Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mayor Carlos Gimenez's PAC: The VERY STRANGE expense and donation. By Geniusofdespair

Photo from New York Magazine 2013 - Why is Carlos Gimenez taking money from these guys?
Let's revisit a Post I did that has been on my mind.  It is really bothering me. You might say do a public records request of the Mayor's calendar. Well, I did a public records request to Jack Osterholt on June 30th at 2:45pm on something else. I have not heard back. I copied the chair so I have proof it was sent. Not a peep back. That is a violation but that is not what I want to talk about today.

There were 2 expenses on Gimenez's known PAC, MIAMI DADE RESIDENTS FIRST, in New York City. One was for a 3 night's (at least) stay in June  or for 3 rooms in the amount of $1,049.78 at the Empire Hotel. The other expense was for a one way cab ride to or from the airport I suppose. No food expenses,  no cab ride back. The PAC posted a donation soon after from the owners of the Empire hotel, Amsterdam Hospitality (Podolsky Family) for $20,000.

There is feuding going on between the Homeless Trust and Cammilus House on housing the Homeless. There is not enough room. They are having the homeless sleep on mats under a porch at Cammilus and The Homeless Trust (Ron Book) is pissed. It is front page news. City of Miami Commissioner Mark Sarnoff and Ron Book are trading barbs. Who is going to offer a solution?

Coincidentally Amsterdam buys run down buildings and with public subsidies houses the homeless. They own about 40 buildings in the New York area bought through shell corporations.  According to New York Magazine:

The Podolskys take pains to keep a deniable arm’s length from the shelter business. It operates behind a firewall of arcane lease arrangements and interrelated holding companies, many of which have been placed in the maiden names of the brothers’ wives, Shirley and Sharon. “It may appear that it’s all in the family,” Satnick says, but he claims the structures reflect both the brothers’ status as “passive owners” and the wives’ interests as independent investors. “Stuart and Jay have much bigger fish to fry than what their wives are doing in their business.” (During a legal dispute over a hotel purchase in 1999, a court-appointed referee found it “credible” that Jay and Stuart were “the real players” in the disputed transaction and that their use of their wives’ maiden names in that instance “was to avoid state/city scrutiny” owing to their felony convictions.)

The Podolskys don’t deal with the city; they lease the shelter buildings to companies run by Alan Lapes, a building contractor who has long worked with them. “These buildings are not owned by Mr. Lapes,” Satnick says. “They are owned by the Podolsky family in one way or another.” But Lapes, a blustery guy, serves as a manager and a lightning rod. Over the years, his facilities have been investigated by the police (over criminal activity by a manager and tenants in a Times Square location the Daily News dubbed the “Hell Hotel”) and cited by the city comptroller’s office for safety violations and bookkeeping irregularities. In a recent e-mail, Lapes called those allegations “old [stories] that are on google and for the most part are not true” and said journalists should “look for the good in all of the hard work that I do to help homeless New Yorkers.”
The city government does not publicize the addresses of shelters, citing the privacy of its homeless “clients.” But a list obtained via a Freedom of Information request suggests the industry is dominated by a handful of competitors. There’s Shimmie Horn, whose father, a notorious slumlord, willed him an empire of hotels. There is a consortium of investors who administer a portfolio of tenement shelters from an unmarked office above a Brooklyn laundromat. Most players operate through shell companies and front men, obscuring their interests, and the Podolskys are particularly secretive. But the evidence suggests the family is among the largest shelter providers, and they are expanding aggressively.

Altogether, public records indicate that the Podolskys own or control close to 40 shelter properties, which house at least 1,300 homeless families, about 11 percent of the city’s total. (Families now make up the vast majority of the homeless population.) A calculation based on city records suggests that the Podolsky-related shelters have generated rents in the range of $90 million since 2010.
Hess, who earns at least $250,000 annually, has since capitalized on city demand for new shelters, boosting the nonprofit’s revenues to $57 million last fiscal year. DHS officials have said there is no conflict of interest in his dealings with the agency he ran for four years.

The Podolsky shelter business has two prongs. There are a dozen or so Manhattan hotels, some of which the Podolskys have owned since the Koch era. Then there is a collection of outer-borough residential buildings that operate as “cluster” sites—basically, apartments rented by the city to house homeless families. The city’s largest shelter cluster encompasses fourteen locations in the Bronx. All but one of the buildings are owned by the Podolskys.

The cluster shelters still typically open under per diem arrangements, providing minimal social services. In a deposition last year, Hess said that the approach circumvents a “rather lengthy and cumbersome procurement process,” allowing the shelter system to expand and contract “like an accordion.” But it’s controversial, because clusters usually operate with scant oversight. In a recent decision, a state judge likened the city policy to “a CIA black op, spending unbudgeted funds without apparent restraint.”

If you want the quotes to make sense, read the entire article but we are dealing here with unsavory business practices and maybe unsavory people. So, my point is, with the homeless housing front and center, why is Mayor Carlos Gimenez dealing with these New York "businessman," homeless housing specialists? Is he going to SAVE the day with his new pals that New York would like to rid themselves of? They are probably already here. Apparently they are good at hiding behind corporations.

2  of the 24 comments from the NEW YORK MAGAZINE article:

Feb 9, 2014

On or about January 16, 2014, HPD JUST DELETED APPROXIMATELY 163 VIOLATIONS against Jay Podolsky's SRO building at 465 Central Park West. In response to a subpoena, HPD provided no documentation that Podolsky performed the necessary repairs to have those 163 violations removed. Even with approximately 163 violations against 465 Central Park West just deleted by HPD, there are still more than 120 outstanding HPD violations against the building and 26 open DOB/ECB violations against the building.

Jul 4, 2014

As there is no public discussion of the neo-liberal economic model that Mayor Bloomberg capitalized on and because even the public airwaves are flooded with MARKETPLACE and PLANET MONEY broadcasting underwritten by entrepreneurial institutes and think tanks while not a single broadcast or newspaper insert is for LABOR, your holiday season old school exercise in muck raking is the exemplary illustration of good journalism I've sent out to all my FACEBOOK and social media obsessed and under-informed friends.

Thank you for giving superb analytical reporter Andrew Rice all the news hole needed to piece together the shell game played by those exploiting the national security problem more commonly known as 'homelessness' and for removing the fig leaf from the 'public servants' like da billionaire mayor who surely didn't lack the business savvy to understand how the problem was being perpetuated rather than remedied. Of course, the roots of the problem lay at the national level. Should Washington DC's beltway machers begin calling homelessness what it is; namely, a national security and public health emergency then we'd see the resources rushed into place like all those aircraft carriers, destroyers and Hercules C-150 airlift jets full of pallets of freshly minted US currency underwritten by the taxpayers that were deployed in March 2003 to Iraq for regime change.

Both of our political parties have to pledge loyalty to Free Market Fundamentalism in order to mount a candidacy as approved by the mass media (whose members must every day prove their loyalty to Free Market Fundamentalism or risk dismissal for lack of underwriting) despite the failure of these neo-liberal economic policy outcomes. Not surprising then that this July 4th the alternative press nationwide has collaborated to present a round-up of our Rogues Gallery of Public Servants. I added a comment to my own local Portland, OR weekly applauding the mirror held up to our ailing US body politic, yet noting that the rogues gallery needs to inhale to accommodate da billionaire mayor dat wuz along wid all his private and public partner enablers of homelessness, not to mention former Brooklyn DA Hynes, the Brooklyn identity politics gang known as the Boyland Family LLC, the internationally funded former U.S. Marine and sweet-talker out on Staten Island the state Rep Grimm and the biggest shanda absent from the alt-press roundup the NY-NJ Port Authority aka Samson-Wildstein LLC and its towering manipulator and siphoner Governor Christie:


Anonymous said...

I read the comments from New York Magazine. The mayor is swimming with the fishes on this one.

Greg said...

I believe the Mayor Should return this donation like he did with Donald Trumps. It is probably more tainted. He might have a big mouth but at least Trump was never a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Why do our politicians think that their sh*t doesn't stink? They all seem to step in it.


Anonymous said...

favoriitism, cronyism, nepotism
hiring and awarding contracts no ethics and it is all out in the open. All the county employees know about this and his wife does it in the school system as well. It is not about qualified candidates. morale is very low. They need to be exposed on a national level. Corruption we need to demand that someone (Gimenez) be accountable and prosecuted. The corruption in Miami Dade County needs to be investigated. Corruption is out of control and getting worse. The Gimenez family is out of control and getting worse with each passing day. Abuse of power. They are operating a criminal enterprise. "Thieves" Expose the truth. The county is violating employee rights and it is escalating.Lies and sleazy excuses. Manipulation of good county employees.

south florida dsa said...

These guys own Design Place in Little Haiti, and are trying to turn it into Eastside Ridge. I think that's your answer as to the why. The big question is if they've also given similar (or greater) amounts to the city commissioners, especially hardemon, whose district the project is in. It's them that will actually have the up or down vote on the SAP (should be within the next 6-8 weeks). As big opponents of the project, we've been trying to look into this ourselves, but the city's online campaign records are incredibly byzantine and difficult to navigate. Idk, maybe you'll have more luck. Obviously, this kind of thing is incredibly easy to obscure/backchannel so...

anyway, look up South Florida DSA on facebook if you wanna get in touch. we're working on this issue right now.