinker. As a matter of fact, Ulrich has been seen in this northeast Queens district more times than Saffran who has been missing in action for the past 10 years, but that’s not the point here. Saffran’s switch was a political embarrassment — and now when the time has come when he needs help on the ground and volunteers, he’s not getting anything, resorting to second-rate campaign staff from Nassau and Suffolk county that don’t even know the district, but that’s still not the point. In the final days leading up to the election, his campaign has certainly atrophied in desperate need of the limited resources he could have gotten from the Queens GOP, but they’re not coming.

Eric Ulrich Daily News PhotoQuestions remain. Did Saffran really think aligning himself with Eric Ulrich would help him in the North? Considering the storied history of Ulrich and his cronies resorting to a barrage of endless legal tricks and political maneuvering to steal control of the Queens GOP, lining himself up with Ulrich would have severe political consequences and it wouldn’t be that hard to foresee this would be a huge mistake to come back and cost him — especially considering the GOP is headquartered in CD 19 — but obviously he didn’t get the message. And let’s not forget the Southern GOP rebels are going to have enough trouble with Democrat Lew Simon, he may win so how exactly are they going to help Saffran? As it turns out, no one is. And Saffran can only thank his own imbecility.

Meanwhile, and here’s the ironic part, Ulrich made his disdain of Saffran crystal clear to political insiders. Still, questions remain like aren’t there potholes on Cross Bay Blvd to worry about? How can you serve constituents while you’re busy pretending to be a party boss and meddling in elections on the other side of town?

Ulrich has zero influence in this part of Queens, but no one told Saffran and now he’s screwed on all sides.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/10/dennis-saffran-sinks-campaign-w-ulrich-alliance/

Aug 08 2013

Ulrich Silent On Vehicular Killings

[From Streetsblog]

After reiterating his opposition to speed cameras, and following the deaths of at least six pedestrians and cyclists in his district in the last 15 months, Queens City Council Member Eric Ulrich isn’t talking about street safety.

 

On the subject of keeping New Yorkers safe from dangerous drivers, Eric Ulrich is uncharacteristically silent.

 

At the end of June, an editorial from Alexander Blenkinsopp — an Ulrich constituent and member of Community Board 9 and the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association — applauded state lawmakers for approving NYC’s speed camera demonstration program. Blenkinsopp said he hoped the cameras would be used to slow speeding drivers near schools in Woodhaven. He also noted anti-enforcement rhetoric from Ulrich, which peaked before the council endorsed the speed camera measure.

Ulrich said at a committee meeting in March that speed cameras would be “punishing the middle class.” He went on to call them a “stupid and moronic idea” and “part of a radical agenda,” adding for good measure, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of in my life.” He condoned drivers speeding down school streets at night when nobody is around.

Blenkinsopp said that at least six pedestrians and cyclists died in traffic in Woodhaven between 1996 and 2009. At least six pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by drivers in Ulrich’s district since May 2012, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Since March, when Ulrich told Streetsblog he believes speed cameras are a revenue scam, at least one pedestrian has died in his district — Rafael Diaz, a senior struck by a motorist on May 16.

Speeding is the leading factor in NYC traffic deaths, and the probability of pedestrian death increases dramatically with motorist speed. Yet Ulrich’s disdain for automated speed enforcement is unequivocal. “We agree to disagree,” he tweeted in reply to Blenkinsopp’s editorial.

Despite his history of ridiculing DOT traffic calming efforts, however, Ulrich told us he is “committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians, motorists and cyclists” across the city. “I believe that greater traffic enforcement by the NYPD and installing traffic calming measures such as speed bumps and stop signs in speed prone locations is the best way to achieve this goal,” he wrote.

After Ulrich weighed in on Blenkinsopp’s editorial, we emailed him and two of his staffers. We asked Ulrich what measures he has taken to improve traffic enforcement and traffic calming in his district, and where he stands on the deployment of speed cameras near Woodhaven schools, as called for by Blenkinsopp. When we didn’t hear back, we emailed Ulrich and his staffers again a week later. We received no response.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/08/ulrich-silent-on-killings/

Jul 23 2013

The Rise of Lew Simon, Hurricane Sandy Hero

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2013 is the year of political comebacks.

Democratic District Leader Lew Simon’s ship may have landed after Hurricane Sandy.

According to our sources from the Rockaways, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, Lew Simon organized the community and played an instrumental role in advocating for the recovery and rebuilding of the Rockaways.

The voting constituency has taken due notice thereof.

Now let’s be real; Simon lost a few elections in the past, however his colorful antics have become legendary in South Queens – he’s known by everyone. But now the tides have changed -and with a missing in action Republican councilman in a pivotal reelection year – the smart money is stating that Lew Simon may actually have his day in the sun and defeat incumbent Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich.

Rumors of an in-house poll placing Lew Simon neck and neck with Eric Ulrich have circulated the political establishment and may have played a pivotal role in reassuring Democratic leadership that Simon could actually pull it off this time around.

He is running unopposed in the primary and will face off with Ulrich in November.

In the meantime, rain or shine, he’s pressing the flesh and going door to door spreading his message of advocacy for increasing public transportation options, storm relief for The Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Hamilton Beach, plus construction of sea barriers, including a new boardwalk and a new hospital for the Rockaways and in south Queens as well.

It’s ironic that the individual who was sometimes seen as the misunderstood activist of the Democratic Party could finally put the nail in the coffin of the Southern faction of the Queens GOP. In On The Waterfront Marlon Brando’s character yelled, “I coulda been a contender,” but in this city election on the Rockaway waterfront, yes Lew Simon, you are finally a contender.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/07/the-rise-of-lew-simon/

Jul 17 2013

Eric Ulrich: The Quintessential class A narcissist (& Fake, Failed & Corrupt Councilmember) Letter to Editor

12155-s-pa-governor-ulrich-300x200[Letter to the Editor]

Dear QUEENS-POLITICS Editor:

 

I am not the least bit surprised about the recent story regarding the capricious, arbitrary and politically motivated firing of Rolaine Antoine.  Eric Ulrich belongs in a jail cell, right next to Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her demigod, Michael Bloomberg.  All three have flagrantly abused public trust, public service and breaches of honest, ethical leadership that can never redeem themselves.  As a constituent of Ulrich, I have received epic failure regarding my requested help of him to look into an incomplete investigation that the Department of Investigations claimed to have begun two decades ago last month, that his office has total purview to demand accountability.  Likewise, Christine Quinn has even more power to insist upon honest, ethical leadership in city government to answer to a constituent like me.  My New York City pension and retirement accounts have been purged, ambushed and sabotaged by official city and state misconduct (in equal measure by the New York City Transit Authority , and MTA Office of the Inspector General – State of New York, where they ignored obvious corruption and cover up, and contradicted firmly established evidence that they themselves called upon me to produce).

 No matter which agency or official I turn to for help, it’s the same hostile, confrontational reply that clearly enforces a “Delay, deny and hope that you die” stance.  The decades long corruption that continues to entrench city and state government is more insidious and destructive than organized crime.  Likewise, Assemblymen Michael Miller and Michele Titus continue to mistreat me, their former and present constituent like raw sewage, and misbehaving on public payrolls with an arrogance, hostility and dereliction of public duty that is unwavering and unprecedented.  Is this the role of New York government agencies in the 21st century, to behave with lawlessness, selective representation and taxation without representation.  I always believed that any citizen who presents their respective representatives with solid evidence of corruption, cover up, pension fraud, unfair labor practices and any and all levels of official misconduct and abuse of power would be properly heard, followed by a corrective course of action that would demand restitution, back pay, attorney fees, social security contributions and all manner of relief that reestablishes a victim as “whole.”

Not so with Ulrich and his caravan of total corruption, mismanagement, dysfunction, incompetence and deceitful practices that defy accountable leadership (that leads by example).  In fact, the  absolute corruption in Ulrich’s brief political life alone is so egregious and unconscionable, that it demands an investigation that concludes with impeachment from public service—and banished for life.  But, seriously, how likely is that to happen within a borough like Queens County, where the murky waters of cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, corruption, graft, cover up, favoritism and a reckless disregard for law, order and obeying their constituents just keep getting swampier by the minute.  The system is rigged for failure, and Ulrich brazenly (and under delusional cover) believes that he and his henchmen are exalted.

My only hope is for Ms. Antoine to retain a bulldog lawyer (like Joseph Tacopina), and sue Ulrich and the Board of Elections with a cause of action that forces these corrupt and dysfunctional agencies and persons into a new era of accountability, integrity, maturity, self-control and for the very first time throughout the annals of Queens County history, a platform of honest, ethical leadership.  Given the flagrant abuses of power, privilege and ignoring the will of constituents like me, I don’t ever believe that there will be leadership (that was needed two decades ago), to permanently change the way corruption, misconduct and patronage destroys public trust, before the end of my natural life span.  Is anyone listening to the people whom they purportedly represent?  Certainly not any of the intensely incompetent, cradle-to-grave cronies within the corridors of staggering power at Ulrich headquarters!

 

Sincerely,

 

RICHARD C. IRITANO

107-41 107th Street

Ozone Park, New York   11417-2316

917/837-2573

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/07/eric-ulrich-the-quintessential-class-a-narcissist-and-fake-failed-and-corrupt-councilman/

Jun 28 2013

Did The BOE Fire Her Because She’s Black?

Rolaine Antoine

Rolaine Antoine, a former BOE employee explains why our electoral process is always in a state of jeopardy.

An Ulrich loyalist demanded a BOE employee to give up her office chair and forced her in the corner, right before she was terminated.

For far too long we’ve heard stories about the bungled mismanagement over at the Board of Elections, but no one has ever written about specific instances which embody the status quo. It’s common knowledge that the entire building is a refuge for nepotism and political favors. And like most organizations, public or private, it’s subject to office politics; the only difference at the BOE is that these are the people whom are entrusted by the people of New York to oversee the entire electoral process.

But there are victims, countless victims that are in fact professionals, executives, people who bring leadership and experience to the table that are often the first to be fired with politically trumped up charges only to be replaced by those less qualified. Rolaine Antoine was one such person. Please take note that it’s such cut-throat politics and paybacks which gets in the way of real work – but not just any work- the sacred duty of carrying out the democratic process. This is one of those stories.

On Wednesday Rolaine Antoine, mother of two, went to work at the BOE, just as usual. She was prompt, on time and ready to work – the same way she has been for the past two years. Colleagues said she’s intelligent, resourceful, respectful, but above all else a pleasure to work with. During her tenure she was never written up for any reason, never complained or made an out of place comment. She’s the kind of employee many supervisors dream about having. As a former Wall Street executive, Rolaine had the experience and knowledge of logistics, office management, and operations to carry out the work of the BOE – and by all accounts she did her job well, that is until they didn’t need her anymore, her refusal to sign a petition just two months ago which circulated the Board asking Phil Ragusa to step down as Chairman may have been her undoing.

Regardless of the political consequences, Rolaine refused to yield, she thought it would be best to let the voters decide, and then she was terminated.

As a civic minded citizen from Queens Village, Rolaine quickly became a local leader. If there was a problem in the neighborhood she would get to work on solving it. Her accolades led to her election as a Republican District Leader, recognition for her activism on behalf of civic organizations. “I wanted to help people vote and it gave me a great feeling knowing that working at the BOE was an extension of that”. Rolaine couldn’t have been happier. She had the opportunity to enlighten new immigrants and members of a community as to how to become active and responsive to issues that pertain to where they lived. Working at the BOE gave her great satisfaction, that is, until Wednesday morning.

Queens-20130626-01582-1

Letter of termination.

On Wednesday morning, Rolaine’s supervisor Alba Martinez, who was running the absentee department approached her desk. “I needed to report to the Deputy Chief Clerk to return the chair.” Which chair? Asked Rolaine.  Martinez replied, “the one you are sitting in”.  Rolaine was confused, well where do you want me to sit? Martinez pointed to a broken chair and said “all chairs belong to the BOE”. ”Why does she want my chair?”  Martinez said she didn’t know, “I am just the messenger bringing you the message.”

Rolaine was beside herself. “Well since you’re the messenger, tell her [Deputy Chief Clerk Gisela Mengler] I will not give up my chair and if she wants it, she’ll have to come down and get it.” Martinez stormed out of the office. About an hour later, Scott Jordan and Gisela Mengler, the Deputy Chief Clerk,  instructed Rolaine that she had to give up her seat, that she had to give it up for someone else that needed it, meanwhile she was the only one that was asked. Rolaine was a little confused, she had the chair since she began working at the Board of Elections, and in the meantime all of the employees had seen new chairs being delivered – there was even a new chair wrapped in plastic in the Deputy Chief’s office. So why should she have to give up hers? After all it was where Rolaine did the work she was paid to do and there were plenty more available. It all seemed so trivial. Racial flashbacks had been stoked. How often is it that a hardworking African-American female is told to give up her seat and go to the backroom?   While they towered above her desk, Rolaine looked up at them and asked to speak to Commissioner Michel – she wanted Michel to tell her she had to give up her chair and then and only then she would comply. Unfortunately he couldn’t be reached in time. Shortly afterward, Scott Jordan and Robert Pataky presented her with a letter of termination. “The reason for your termination is due to insubordination and racial accusation,” it read. Rolaine was devastated. What racial accusation? She had only asked if her firing had anything to do with being an African-American, which at the time appeared to be a reasonable question given the circumstances, and especially since Michel’s appointment, there has been discrimination against most of the minorities, who have been severely disciplined or let go, she said.

When Michael Michel came in, he came with a voracious axe and basically terminated people who were associated or deemed to be loyal with the County organization. Rolaine was the last of the Mohicans. But she couldn’t just be terminated, she had an excellent record, never been written up, always on time, well-liked by colleagues and poll workers. The musical chair scenario turned out to be an elaborate ruse to terminate her.

A culture of fear.

What the voters need, they are not getting because all of this is going on she explained, “we are failing the voters. When they complain, they are right,” referencing the slowdowns, technical malfunctions, and logistical mishaps which plague every election administered by the BOE.

“Everyone is working out of fear…and you can’t run an office with employees that are working out of fear… it’s getting worse and worse because people fail to speak up.”

Rolaine was talking about the blatant good ol’ boys club the BOE has morphed into. According to Rolaine, Councilman Eric Ulrich put his key people onboard right down to the poll workers. He even had Bart Haggerty, whose brother embezzeled millions from Mayor Bloomberg, now a BOE employee as a lead trainer in charge of instructing the very people that will be training all of the poll workers. All of this happened right after the new commisssioner, Michael Michel, was placed into power following a paper mishap. And when he came in, he was ready to fire anyone that was loyal to the County organization. Rolaine said these new people that were handpicked will report directly to Ulrich and company with no problem, hence their hiring.

In all fairness there’s something odd about a partisan political hack hired to oversee a “fair election.” A conflict of interest? While she never had a conversation with Ulrich, the writing was on the wall. “Ulrich is running the show,” she said.

Just two months ago, Councilman Ulrich came into the office to meet with Gisela Mengler, to ask her to stay on board and postpone her retirement. They needed her, after terminating Deputy Chief Clerk Marie Lynch and until they placed an Ulrich pal in the seat. Rumor had it she agreed. Now Gisela isn’t well-liked at the Board, she was rude and contrite but that didn’t matter, she was politically connected. Rolaine was not exempt from the hostile work environment Gisela had created for her and to make matters worse, the woman she was about to fire was the one who had written letters in response to voter complaints which Gisela was responsible for writing and who also prepared reports that were too complex for Gisela to produce!

In the aftermath, Rolaine reached out to her Union President Gwendolyn Youngblood, a labor attorney as well as the media, and she’s not going to stop there. Rolaine Atoine is a hero, a hero to everyone that had been fired for trumped up political reasons. Her termination is the reason why the Board of Elections is dysfunctional, why our democracy is constantly in jeopardy and why our electoral process is the laughingstock of the nation.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/06/did-the-board-or-elections-fire-her-because-shes-black-rolaine-antoine/

Apr 18 2013

Ulrich Swindled Cash To Buy Support

 

12155-s-pa-governor-ulrich-300x200Seniors beware! Councilman Ulrich funneled donations to a senior center to lure political support from a District Leader in charge of the operation.

Times Ledger: In 2011, Ulrich gave $5,000 to the Forest Park Senior Center run by Donna Caltabiano, a district leader in state Assemblyman Michael Miller’s (D-Woodhaven) district. But that number jumped to $55,000 in 2012 and 2013.

District leaders vote to endorse candidates and elect party leaders.

Ulrich insisted that the donation had nothing to do with politics, but rather the senior center does not get state or federal grants and instead relies on discretionary funding. State dollars had dried up in 2010 and the borough president cut her funding a year later, which is why he made up the difference, the councilman said.

[Yea right]

“I had to keep it open. It came down to me and the borough president,” Ulrich said, pointing out that Caltabiano had never voted to elect anyone from Ulrich’s faction to party leadership positions as a district leader.

Council members get a set dollar amount to fund projects for the aging. In 2013, it was about $108,000. The senior center received the most cash out of those in Ulrich’s district, with most centers getting $5,000.

For Caltabiano, the money was a vital resource, since her center gets limited funding, and she defended Ulrich’s reputation as an upstanding councilman..

She said she had never voted for anyone from Ulrich’s faction but was not fond of the opposing side either.

For full story: http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2013/16/gopfighting_all_2013_04_19_q.html

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/04/ulrich-swindled-cash-to-buy-support/

Feb 21 2013

Jimmy Oddo’s ‘Revolution’ Blows Up In His Face

GOP_Elephant_upside-downAs you may know Councilman Jimmy Oddo led the charge to replace the BOE commissioners. But poor Jimmy, he may not have known any better.

Questions remain like, who’s pawn is he?

Councilman Jimmy Oddo (R-Staten Island) supports the same people who a year and a half ago were rebuked by the judge for trying to set up a fraudulent meeting, that same batch of people pretended to have a meeting, and now since they cant muster the votes for a legit election of leadership of the party, they’ve managed to trick the chairmanship while Jimmy stomps around preaching about ‘reform’ over at the BOE.

No one expected them to be that deceitful, but the judge will decide in the end.

It’s a pattern of deceiving voters and trickery like whom Eric Ulrich associates with. Basically fraudsters. Judy Stupp, her failing was that she was too trusting, way too much integrity. Even most democratic commissioners, are like, this is a scam.  It’s supposed to be the party’s pick. The party is supposed to select. The section of law is meant to protect the minority party, if all else fails – not to steal the party’s perogative.

Jimmy Oddo, why involve himself in these shenanigans and become a hypocrite? He said he would approve DOI investigation of Michael Michel (who previously served as a campaign aide to Councilman Ulrich) but didn’t. There’s no way he could be approved anyway. Michel has such a speckled past, there’s just no way. If going before the council the speaker requires full DOI clearance, which Judy had, but Michel didn’t because it went through the caucus.

We think it’s overreach and the judge will decide who’s right. They should shit can their filing before it’s too late for the distinguished gentleman from Staten Island.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/02/jimmy-oddo-a-party-hypocrite/

Feb 17 2013

Caravan of Corruption: Ulrich, Quinn, Miller left whistleblower to rot

It could happen to you.

SYSTEMIC FAILURE IN SOUTHEASTERN QUEENS FOR ITS CONSTITUENCY

By RICHARD C. IRITANO

 

Dear QUEENS-POLITICS Editor:

 

My name is RICHARD C. IRITANO, and I live in Ozone Park, QUEENS, New York.  For more than three years (and far longer with previous administrations), I have been unable to demand justice from my city councilman, Eric Ulrich, or state assemblyman, Michael Miller.  I have presented documented evidence to both politicians, of whom I am a constituent, regarding cover up, corruption and sabotage, where an investigation had commenced with the New York City Department of Investigations in May, 1993 that was never completed—and mysteriously and abruptly aborted without notification.  That public watchdog probe was supposed to address how the New York City Transit Authority made knowingly false, fake and inflammatory information about myself, when they chose to state in writing to the Department of Labor that I had falsified records, documents and company sign sheets.  Transit Authority management wrote to the DOL in an effort to block my entitlement to collect unemployment insurance benefits, where only days earlier, on April 18, 2013, I was told that my provisional services were no longer required—only three months after I received my fourth promotion in five years.  I was never told in person that I falsified any records, and worse, the woman who hired me in the last promotion that I was supposed to receive (but never did), had no authority to hire me, and insisted that I sign in at 8:00 a.m. daily, then disappear for the day until 4:00  p.m. when my day ended, so that management would not detect that I could be questioned if they should pay a visit to her office.  I was forced to comply but had written a daily diary about this betrayal of trust that she entangled me into.  (She retired honorably—I, the “whistleblower” was left to rot in obscurity.

The Transit Authority never showed up in court after their multiple allegations that I falsified records, and I therefore won my unemployment benefits retroactively.  Before I ever stepped foot into an unemployment office, I immediately complained to the MTA Office of the Inspector General (State of New York), and their General Counsel, Michael Boxer.  Mr. Boxer ignored the corruption and cover up, contradicted firmly established evidence and failed to investigate for three solid years from April, 1989 when I requested an immediate investigation.  The MTA only took action after I was forced to sue under an Article 78 Proceeding to seek, reinstatement, back pay and attorney fees, whereupon the Transit Authority admitted in court that they were not aware of my falsifying any and all documents.   For three solid years, this city agency (and inspector general’s office that is governed by New York State), continue to conceal evidence that could have restored my job, career, pension and retirement benefits, but chose to look the other way, while I had to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending myself in court for charges that never existed, and that were exposed to the MTA Inspector General after an oral argument hearing on May 9, 1991 revealed the deception and cover up.  The Appellate Court Chief Justice Rosenbaum called the actions of the Transit Authority and MTA unconsciounable, and prepared a ‘bench order’ for the Transit Authority to immediately expunge my department and central personnel files from any false and inflammatory information that suggested there was any misconduct committed by me.  The Transit Authority complied in writing on the next day, May 10, 1991, but I never was able to see my personnel files—despite several Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests that were sent by certified mail.  The corruption, cover up and sabotage were never addressed by the Transit Authority, or its parent company, the MTA and its Inspector General’s Office where General Counsel Michael Boxer has always been wholly aware of the dishonesty perpetuated by the MTA.  Whereas Michael Boxer could have recommended immediate reinstatement that could have made me “whole” again, he chose to conclude his own internal report that was three years delinquent by stating that, “Serious questions are raised about Mr. Iritano and record falsification,” which was simply not true, and firmly supported by the Transit Authority’s complete reversal of all misconduct allegations against me during oral argument in Appellate Court, Second Department, on May 9, 1991.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn (whom I contacted in writing in August, 2006), Councilman Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Michael Miller have collectively known about these charges for more than three years.  In fact, my story has been profiled twice, on September 30, 2010 in The Queens Chronicle, and in April, 1998, in The Forum of Queens.  Ms. Quinn’s patronage mill administration has created a hostile environment with me that betrays public service, and Ms. Quinn herself has contradicted the facts and mission of the City Council in the initial letter that she sent to my home address, dated August 31, 2006, where she clearly states that, “The Council is committed to ensuring that the laws and practices of city agencies are fair and just.  This extends to the terms and conditions of employment, termination of employment, and decisions on pensions.”  Clearly, my case of dishonesty, sabotage and official city misconduct fall in line with Mr. Quinn’s written purview.  In fact, Assemblyman Michael Miller wrote a letter to Ms. Quinn in September, 2012 (and I am still waiting to see it, despite multiple requests), supposedly questioning the jurisdiction of the City Council with regard to their failure to demand a completed investigation by the Department of Investigations (that DOI investigators and officials initiated in May, 1993, but failed to complete), and Ms. Quinn’s own role to initiate her own, independent investigation, as her August, 2006 letter clearly states.  When Mr. Miller showed me the reply to his letter to Ms. Quinn, dated December 6, 22012, it yet again contradicts her initial letter to me from six years ago, suggesting that her office cannot help me, despite an incomplete investigation by DOI investigators, intimating that the Transit Authority is a state governed agency (I maintained a CITY pension with New York City Employees’ Retirement System, and the agency that I worked for is the MTA New York City Transit).  Ms. Quinn continues to ignore these firmly established facts, and Mr. Miller still hasn’t sent a rebuttal reply to her office, despite meeting with Mr. Miller on Monday, December 17, 2012, and urging him to respond, with my assisted help in composing an evidentiary letter (with document attachments).  Moreover, Mr. Ulrich’s office has repeatedly refused to meet with me (after an initial meeting that took place at his Ozone Park headquarters, on Monday, October 4, 2010, that followed my profiled story in The Queens Chronicle a few days earlier, on Thursday, Sepbember 30th), and do his job (which is a dereliction of public duty, and a clear violation of the oath of public office that he swore to uphold).  Likewise, Michael Miller is wholly aware of the evidence and Eric Ulrich’s failure to investigate by re-ordering a completed investigation by the New York City Department of Investigations, but won’t take any action of his own to help me reverse this travesty of justice and retaliatory sabotage.  Mr. Miller has accompanied me to Albany, in September, 2010, to meet with former Governor Paterson’s labor relations director, Jeffrey Mann, who squarely blamed this cover up on city government (where I once had a pension with NYCERS, before I was frozen out of the system after five inactive years).  Likewise, Eric Ulrich and his former chief of staff, Bart Haggerty (whose brother John embezzled nearly one million dollars from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reelection campaign (and was convicted last year followed by mandatory prison time that he will be serving this year), continued to blame the State of New York, where the MTA Office of the Inspector General has jurisdiction, (where they continue to ignore the corruption, cover up and evidence (that firmly supports my case) with impugnity.  Hence, the state blames the city; the city blames the state, and I have been left to rot for nearly 24 years, despite solid and indisputable evidence that should have been able to ascribe blame, punishment and official city and state misconduct to the management who conspired to stall, delay and ignore solid evidence that my case wholly supports—based on a body of evidence that has never changed, to my complete advantage of honesty, transparency and full disclosure.

When clear abuses of “Taxation Without Representation” are evident, public service officials like Ulrich and Miller, of whom I am a constituent, refuse to take action and do what they are paid in a position that demands their challenge to authority, and to question, remedy and address any concern of a constituent, where does someone like me turn to for help, action, accountability and a proper, completed investigation?  My employment record has been spotty in an environment of under paid, underemployment ever since this debacle infected my life and destroyed my standards of living, without the security of my earned and deserved pension, health insurance, and independence as my family and me continue to languish in deeper levels of beggary, obscurity, quiet desperation, helplessness, hopelessness and local government anarchy.  I deserve representation from the public servants whose purview includes representation to me as a constituent with a solid cause of action.  My lawyer, Robert Ligansky, proved willful misconduct by the Transit Authority, and failure of the MTA to properly investigate, and when the MTA finally completed their intentionally delayed investigation from April, 1989 to September, 1992, there still was no firm resolve or recommendation for restitution from Michael Boxer and the MTA Inspector General’s Office, where I was a total victim of a corrupt, dishonest, dishonorable  and disloyal bureaucracy—despite a full reversal of all previous allegations against me by the Transit Authority that was revealed in Appellate Court, Second Department, on May 9, 1991, where my lawyer and me personally witnessed their on-the-record testimony and reversal.  I don’t need another lawyer—I need my local representatives to demand a fair, honest, thorough investigation without further delay, and to question both the Transit Authority and MTA Office of the Inspector General’s Office (and Michael Boxer), who don’t seem to be accountable to no one, because they appear to be exalted.

I would greatly appreciate some urgently needed help from Republican Committee Chairperson, Phil Ragusa, City Councilman Dan Halloran and anyone else who can offer reliable help, in lieu of the epic failure, apathy, arrogance and cowardice that have been solidly present throughout my debacle with Eric Ulrich and Michael Miller (and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., and his predecessor, Serfin Maltese).  I can be reached at my home number, 718/835-6948.  My cell telephone number is 917/837-2573.  Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office telephone number in Ozone Park is 718/641-1591; Assembly Michael Miller can be reached at his Woodhaven office at 718/805-0950.  Both representatives have offered nothing beyond neverending stress, anxiety, and a “delay, deny, and hope that you die” bureaucracy.  With so many scandals of corruption that effect and relate to constituents like me who have practically had to beg for proper representation with regard to honest, ethical city and state government leadership, I should not have to lose my pension, present and future because of false, fake and failed leadership—and the very public representatives who have collectively been the obstacle to fair labor practices and treatment, that now overshadow any corruption and misconduct by the Transit Authority and MTA.  The hurdles keep getting bigger for me to jump over, while politicians throw their hands up in the air and feign cluelessness.  I am disgusted, fed up and betrayed by corrupt, dishonest and hostile leadership.  Please respond with urgently needed help.

 

Sincerely,

 

RICHARD C. IRITANO

107-41 107th Street

Ozone Park, New York   11417

917/837-2573 (cell telephone)

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/02/quinn-ulrich-miller-lef-whistleblower-to-rot/

Feb 16 2013

A conversation with Eric Mingott on the GOP Proxy War

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 9.47.09 PM

“If you don’t like the leader you challenge them in an election – you don’t sabotage them.”

Eric Mingott is a proud Republican. He’s a former Marine and presently works as a tax accountant, but his heart is – and forever shall be – in service to the public. Mingott was a hopeful for the 35th Assembly District until his dreams were crushed after John Haggerty knocked him off the ballot, but now (as he’s eying another run for office) he’s looking to the future to rebuild a fractured Republican party.

During his campaign in 2012, Mingott had taken the time to register friends and family with the Republican Party so that they could serve as witnesses to his petitions. “Family, friends, they registered republican because of me — and we’re glad and proud — but the BOE didn’t process them in time,” he said.  Mingott said he collected 260 signatures out of the 185. “We received enough but at the end of the day, but we failed because of the witnesses.”

Then John Haggerty showed up at court.  He was one of the “perps whose hands were in it and exposed themselves to knocking me off the ballot,” said Mingott.  Haggerty, a convicted felon that specialized in the nuances of election law, challenged Mingott’s petitions. But Mingott didn’t have his own election lawyer fearing it would cost too much money and reasoned with himself that, after all, it was a Hispanic coalition and the Future Majority Project (an advocacy organization which helps Hispanics and women win public office) that had put their faith in him and propped up his grassroots campaign. However, he said for the sake of the Party, and for solidarity, he backed off when Haggerty attacked.   “We’d have been in court until after the primary,” he joked at his decision which he regrets everyday. “I am a Marine and Marines never give up.”

His experience is one small battle of a war that has been going on for 30 years. Most recently, insiders consider the illegal appointee just part of a ‘proxy war’ waged by southern Queens rebels Tom Ognibene and Eric Ulrich. However, Mingott does not believe that the ends justify the means.

“If you don’t like the leader you challenge them in an election – you don’t sabotage them,” said Mingott.

But Mingott, who considers himself part of the old school of gentleman politics, believes if “they said they mailed it, then they must have mailed it” and that the public humiliation of either side is ungentlemanly.

“Why would someone in that position lie,” he asked while insisting the matter be handled in-house. “Within the party, our infighting should not be public, which is the best way to go.”

It looks as if it will be a tough battle looming ahead as the Judge’s decision is appealed in court. Although Mingott doesn’t know Michael Michel, he knows Judith Stupp and said she ran the BOE to the best of her abilities. “These are pure party positions where we need good citizens because at the end of the day the American people are the ones that will be hurting. New Yorkers in general getting hurt, the voters are getting hurt — it’s not about sneaking things in at the last minute” he relented.

Mingott believes the proxy war is doing irreparable harm to the Party’s image. “We’re hoping we can move the party into a better position; it’s not about leadership, the party leadership is there…but more and more everyday people don’t want to be republicans because of the mass-media  looking at us as anti-everything. It’s not about leadership it’s about resources.”

In the 35th AD in the East Elmhurst \ Corona section of Queens with incumbent Jeffrion Aubry, the GOP are outnumbered 10 to 1 and trying to get a Republican movement in his district would be a tough undertaking. Despite the odds, Mingott seems undaunted. “People don’t want to hear us because of what the national level republicans are preaching.” Again, Mingott insisted it’s not for lack of leadership. “Our leadership is there we need younger people and fresh faces.  It’s time to focus on elections and reelecting our candidates and finding new ones. The infighting serves no purpose.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2013/02/a-conversation-with-eric-mingott-on-the-gop-proxy-war/

Nov 28 2012

Second Round Of District Lines Are Far Worse Says Civic Group

The WRBA is calling on Crowley and Ulrich to make good on their public commentary to unite Woodhaven into one coterminous City Council District.

Press Release: The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association blasted the New York City Districting Commission’s proposal to split Woodhaven’s representation in the City Council.

The Commission had initially proposed placing nearly all of Woodhaven in a single City Council district.  The WRBA submitted testimony to the Commission lauding this proposal, and even urged tweaks to ensure that a sliver of Woodhaven left outside the district would be incorporated.  Instead of heeding the WRBA’s testimony, the Commission did the very opposite by discarding their original plans for Woodhaven and slicing the neighborhood into three parts spread over two districts.

“The Commission decided to throw Woodhaven under the bus.  It should be embarrassed about how its final proposal treats our community,” said WRBA Director of Communications Alex Blenkinsopp.  ”Now that the final decision is in the hands of the City Council, we want all City Council Members to know that a vote in favor of this gerrymander is a vote against Woodhaven.”

Woodhaven is currently divided between two City Council districts: District 30, represented by Council Member Elizabeth Crowley; and District 32, represented by Council Member Eric Ulrich.  Instead of preserving the current division, the Commission significantly worsened the split by switching large parts of the neighborhood from Crowley to Ulrich and vice versa.  In addition, the final proposal places the far west portion of Woodaven in the same district as the extreme northeast corner, but excludes any residential area in between.

At the WRBA’s Town Hall on September 15, 2012, both Crowley and Ulrich made public statements indicating that the Commission’s original proposal was preferable for Woodhaven.

At that Town Hall, Crowley said the initially proposed lines are “good news for Woodhaven.  It actually puts you all together in one Council district.”  Ulrich said, “I think that Woodhaven, just like I think where I live in Ozone Park, should be in one district.  It should be in one district.  People ought to be able to hold their elected officials accountable.  It ought to be easy for them to know who represents them in the City Council….  I just think that’s the right thing to do.  It’s the fair thing to do.”

Now the WRBA is calling on Ulrich and Crowley to make good on their public statements and to vote in the best interest of their Woodhaven constituents.  The Block Association has written to both Council Members and urged them to vote against the final proposal.  The draft lines will be enacted unless a majority of City Council members vote to send the Commission back to the drawing board.

“We don’t know why the Commission decided to split and scramble Woodhaven’s representation, but we won’t just sit there quietly as the City Council rubber-stamps this awful proposal,” said WRBA President Edward K. Wendell.  ”This is an opportunity for City Council Members — both our current representatives, as well as those who might want Woodhaven’s support in the future — to show whether they actually care about our community.”

The WRBA has been an extremely strong voice for Woodhaven on redistricting matters this year.  In January, it vigorously objected to the gerrymandered State Senate lines that split Woodhaven three ways.  In March, the Block Association opposed the congressional lines that divided Woodhaven into two portions and basically separated Woodhaven from the rest of Queens.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/second-round-of-district-lines-are-far-worse-says-civic-group/

Nov 06 2012

Eric Ulrich concedes to Addabbo?

Eric Ulrich Daily News PhotoIt’s only 2:30 PM and whispers are flying around town that Ulrich has thrown in the towel.

According to a source close to the Ulrich campaign, in light of extremely low turnout in neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the momentum of the campaign and any hope of winning have been completely sapped.

As originally reported on Queens-Politics, Ulrich’s base is missing in action, presumably coping with the damage and cleanup efforts after the storm.

The source described the one term City Councilman as “going fucking nuts right now” in response to the dire circumstances in south Queens.

Polls are open until 9pm and a last minute rush could make the difference.

We cannot confirm nor deny any of this at the moment. Please stay tuned.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/ulrich-concedes-to-addabbo/

Nov 05 2012

Addabbo leads by setting the example

While some candidates were still on the campaign trail, Senator Joseph Addabbo suspended all campaign activity to help his constituents during Hurricane Sandy. Joe was on the front lines giving a hand wherever he could and deserves a round of applause. If you’re on the fence for Election Day we urge you to consider Joe Addabbo for New York State Senate.

(l to r) Lori Martini, Middle Village songwriter, actress and Mets Fan; Frank Kenna, Chief Deputy Queens County Clerk; Forest Hills, Joe Addabbo, NY State Senator, Howard Beach; Edward Wendell, President of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association, Woodhaven.  Frank, Joe and Ed are all Archbishop Molloy High School Graduates, Class of 1982, lending a hand by delivering food, clothing and supplies to hard hit Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/pols-lead-by-example-addabbo-for-queens/

Nov 03 2012

DEMS Respond to call for help in South Queens

Political offices are being used as supply depots and relief centers like the office of Democratic Assemblyman Mike Miller pictured above.

Several Democrats have rolled up their sleeves to pitch in and help with what is being called a war zone in Southern Queens.

Thousands are still without power, food, water, and shelter. The gas shortage is breeding tensions as patience is wearing thin. More and more people seem to be at the breaking point looking for relief. Luckily a few super Democrats have mobilized to volunteer and assist the distressed residents of the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Howard Beach.

“So far the biggest issue was getting food to the people who need it,” said Nick Roloson, President of the Queens County Young Dems. “I just came back from Rockaway and it looks like a war zone. The streets are covered in sand and mud. The air stinks of gas, and no one had food.”

Roloson has mobilized the Young Democrats and recruited friends and other elected officials to help with the disaster response. “We’ve been collecting food from all over Queens and Brooklyn making sure that these people get fed. We had pizzas, cereal, everything. It felt great when you got to see the smiles on the faces of the people who hadn’t eaten in a while.”

Democrat Steve Behar of Bayside drove his truck all the way down to the Rockaways to volunteer with City Councilman (Senator-elect) James Sanders. Together they surveyed the Rockaways helping to cut away trees and meet with people in the district. “We’re trying to get them in tough with the right people to help them,” said Behar who described a makeshift table set up in front of Sander’s office which lost power during the hurricane to help assist people. Power has not yet  been restored.

“My office literally burnt to the ground,” said Lew Simon, a District Leader from  23rd Assembly District and constituent liaison to Senator Shirley Huntley. “There’s a lot of anger and people are looting and fighting over water. It’s a war zone and people are in a total panic,” he said with a sense of exhaustion. Simon traveled to one of the worst hit areas in the Rockaways to volunteer, but said “he couldn’t be much help due to the severity of the situation and went online to assist and help people locate their loved ones.”

As far as other elected officials, many of them have taken to the Internet and social media to help spread the word, for example, posting notifications of the next available dry ice drop, or relief center stocked with donated food and cloths. But some elected officials may have been missing in action. According to Simon, “Well I have not seen or heard from Eric Ulrich, but I did hear from Joe Addabbo and Malcolm Smith.” Simon also alleged, “Eric was in the command center in Manhattan during the entire storm which is unacceptable.”

Many other pols have chipped in. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley sent a truckload of food and Senator Jose Peralta, City Councilman Danny Dromm, and  Assembly members Michael DenDekker and  Francisco Moya were down there with rolled up sleeves lending a hand wherever they could.

Despite the dire circumstances, the disaster is bringing out the best in some people and everyone seems to be putting politics aside to pitch in to help their neighbors, even strangers.

“Hey, I run a political club but as Gov. Christie showed the other day – when people’s lives are in danger you have to rise above it and use your political skill for something greater,” said Roloson.

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Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/11/dems-react-to-disaster-hurricane-sandy/

Oct 30 2012

With Ulrich territory underwater, could Sandy have tipped the balance in Addabbo’s favor?

Breezy Point is absolutely devastated after Hurricane Sandy.

In Albany, state senate dems and republicans are in disarray because the dynamics of South Queens may have been changed due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The Rockaways, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach – these are the neighborhoods that helped elect Councilman Erich Ulrich but with these neighborhoods devastated and partially submerged, insiders are predicting the destruction may physically stop Ulrich’s base from voting on Election day.

Everyone is worried - what’s not on fire is underwater. Questions are being raised by both camps. Who will come back by Tuesday, and if they do will they vote? How will we perform a pull operation? By boat?

The stakes are extremely high and all eyes are on this race because this seat will decide control of the Senate and that’s why so much money has been poured into Ulrich’s and Addabbo’s campaign war chest.

If the battle shifts the fight to the northern section of the district including the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village. Glendale and Forest Hills, Ulrich could be at a major disadvantage as the conservative leaning neighborhoods that support Ulrich are unlikely to be concerned about voting when their homes have been destroyed, according to a source familiar with the situation.

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Update 12:34PM: Crain’s New York Confirms that the homes of Rep. Bob Turner and Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long have burned down.

Permanent link to this article: http://queens-politics.com/2012/10/with-ulrich-territory-underwater-could-sandy-have-tipped-balance-in-addabbos-favor/

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