The Hezitorial: Rudderless Amicone has Failed to Deliver By Hezi Aris

eHezi Archives 44 Comments



   Phil Amicone came
onto the political scene 12 1/2 years ago. The first eight years began when Phil
Amicone took on the daily responsibilities as Deputy Mayor of the City of Yonkers.
When his mentor, John Spencer was term limited, Amicone was considered for
higher office. Only within months of Election Day 2004 did he garner the final
nod that would catapult him to Mayor of the City of Yonkers.
The deed was done prior to even the first ballot being cast.

How dare anyone
conjecture to imagine such a thought? Easy. When Lorraine Lopez, present
Special Assistant to the Mayor, functioning out of the office of Constituent
Services, then and now, said that she was in the process of purchasing her
house, the tea leaves did not need to be read. Imagine, a person who rarely
earned a consistent paycheck, taking on the responsibility of a mortgage with
two young teen children in tow. Lopez was on the stump of the Amicone campaign
trail before the ink of her signature on that deed was dry. Ms Lopez is a
survivor; she may flirt with risk, but only within limits. She was told it
would all work out all right. Months later, her “purchase” was prudent, Phil
Amicone had become mayor.

   Phil Amicone had a
good image among Yonkersites, most importantly, he was almost a native, just
shy by two years; he seemed apolitical, his presumed adeptness as deputy mayor bode
well for him, his “can-do” attitude would also do him well to accede to the top
job in the city. No matter his “abilities,” Amicone was incapable of wrestling
the reins of power from his predecessor, former Mayor John Spencer. It would
take two years and ribbing and cajoling by this medium and others to have him come
to own his position as mayor. Despite his somewhat positive image outside the
borders of Yonkers, anchored by the
employment line and perks he doled over in Yonkers,
he ruled the roost. Still Yonkers
was in disarray.

   Some suspected and
others were privy to the backroom shenanigans that brought Phil Amicone to
greater political prominence. Riding the wave of assurance he was given by the
king makers, Amicone would strut about the city promising an embellished
economic development vision. He would bring order to Yonkers.
He would consolidate services that overlap between the Yonkers Board of
Education (BoE) and City Hall, he would focus on repairing roads and fixing
potholes, he would hold the line on spending, rein in the unions, and most of
all, get our fair share of revenue from Albany
for our school children. He has failed on every count.

   Only reluctantly
does he speak of the debacle that petrified all financial markets; and then,
only in hushed tones, lest the mention of it may unsettle the “momentum” to
push the SFC Yonkers project forward. He has
commandeered the ability of the Yonkers City Council to scrutinize the LDA
(land disposition agreement), having it delivered to the council only this past
Friday. It is a propitious time for the study of a document of such magnitude.
Does anyone remember that Sunday is Mother’s Day? Happy Mother’s Day one and

   Approval of the
document must be completed. There is no time to tarry, the budget looms ahead.
It must be approved by the end of the month. Not much time for study, much less
the ability to discern or scrutinize any of the “facts” in time to meet the
deadlines City Hall has set.  Enabling
the process is Yonkers City Council President Chuck Lesnick who has allowed
himself and thereby the rest of the City Council by his permitting his name to
be besmirched by the Mayor’s spin machine. The two most powerful positions in
the city upon which not even one leader may be found worthy of sitting as they
strut about believing one superior to the other without concern for us common folk.

   Yes, Yonkersites
laugh, derisive jeers are even heard beyond our borders, and it would be
laughable but for the pain it will exact, not for this moment alone, but for
years hence, as much as a generation beyond this time.

  City Hall and the
Yonkers City Council President and the SFC
development troika advise that they have conducted with due diligence the study
for development of the Chicken Island property, adjacent, and ancillary
properties for which the name SFC Yonkers Inc
is the first of many future parcels. They have crossed the t’s and dotted the
i’s. What they have not done is verified the financial ability of the
individual partners to carry the project forward. The Yonkers Tribune has
questioned the financial viability of some, though not all the subsidiaries and
aspects of Cappelli Enterprises. Rather than admit to some issues, Mr. Apicelli
shrugs off the mention of it as if it can be dismissed. His arrogance is not as
flagrant in the Catskills where the development “schemes” are being questioned
for ever being able to come about. Yet in Yonkers,
Apicella walks about like he owns this city. Perhaps he does. How much has he
amassed for this administration and its friends in campaign money? Does it
matter? No one pays attentions to these things. They say you can’t fight City
Hall. They still refuse to reduce the car fleet? That’s because they can keep
it that way; they want it that way, and you can’t do anything about it. So
there; you are right, you can’t fight City Hall.

   While Yonkers
awaits a remedy to its financial burden by the promise of economic development
relieving the homeowner’s burden, City Hall and the developer have retreated
from the original vision. What was a $3.1 billion project is now $500 million,
of which $300 million is taxpayer subsidy. On top of that, $4.2 million was
needed to be borrowed by two of the developers in order to pay back Yonkers
what they owed Yonkers. They did so
by personally guaranteeing the loan with their respective signature.

   Cappelli has
botched up an upstate project already. The most recent hurdle demands he raise
$1 billion for the Concord Hotel project. He had to borrow $4.2 million from Yonkers
to pay back Yonkers for what they
owed Yonkers. Does anyone believe
he can raise $1 billion? The Bank of Scotland, nationalized in Great
Britain months ago is one of the lead banks
that funded Cappelli’s past development projects. Their underwriting projects
outside Great Britain
have been curtailed 80 percent. Apicelli mentioned that he learned about this “new”
situation about four weeks ago. It was plastered all over the Financial Times a
half-a-year ago. A subscription to the Financial Times is not cheap, about $250
a year. If Mr. Apicella can barely keep up with what is pertinent to his boss’
survival, how can he be entrusted to be the project manager over the SFC
Yonkers Inc development?

Yonkers was promised to begin the moment of receiving approval. SFC
Yonkers, likely to receive approval by the stymied, “what should I do?” Yonkers
City Council, has not shown itself to have the means to underwrite this project
“immediately.” Does “immediately conjure the prospect of waiting 3 or 5 years
from now? Perhaps in George Orwell’s double-speak, but not in the Queen’s
English, or even among colloquial circles. It may be worth contemplating
whether it is worth waiting 3 or 5 years time for that first shovel to hit the

   The whining,
whinging, and histrionics of Mr Apicella about leaving if he didn’t get his way
is simply a Hollywood script worthy of a “grade b” Oscar. There is so much
money to be made by everyone connected with this project it is unfathomable.
The big guns are out. Former New
York State Senator
Nick Spano is lobbying for the project to be approved; his task is to get
federal stimulus funds out of Albany.
He wants that opportunity. If he fails, he gets paid, If he fails, SFC
Yonkers will commiserate amongst themselves years hence; if he fails,
Yonkersites will continue to pay , pay, pay.

   Until called to
task, Louis Cappelli would rather speak to the Yonkers City Council by
cellphone. The concept of “Chuck the _ _ uck” holding his cellphone to the
microphone for a half hour while Cappelli begged the City Council telephonically
to move the project to  the “finish line”
is embarrassing enough. Perhaps it is a good sound bite for media outlets. It
would take a mention in print and radio by this reporter to question whether
Cappelli is interested in the project for the dapper developer to physically
enter the City Council Chambers the following week.

   Instead of living
up to the facts and figures that underwrite Yonkers being worthy of investment
and development for its very attributes; location, diversity, location,
density, location, City Hall continues to be incapable of owning up to the
facts, choosing instead to bypass sending out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for
potential developers. Provincially inclined, City Hall is comfortable choosing
only those they know, can control, or best of all, both. In times such as
these, even as far back as three years ago, it would have been proper to send
out an international RFP for those interested in development in Yonkers. Even
in today’s precarious climate, if an RFP were sent out today throughout the
globe, you can be assured a developer with money in hand, or the commensurate
bank to fund such a project is ready to go at it now, today; not three years
from now. The developer may not be from Yonkers.
Does that matter? It shouldn’t. Money on this side of the Atlantic
is green, and if someone should arrive with anything resembling money in another
color, there are banks even in America
who would be pleased to exchange that currency for greenbacks. Where do these
developers reside? Easy. They reside in China,
in India, in Australia,
in the Middle East, in Brazil.
Some even reside in America; and
they are credit worthy of such an undertaking. Some are not. Witness the difficulties Forest City

Ratner is having in attempting to develop Ridge Hill. Bruce Ratner's company was once a
$10 billion NYSE listed corporation. Forest City is many times the size of SFC Yonkers Inc.

   Answer one question
to ascertain if this project is worth approving. Have any of the previous
projects, those that have come to be within the last 12 ½ years under Phil
Amicone contributed to lightening the burden of the taxpaying homeowner in Yonkers?

   Is there anyone in Yonkers
who can be trusted to do the people’s business?

   Mr Amicone has not
kept his promise. He is now a lame duck. He has squandered any opportunity to
imprint a legacy of worth onto the City of Yonkers.
Pity Yonkers, Shame on him.

   The reality is that
despite Mr Amicone’s incredible weakness as a leader, the so-called “loyal
opposition” has been incredibly weaker, being deeply divided by politics and
personalities, and whose ineptitude is driven by their personal arrogance in
believing that they will know better given an opportunity for higher elected
office or the one upon which they sit. Few rose before with the knowledge and
lucidity they know well to challenge the dysfunction of governance in Yonkers.
Perhaps an epiphany is before some or most of them now. The time to speak is
welcome; the vote is obligatory and revealing. At issue will be whether the
words will seal the vote with honest appraisal or if the  tongues be forked as likely orchestrated  

   `If one is to
believe the chatter, Michael Spano is the future anointed Mayor of Yonkers. Now
you know. That’s the whole story.

   It’s time to take
that vote now. Do I hear a second?

eHeziThe Hezitorial: Rudderless Amicone has Failed to Deliver By Hezi Aris

Comments 44

  1. Where’s the BID and Sansone in all this? The office almost looks boarded up. Talk about keeping a low profile? It’s so low it’s subterranean.

  2. I thinkthe city is glad the businesses went down the drain. This way they can detail more cops elsewhere. Not much left to protect downtown except for the sharing community

  3. then why r u asking ‘this hit stinks?’ if you already heard something…
    doesnt matter – the waterfront died with the rest of the businesses that Amicone helped close down…
    Supposedly Peter Kelly hates being down there at this point and doesnt want to re-new his lease.
    May be Amicone and his crew can open a place and actually see what happens on the waterfron – since they seem to be experts and know it all…
    Peterson can bartend.
    White Plains anyone?

  4. Thats Probably true, 1 rumor I heard is that Jimmy from Jimmy Bronx cafe is interested in the old Pierview space. That will be Great for the area. A known scumbag/drug dealer bar owner to take over and serve drinks to well know scumbags from cityhall who will look for free drinks anyway. It a match made in yonkers!

  5. i heard that hudson parks landlords are doing anything they can to kick out the whiskey guys. i lived there at 1 point. the landlords are clueless and rents are way too pricey. only thing worth being down there for was pierview and whiskey rio.

  6. Anon E. Mous-So are you saying that he has done as he sais he was going to? Exactly which part of the following has been been done?
    “He would consolidate services that overlap between the Yonkers Board of Education (BoE) and City Hall, he would focus on repairing roads and fixing potholes, he would hold the line on spending, rein in the unions, and most of all, get our fair share of revenue from Albany for our school children.”

  7. Problem is that this project has too much momentum to stop now. It should be halted in its tracks since it makes no sense any longer to build a baseball field???
    If the Yankees are sturggling to fill their stadium & dropping ticket prices then what the hell would a Yonkers baseball team have going for it? What would we name this team…just wondering? Yonkers Con-artist?
    The Aristocrats? Anyone?
    If they change the plan an Ioda, they know it means they admit defeat. So instead let plunge the city head first off the palisades into a burning heap of missery & non senseical building.
    SFC is a place holder trying to keep its image in tact for when/if the housing markets improve. Until they show us the money then why believe a word of any of this. Approval don’t mean building & building doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good thing for Yonkers right now. However…downtown is such a gross mess of delapitated ruins if they build anything it will be an improvement.
    How bout some park land! green spaces & Trees…Easy enough to do without breaking the bank/taxpayers wallets but who’s listening

  8. truthbetold, you couldn’t be more on target.
    In addition, the best thing Amicone can do now is cut staff, cars, etc….and not raise our taxes.
    I know it won’t happen…but at least, he would show something.

  9. ooohhhh… E. Mous you must be so well read…
    who speaks like that anyway fool?
    Get back to work! the second Fl. needs its floors scrubbed…scrub.
    We should get you on Ch. 12’s THE CHALLENGE.
    You may actually out smart the HS kids.
    TOOL! haha

  10. PS – this Mayor has no idea what he has coming to him… hahaha
    I’d love to see one of his co-horts actually make a run for Mayor…
    Ch. 12 would turn into Comedy central…
    Yonkers needs a laugh!

  11. Truth be told. Excellent. Well said.
    About Amicone’s crew…
    Who are these people and where did they come from anyway?
    Hartnett? Yonkers guy?? NO. Why was he hired?
    FLEMming? Yonkers guy?? NO. Why was he hired and for what reason?
    Peterson? Yonkers Drunk? Yes.
    Regan? Yonkers Dope? Yes.
    and…PINTO… hahaha assh@ole… YES.

  12. This editorial is almost hysterical. It sounds just like a McLaughlin rant.
    About the only thing in this diatribe that can’t be disputed is the small part about the city cars. The rest is bovine bloviating.

  13. And the corrupt Journal News and others still refuse to tell the story that Ridge Hill is DOA…but Phil says otherwise.

  14. HERE HERE … and its not going to get any better. Lets see how Phil handles his own debacle.
    National Lampoons City Hall.

  15. Amicone is a disaster. This is guys is as much a Mayor as his B.I.D. rangers who clean the streets. At least they make a difference.
    Phil, you blew it. Keep trying to save face on your stupid Ch. 78 show with your “read off the cards” press secretary. SIDE NOTE: again – hire someone who actually can work the press and not be worked by the press. The guy looks like he’s going to cry everytime he’s asked a question? Confidence anyone?
    The Businesses ON THE WATERFRONT -Johnny Friendly – Were never waiting for construction workers to save them! They were/are (whatevers left) waiting for a neighborhood you promised, with people, owners – not transient residents, normal landlords, other shops and cafe’s and restaurants LIKE YOUR COUSIN AND HEAD OF WATERFRONT DEV. LIAR JIM PINTO PREACHED TO EVERYONE… a Marina so boats can “Dock and Dine” sound familiar idiot… it does to everyone else who visited the now desolate waterfront…
    You are a bum, a cheat, a fake and phony, a little scared cowardly individual with 2 years left before you walk away with your “tale” between your legs… John Spencer did us wrong by supporting you for Mayor. But I guess he didn’t know you were going to turn out to be Brutus… Spencers still trying to yank that dagger out of his back.
    Stop all your BS and stop talking for the businesses that you helped destroy… you suck, your crew sucks, your corrupt, full of sh@t and washed up! Just get your ass to work and do something that at least helps this city instead of having your $300 lunches on the city’s dime at X20 … Try brown bagging it for a day – you may actually get some work done.
    Do your best to just stay out of the public and stop making everyone sick to their stomache by having to listen or see your BS. The only person your fooling is yourself and your small crew of disciples that depend on your mayoralship to feed their bad habits.
    And the best part is – how – yes… word on the street is MIKE SPANO! I Hope so!!! and not Bill Regan??? wonder why? True test of this administrations courage is if they actually have someone that wants to run for Mayor… what’s up BIll? got any balls?
    Thanks Phil. Lets just hope your comb-over is not left hanging when you leave Yonkers…Mayor Ammizelleski.

  16. Phil Amicone was handed the office of Mayor 6 years ago. For better or worse Spencer had set up an organization that not terribly strong was good enough to beat the pick of the litter Mike Spano.
    I’ve learned in politics that unless you really work for it your heart is really not into being an elected offical.
    Too bad all Phil has to look forward to is his $100k pension and the guy who let the Spano’s get away.

  17. FOIL yourself, if your so interested, otherwise stay fed up. Typical yonkeriste always looking for someone else to do the dirty work.

  18. Hezi is a lot smarter than hooking up wt Liam. He obviously has no love for Amicone but most of the posters here are in the same place. The last thing this city needs is Liam at the helm next year.

  19. Liam’s definately got Hezi’s ear. He’s spinning him in circles with his political spin.
    I heard that Liam’s is also telling people that Hezi told him this, and Hezi told him that.
    Watch it Hezi. You’re out of your league with this guy. He’s a pathelogical liar.

  20. Looks like McLaughlin has co-opted Hezi. Never thought I would see the day when Liam was writing Hezi’s Hezitorials.

  21. RIP Yonkers, when our elected officials send us to bankruptcy again, I will me yeee.
    ps. love the “king makers” line.

  22. RIP Yonkers, when our elected officials send us to bankruptcy again, I will me yeee.
    ps. love the “king makers” line.

  23. RIP Yonkers, when our elected officials send us to bankruptcy again, I will me yeee.
    ps. love the “king makers” line.

  24. The following quote is one of the many mistakes in the Hezitorial, “The Journal News learned that 800 such students have been getting an education at the cost of almost $20,000 per student on the Yonkers taxpayer’s back.” There were 800 students in Mt. Vernon. 36 in Yonkers. One has to wonder why given the choice of sneaking into a school district one would pick Mt. Vernon, but they must have been more lax than Yonkers.
    You are correct. I made a mistake. I made the error in transposing numbers. After your comment,I recognized it and deleted the error. Thanks for pointing it out. Hezi

  25. I for one would like to see the paper work on the personalized guarantee from the developer, Can it be F.O.I.Led ????? If so someone should do it first thing Monday??

  26. He’s on the good ship lollypop,
    It’s a swee-ee-eet trip to a taxpayers pocket
    Where the GOP play
    On the money bitch of Hudson Bay

  27. Very cogent article Hezi. One of the biggest problems from the get go is that Amicone is a lousey salesman. I don’t think he could sell Imelda Marcos a pair of shoes The man has no people skills along with a very arrogant demeanor. Lesnick is just dreaming about Nita Lowey retiring and him replacing her.

  28. I guess his ship went aground at the Yonkers pier.Maybe he’ll have scrambled eggs at O2 with Kelly. He could be mistake for a somalian pirate as he gets the homeowners. All he needs is a patch over his eye and a nice hat.
    Not to worry, his rudder has become a paddle to beat the taxpayers over the head each year as he pillages the city land for developers.

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