I have some good news regarding the Article 78 that Citizens for a Better Maspeth filed against the City with regard to their use of the Holiday Inn Express. Mendon Plaza, the property owner, is now using information contained in papers filed by our attorneys and the City in order to strengthen their own case against New Ram/Harshad Patel. There is a motion to force the City to release information to the owner being heard this Tuesday. In the meantime, we are awaiting a decision by the judge in our own case. So far, we are heading in the right direction, so keep your fingers crossed!
Received from our friends at Elmhurst United:
On Saturday, June 24, 12:00 noon, Elmhurst United will hold a rally at the Pan Am shelter (79-00 Queens Boulevard, on the Hillyer Street side) to demand that the City not approve Samaritan Daytop Village’s (SDV) application for a new–long term six year contract and to reject their request for millions more in additional funds toward their current contract. Please come and show your support to your fellow NYC United Civics members.
In 2016, SDV received a lucrative multi-million dollar contract with
express stipulations that kitchens would be installed in each unit, a day center would be added and the shelter would operate under NYS Tier II rules and regulations. *None* of these obligations were met. Their repeated excuses for delays have been a common occurrence. The City is spending too much of our hard earned tax dollars on a shelter that benefits no one except the shelter operators and Landlord.
We hope that you can join us on Saturday, June 24.
Christina Chillino from our law firm, Klein-Slowik, appeared in court yesterday in the central motions part. Both sides filed papers but there was no oral argument. The actual judge may order oral argument or may not. We should find out soon.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Holland and Knight, representing KCM Realty, the landowner, communicated that their motion to compel disclosure was adjourned to 7/11/17.
That's all for now. As soon as we know more, we will post the information. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
KCM Realty (Mendon Plaza landlord) filed a discovery motion on May 4th. New Ram Realty (Holiday Inn Express owner) is refusing to turn over documents and KCM is seeking to make them respond. Discovery motions are not substantive motions, which we were hoping would be filed so that we could submit an amicus curaie brief on behalf of KCM, thereby strengthening their case. The motion filed is a request to the Court to get the other parties to do what they are supposed to, to get to the substantive issues. So while the motion is pointing out the shadiness of New Ram, unfortunately, the Court would not accept an amicus brief with regard to these issues.
Related documents are below.
There will be a civic meeting held in Polish and English on May 23rd at 7pm at the Kowalinski Post for residents of Community Board 5 who would like to have their issues resolved. A Polish-speaking police officer will be on hand to answer crime and quality of life questions as well as local civic leaders and translators.
Recently, "The Maspeth Blog" posted that the beer maker Guinness would take over the Coca-Cola factory on 58th Street. We sent this info to a reporter at the Commercial Observer who investigated the claim. His response was, "Guinness' parent company denied that report about a brewery in Maspeth." We shall have to wait and see what actually happens with the 7-acre property, but the report appears to be more along the lines of wishful thinking than fact at this point.
On April 27th, there were 2 events celebrating the completion of the first span of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. CBM Treasurer Tony Nunziato, who has been a member of the Kosciuszko Bridge Steering Committee for 15 years was in attendance at the noon dedication and at the 8:30pm light show. Videos were shot by CBM President Christina Wilkinson.
The article isn't 100% accurate, but it gives you an idea of why the city says it is withholding public documents from our attorneys. We know the real reason why... The hearing has been postponed until the end of May at the request of the city.
Queens residents upset that a local Holiday Inn Express has been transformed into a makeshift homeless shelter are accusing the city of running the motel illegally — and trying to hide the evidence.
Citizens for a Better Maspeth have sued the de Blasio administration demanding information about the 220-person shelter.
The group thinks Dept. of Building plans for the hotel abutting the Long Island Expressway will show codes prohibit people from staying there for over 30 days.
Shelter resident Steven Johnson told The Times last month that he’d been living there for nine months.
“The hotel is being used for an unlawful purpose in violation of its certificate of occupancy,” said their attorney, Daniel Schneider.
When members of the group tried to retrieve the plans from the Queens DOB office last year, they learned that all copies were missing, court papers claim.
A city rep told The Post that the plans could be viewed at the borough office.
Maspeth resident Dawn Scala filed a Freedom of Information request in August seeking demographics for the shelter residents, including employment information, last known addresses, reasons for their homelessness, drug use and length of stay.
“Back in 2014 the city gave similar records [for a Glendale shelter] over with no problem,” said Christina Wilkinson, a member of Citizens for a Better Maspeth.
But last year DHS officials said the information would not be released because it could compromise residents’ safety and invade their privacy.
“The documents requested here are either protected from disclosure or simply do not exist,” a DHS spokesman told The Post.
Wilkinson insists they’re not asking for names or other identifying information.
She added that the 2014 demographic documents identified only four families in the local Maspeth zip code as homeless.
“We’re trying to get data from the city that would show there really isn’t this huge need for a shelter in Maspeth itself,” Wilkinson said.
Mayor de Blasio defended his decision to make the Holiday Inn a shelter last year, citing statistics that closer to 250 people from the area are homeless.
The mayor’s new plan for reducing the city’s 60,000-person homeless population includes keeping people in their neighborhoods.
Maspeth resident Robert Holden said the residents are strangers who are “let loose on a middle class, a working class neighborhood with literally no services” including limited public transportation.
The inn was converted into a shelter last year. The mayor planned to make the conversion permanent but backed down after area residents showed up at the Dept. of Homeless Services Brooklyn home to protest the plan.
While de Blasio has said he wants to eliminate the housing of homeless people in motels—he’s admitted that the new policy won’t take effect until 2023.
A Queens Supreme Court judge is scheduled to hear argument about the issue later this month.
Thank you to CBM Vice President Robert Holden for working so diligently on this issue.