YONKERS, NY – April 24, 2012 – The Yonkers Tribune has learned that a letter dated Friday, April 20, 2012, written on behalf of Yonkers Parking Authority (YPA) Executive Director Lisa Mirjaj and directed to Yonkers Corporation Counsel Edward Dunphy advised him he need not attend the YPA meeting scheduled for Tuesday April 24, 2012. The letter has became the latest attempt by the YPA to scoff at Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s administration. No matter the attempt to thwart attendance by the office of Yonkers Corporation Counsel attending the public meeting, Yonkers 1st Deputy Corporate Counsel Michael Curti and a second associate attended the meeting in defiance at the veiled threat. They were not challenged.
It was in the dead of night during the Christmas season 2011 that Phil Amicone, then mayor, afforded his Chief of Staff a four-year contract valued at over $600,000 plus benefits to a position that was vacant since two years prior to her appointment. When Mayor Spano acceded to office, he appointed present Deputy Mayor Sue Gerry to the five-member Board of Directors when a vacancy on the board revealed itself by a member's retirement. The infighting began in earnest when the Board of Directors asserted that Deputy Mayor Gerry was not qualified to be seated on the board because she did not reside in the City of Yonkers. Yonkers Corporation Counsel differed with that legal interpretation. Even so, Mayor Spano decided to remove his first choice and appointed James Cavanaugh to the seat temporarily held by Deputy Mayor Gerry.
It was presumed that with Mr Cavanaugh on the board and a second member already on the board, said to have leanings toward Mayor Mike Spano, a likely split of loyalty among the board would culminate in issues that would have 3 board members gravitating with loyalty toward former Mayor Amicone's vision and 2 along the lines of the present mayor. The recognition of that fact, coupled with the contentiousness among the past and present administrations kept tightly from the public’s scrutiny caused a resolution to be presented to the Yonkers City Council in which the new York State Legislature was asked to expand the YPA Board of Directors from the present five to an additional 3 or a total of 8. The resolution passed along party lines, that is, 4 Democrats for the resolution, known as a Home Rule Message, and 3 Republicans against. By so doing, if the Home Rule Message is accepted, the members of the board loyal to Mayor Mike Spano, the 2 already on the board, and the additional 3 more Mayor Spano would appoint, a total of 5 leaning with Mayor Spano would eclipse the 3 sitting board of directors that would likely maintain their loyalty to the past mayor. The 5 that would vote with respect to Mayor Mike Spano would easily eclipse the direction favored by the former Mayor Phil Amicone.
The “old” guard has chosen to take on a strong mayor form of government in which they will find themselves supporting a former mayor who will be proven to have been inept, if not corrupt, in managing taxpayer funds; who was engaged in quid pro quo economic development deals that has him presently owning property in Yonkers that he has not divulged; and who has further engaged in not collecting money from developers who are in arrears in returning money borrowed from Yonkers city coffers, for lack of better terms, believing they will nt be uncovered. When all is revealed, Phil Amicone will face the long arm of the law and those that cling in support of his “story” will be ruined by Phil Amicone’s overstepping his “rights” when ihe was in office as the one-time mayor of the City of Yonkers.
The blood was first spilled years ago. It continues to soil Yonkers tapestry with shame. The challenge has been made. Supporters of one side will be asked to show their support; so will the other side. Many will lose their livelihoods and their future prospects. The shame of it all is that Phil Amicone may go unscathed, whereas his supporters will blindly go down in flames in support of a man and a mayor they never knew. It will prove to be their demise and eventual epitaph.