Nepotism and the Yonkers I.D.A.;
Pending Appointment of Dennis Robertson to the Parks and Recreation Board;
The www.YonkersNY.gov Website; and
Absolving Developer Cotter of $3 Million H.U.D. Loan; in the process, CoY out $22.97 Million.
NEPOTISM AND THE YIDA: The Royal Palace banquet hall dining room that has earned a commendable reputation for itself with a lengthy menu of Punjabi cuisine consisting of Tandoori oven chicken dishes, lamb Vindaloo, and Madras fish curry are replete with the fragrances all Westchester has come to appreciate at their venue in Greenburgh, New York. The owner had months ago purchased and is close to completing the renovation he undertook at the Polish Cultural Center in Yonkers for what promises to be a rejuvenated address for impeccable cuisine and service. The Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (YIDA), was instrumental in inducing the developer / restauranteur / banquet hall owner with a welcoming array of funds and tax incentives to smooth the process for him and to revive the Yonkers Downtown with a vibrancy the City of Yonkers has not been able to regain over many years. So far, all seems on the up and up. But there is a catch.
The Royal Palace is intent on continuing to build its culinary reputation as a banquet hall, as well as a restaurant. The foundation of the restaurant has been earned by serving the Indian community within Westchester County and beyond. The grand ballroom aspects of the former Polish Cultural Center, now under the aegis of the Royal Palace should be a seamless transition except for management being allegedly demanded to employ Loretta Spano, Mayor Mike Spano’s sister. It seems nepotism rules. At issue is if the YIDA inducements are proper when the reader is certain to appreciate that Loretta Spano’s linguistic capacity cannot manage to speak one Indian dialect, of which there are over 400 spoken in modern day India. English, bequeathed since the days of Queen Victoria is an official language, but it is not universally spoken. The majority of Indians who would gravitate to the services to soon be offered by the Royal Palace may find Loretta Spano’s only English language capacity a hurdle and even unwelcome.
Yonkers Tribune has learned that some among the Royal Palace family are not pleased with this outcome. Rumor, still to be proven, assert that former New York State Senator Nick Spano is a part owner of the Royal Palace. There is no way to presently verify this assertion. Then again, Yonkers Tribune, months ago received a telephone call from the former Senator Nick Spano admonishing this investigative reporter that Paul Adler, of Rand Commercial Real Estate, a partner of Nick Spano, was in fact not a partner of Nick Spano. Truth be told, Yonkers Tribune has recently learned that among a few witnesses, who shall remain anonymous, Nick Spano introduced Paul Adler to others as “my partner Paul Adler”. Nick Spano has a legacy of earnest denial that he believes transforms “facts” into “non-facts” by his very utterances. Not any more!
Mayor Mike Spano has employed “family and friends” into Yonkers City Hall. Yonkers Tribune most vehemently suggests YIDA inducements may not legally be a process by which to employ “family and friends”; not now, not ever. City Hall’s conduct is beyond arrogant, though there will be many Yonkersites that will cheer Mayor Mike Spano’s Administration’s testing the boundaries of standards, decorum, and governance.
DENNIS ROBERTSON TO BE APPOINTED TO PARKS BOARD: Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s Administration issued a press release to divulge of the fact that Yonkers Parks, Recreation & Conservation and the Yonkers Historical Society will engage in a tree planting in City Hall on Monday, April 21, 2014, to kick-off Earth Day. No announcement was ever made public in the past, other than the recent, Friday, April 19, 2014, notice by Yonkers Deputy Clerk Mike Ramondelli of the Yonkers City Council’s stated meeting for the Tuesday, April 22, 2014, agenda which gives mention that Mayor Mike Spano’s nominee to fill an opening on the Parks’ Board is former Yonkers City Councilman Dennis Robertson. Robertson served on the Yonkers IDA, and as Yonkers City Councilman representing the 3rd Council District with little notice, other than innuendo of wrongdoing on the YIDA, that has been conveniently forgotten in deference to former Mayor John Spencer who advocated for the Robertson appointment with Mayor Mike Spano, and Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin.
Robertson’s appointment will conveniently push the Yonkers Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board to authorize or continue to deny the conveyance of park land in Trevor Park so as to bring the long stalled proposed development by Ron Shemesh of the Trevor Park – Glenwood Power Station project forward. The project has languished for almost two years time without a word from Shemesh. With Robertson on the Parks Board, park land mitigation will be authorized in the next meeting without a word divulged to the Hudson River Community Association (HRCA), and no proof ever made of Shemesh being sufficiently liquid to go ahead with his plan.
www.YonkersNY.gov WEBSITE: Mayor Mike Spano expressed his pride with respect to the revitalized www.YonkersNY.gov Website when he presented the State of the City Address on April 9, 2014, at the Yonkers Riverfront Library Auditorium. True to form, Mayor Mike Spano did not mention that the Website was created by Vision Internet; more importantly, he did not mention that Vision Internet is now the host of the Website, not the Internet Department, known as M.I.S. In times of dire fiscal concerns, the $55 million “loss”, “shortfall”, “error” still not officially made public, discovers Yonkers City Hall engaged a firm to host the new site. At what cost? Is the taxpayer aware of this frivolous expenditure? The answer is, “No, they are not aware; they have not been advised!” Why? It is the taxpayer’s money! It’s not your money Mayor Mike Spano.
KISSING $22.97 MILLION TAXPAYER FUNDS GOOD BYE: Yonkers Tribune was first to give notice that Joe Cotter was in arrears with respect to paying the $3 million Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan for the I. Park N-Valley Technology Center properties. N-Valley Technology, the former Purdue Frederick Building, situated at 470 Nepperhan Avenue, was resurrected from its heydays at a cost of $21 million years ago. Thereafter,it was talked down with tax write-offs and tax credits for an additional $21 million more. Now it seems Yonkers Corporation Counsel asserts it is no longer propitious to contest the court case against I. Park N-Valley LLC of Greenwich, Connecticut. It seems Cotter, the owner of the I. Park N-Valley LLC firm contests whether the corporation he owns should repay the HUD loan when he asserts the City of Yonkers (CoY) owes him back rent. It would thereby seem logical that $3 million, less the $650,000 in rental arrears he asserts, should still realize a difference benefiting CoY in the sum of $2.35 million, minus the cost of the litigation so far. Mayor Mike Spano is evidently in agreement to let the $2.35 million arrears slide into the history books for non-payment. Hey, it is NOT his money.
Quick study, the $3 million given Cotter / I. Park N-Valley and not paid back, leaves CoY $3 million short. Add to that sum the $3 million out of pocket by Yonkers to satisfy the HUD loan already paid by the Yonkers taxpayer, and CoY is out $6 million. Then add the $650,000 more we have to pay Cotter, et al, and the cost for the litigation, and CoY is out $6.65 plus litigation fees. The former factory that the city spent millions renovating into a failed high-tech business incubator is in foreclosure. Let us not forget the $1.7 million CoY still owes the New York State Power Authority (NYSPA) of what was at one time a total sum of $2.8 million due the NYSPA. CoY’s loss so far adds up to $8.75 million plus litigation fees. But, still there is more, the outstanding principal is $2.9 million, plus $180,933.07 in interest and $42,561.48 in late fees. Grand total: $8.75 million plus litigation fees plus $223,494.55 (interest and late fees to date are not available for the past 2 years. But there is still more. Ridge Hill Development infused $4 million to the National RE/sources of Greenwich operates I.Park N-Valley, as well as I.Park Hudson, operated at 28 Wells Avenue due to losses by the Cotter operations. Let us not forget the $2 million in federal environmental remediation fees. Grand total: $14. 97 million, except that the $4 million from Ridge Hill that went to the Cotter operations was supposed to go to benefit CoY. Since it never did, the Final Grand Total is $22.97 million.
Lest anyone forget, the Cotter / I. Park N-Valley disaster was the brainchild of economic development czar / guru Ed Sheren in conjunction with the then Yonkers Mayor John Spencer.
Perhaps the $22.97 million goes to the Yonkers City Council asserting the borrowing the $45 million permitted by the FY 2014 New York State Budget, will cover this loss and also go toward eviscerating the power of the Yonkers City Council by their complying to be overruled by the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
A special Thank You to all those who assisted in bring this information forward. You know who you are.