From The New York Shitty Inbox: Tomorrow!

Party in ONE week...will you support our neighborhood? (PS it's

That’s right folks! tomorrow is “NAG’s” (“Neighbors Allied for Good Growth”, formerly known as “Neighbors Allied Against Garbage”) 20th Anniversary gala! As you can clearly read the subject line of the above email inquires:

…will you support our neighborhood…?

Yes, I will… by not attending this event and pointing out the following:

  • I find it interesting that the vast majority of points under “What Does NAG Do?” have, in fact, been done.
  • This would suggest to me that NAG doesn’t really have a clear mission nowadays. They should.
  • And of course I would be remiss if I did not point out that it strikes me as being a mite bit inconsistent for an organization which lauds itself for closing down an illegal waste handling station on Williamsburg’s waterfront to honor folks who were busted— last year— for operating an illegal waste trade business in Greenpoint.

Luna Lighting Inc Denial

But perhaps I am being nit-picky? Sort of makes one wonder what, if any, donations have been tendered to “NAG” from the Argentos lately. Anyone?

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Now I have received this!

$50 tix till midnight! gala fun times

Note how “NAG” has seen fit to excise the photo featured in their precious email. Perhaps it is because some of the people depicted therein objected? In any case, I think I’ll save the $50.00 I do not have to buy beer and/or more snow globe supplies…

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: And Now A Word From NAG

NAG email NYS

New York Shitty Analysis: Apparently getting busted for operating an illegal waste handling station in Greenpoint and lying to the Business Integrity Commission does not preclude one from receiving honors from “Neighbors Allied For Good Growth” (formerly known as Neighbors Against Garbage”).

You can’t make this stuff up, folks…

News From The Snow Globe Factory: VANDALISM!

June 30, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Or: Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

The last few days have been spent sealing snow globes, cleaning and organizing. When I left one snow globe unattended today— in the privacy of my own home— the unthinkable happened.

liberty NYS

It. Was. Vandalized. ONCE AGAIN: VANDALIZED!

We all know that graffiti is a problem in Greenpoint— but with HO scale people? This not only besmirched New York City’s name, but my fair community’s as well.  The Greenpoint Gazette has made this quite clear.  I certainly hope this was not captured on Google street view! I, as a citizen, will not stand for this shit.

BP aaron short BS

So I took a page from Tony Argento’s book and offered a bounty to my fellow citizens so as to apprehend the miscreant responsible. With a twist— and on a much more modest, pragmatic level.

If there’s one thing I have come to understand about “The Argentos” it is this; they are quite “generous” with campaign donations and local charitable organizations. I call this “spreading the fertilizer”. It makes the land “fertile” for whatever BS they plan to do— or have already done. CASE IN POINT:

denail

 

NYC BIS page 5

 

NYC BIS page 6

NYC BIS page 7

NYCBICpage9

But I do not have these kind of resources. So I asked myself:

What creature acts most like a politician/opportunist? Someone willing to say or do anything for the end result— moral scruples be damned— and CHEAP?

NYS

It did not take me long to figure it out: Katz CATS!

  • First I stole a dollar from the Mister’s wallet.
  • Secondly, I “infused” my ill-gotten gains with catnip.
  • Thirdly, so as to kick things off, I placed a little— LITTLE— catnip on the floor. Just enough for a taste. I was playing “benefactor”.

Sure enough, they fought over it.

Then I asked my question and waved a catnip-infused dollar.

This is how “politics” works in Greenpoint (and New York City). You can be a slumlord, operate an illegal waste trade business, get busted for it; owe the Internal Revenue Service over a half a million dollars in tax liens and owe $30,000 in fines to the Department of Buildings on one building alone— but as long as you donate “generously”, you will be a pillar of the community and your complaint about someone vandalizing your property to the extent of $8,000 whole dollars— will be taken seriously. Let’s take the following 94th Precinct Community Council meeting which came to pass in April 2013.

Even if you say “SB”. (Instead of BS— The following video is even better!)

wheres levin NYSNote: the Business Integrity Commission decision of which I included passages was issued the very next month! One has to admire that kind of bald-faced hypocrisy. Which brings me back to the video gracing the beginning of this post. It was shot on August 23, 2012. So, as Mr. Levin was extolling upon what great corporate citizens Gina and Tony are, they were busy operating an illegal waste trade business. In Greenpoint. Among other things. Do the math— and please read this. It is always refreshing  to see a City Councilman allocating money outside his own district. When one receives the largess of the Argentos, it comes with strings attached…

Intermediary Search Result GINA ARGENTO 1

 

strawe donorss page 2

But as you see below, gentle readers, it was money well spent!

EMAILnys

Update, July 1st 2014: Oh, how could I forget something a reporter from Crains recently brought to my attention!?!

lobbyistreport

Hmm…

P.S.: No animals were hurt during the filming of these videos. They just got really, seriously, stoned on catnip.

*Monica Holowacz is either an Office Assistant or owner of this company. Either way, I find it very, VERY difficult to believe she had the funds to make a $4,000 donation to Mr. DeBlasio’s campaign. This of course begs the question as to where this money really came from. Anyone?

Quicklink: And So It Goes…

Anthony argento

It’s cute how “family” sticks together. Please take a moment and point and click your way to Queens Crap for the scoop. Otherwise if you, fellow Greenpointers, are wondering why this is our problem. Well, the following might clarify matters a bit.

lina lighting

You can and should read this in its entirety here. In any case despite being caught operating an illegal waste trade facility handling construction material and six figures worth of tax liens  the Department of Buildings has seen fit to issue Mr. Argento’s curiously named contracting company, Broadway Stages, permits. Nice…

Quicklink: City & State

March 26, 2014 ·
Filed under: Brooklyn, New York City 

Choice quote/teaser:

Another progressive whose TIE fundraising appears to be incongruous with his politics is Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who, like Johnson, was selected as a freshman by his borough colleagues to be a co-leader of their respective delegations. Menchaca ran as a reformist insurgent against Sara Gonzalez, whom he vilified as a tool of “Manhattan millionaire developers” for receiving support from Jobs for New York, the Real Estate Board’s independent expenditure arm. But soon after taking office, Menchaca accepted $1,500 in TIE funding from Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, which is essentially run and funded by the same major property owners who spearheaded Jobs for New York.

Menchaca also took $1,500 from John Ciafone, a Queens lawyer and property owner who was listed on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s Worst Slumlord watchlist in 2011. De Blasio returned two large contributions from Ciafone when it was revealed that he was a donor, but Menchaca is apparently untroubled by or unaware of whom he is accepting from.

John Ciafone’s wife is Gina Argento, the CEO of Broadway Stages, a large television and film production studio and sound stage company in Brooklyn and Queens. Argento and her brother Anthony Argento are prolific contributors to political campaigns, and each gave $1,500 to Menchaca’s TIE committee.
Last year the Argentos applied to have a subsidiary company, Luna Lighting, receive a license to operate as a trade waste business, which would allow the company to cart demolition and construction debris from worksites. As the Argentos have ownership interest in many industrial sites that they would like to repurpose for other commercial uses (for example, the Knockdown Center in Maspeth), owning their own demolition hauling company would provide vertical integration to their business. The city’s Business Integrity Commission issued a harsh denial of the Argentos’ application, citing a history of illegal carting by Luna Lighting, and also misrepresentation by Anthony Argento of his arrest record.

Furthermore, Anthony Argento was shown to have over $1 million in federal tax liens against him, as well as his business. As of April 2013 Argento owed the Internal Revenue Service more than $600,000. This information was all published by the city and is a matter of public record. One imagines that Menchaca or his staff must have done some cursory analysis of who was giving him money. Or perhaps the Argentos have papered the city with enough contributions that their questionable business practices do not raise the eyebrows of even the most progressive elected officials.

Hmm. Some of this sounds strangely familiar? Deja vu, perhaps? Oh wait, i’s because Queens Crap and I have blogged this already!!! In any case this is an interesting read so take a moment and check it out. Perhaps Mr. Barron would be so kind as to direct his attention to the Argentos clan’s shenanigans in other neighborhoods? If he is paying attention, why not ask them about the Greenpoint Boathouse being relocated to 51 Ash Street and the ~$5,000 tax lien which stands on that property presently?

P.S.: A few other details/facts Mr. Barron might find interesting:

  1. Ms. Argento – Ciafone is a member of Community Board 1 Brooklyn. Has been for some time.
  2. Her spouse is a chronic office seeker.
  3. The Argentos financed Mr. Menchaca’s inauguration party.

Go ahead, run a Google search and see for yourself!

From The New York Shitty Inbox: And Now Presenting Our “New & Improved” Boathouse!

February 13, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Per an anonymous tipster this is it! Note the six story excrescence in the background. Click here and especially here and see this post-Modernist atrocity for yourselves. I for one found it interesting/odd that this was supposedly going to be located at Bushwick Inlet and the architect is different than the one listed as filing the plans 12/30/2013. Hmm…

UPDATE, 7:41 pm: A fellow named Will writes:

Your tipster has misled you. The boathouse renderings you posted are ten years old, part of a 2004 design competition focused on Bushwick Inlet.

So there have you. Perhaps those in a position to do so would, at long last, actually reveal the plans for this facility? You know, in the interest of transparency and serving the public?

Quicklinks/From The New York Shitty Inbox: Smoke & Mirrors

February 5, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Gentrification, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

QCSCsomethingstinksMany of you who read this site are undoubtedly aware that my post (dated January 29th, 2014) announcing the new location of the Greenpoint Boathouse (51 Ash Street versus the proposed and approved location at the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center) has precipitated quite a reaction online. Follows are a few of the latest— in chronological order:

Queens Crap’sSomething reeks at Newtown Creek (and it isn’t the water)!” was posted January 30th, 2014.

GWAPP (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning) saw fit to post a tome on January 31st, 2014.

The North Brooklyn Boat Club followed suit in an eerily similar fashion February 1st 2014.

And lastly A Walk in the Park tendered their two cents February 3rd, 2014. This can be read here.

The previous is probably (hopefully) “old news” to many of you, gentle readers— but it makes for an excellent introduction/segue to the content of this post. Read on: you will undoubtedly find it fascinating.

In the elapsing time since I shared the “good news” about this endeavor I have been asking myself a lot of questions. Foremost among them: exactly who comprises “GWAPP” nowadays? Perhaps we should first look at their member organizations? I was advised to do this by a tipster.

He/she wrote:

…In short, there may be 10-12 actual small organizations on that list.

This may very well be the case. But let’s review a few I have highlighted in yellow. FIRST UP: Greenpoint Property Owners Inc. This is their listing per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database.

No registered agent is listed. No worries. That’s when the Department of Buildings comes in handy! Here’s what I found looking up 173 Meserole Avenue:

Christine Holowacz.* Now let’s proceed to the North Brooklyn Boat Club. Here’s their registration per the New York Department of State’s Corporations Database:

Once again, no registered agent is listed. But the address listed was helpful. Thanks ACRIS!

Now we have Dewey Thompson.

And to make three: the North Brooklyn Development Corporation. Here’s their listing per the New York Department of States Corporation’s Database:

As you can see there’s no registered address or agent for this corporation. So the Department of Buildings and ACRIS are not helpful. No worries: I know who the Executive Director is— because he loves to talk to reporters!

Alas, all I can offer (as a lowly blogger) is a handful of comments which (because I demand registration) appear to be authored by the “owner” of the email address for GWAPP: GWAPP (at) aol (dot) org:

The “author” is “RICHM”. Hmm.

Now let’s proceed to the present Board Members of GWAPP. Hang on folks— I am getting to something!

  • We have established that former/non-extant “member organizations” of GWAPP are still listed on their site.
  • Yet new “members” have been added. One example is Jen Aull of the Greenpoint Reformed Church. She is presently on GWAPP’s Board. So it is logical to presume some updating of this site is being conducted.

This brings me to the second tipster email I received. This person (whose anonymity I had to assure so as to get the “low down”) advised me to look at the by laws for GWAPP. They do not offer them on their web site— or much of anything in the way of information after 2005. But being the daughter of an accountant, whose father was also an accountant (it runs in the family), and a little help from a friend, I did find them! One need only look at this tax return, enter the “EIN” (11-3627884) here and hit enter!

Among the allegations this tipster made are:

  1. This person was not aware of what was happening regarding the “Boathouse “Project” until it was brought to his/her attention by a third party. Via my site.
  2. This same person was not advised of GWAPP’s “position”/”involvement” regarding The Greenpoint boathouse. Rather funny given this person is a GWAPP board member.
  3. “GWAPP” has not been compliant with its own by laws. For years. For example, they’re supposed to have quarterly meetings (open to the public) and board members are supposed to be voted upon each and every year. Do any of you, gentle readers, recall this happening? I do not. It is one thing to keep the “hoi polloi” in the dark about one’s activities— but GWAPP’s own board members as well? That’s rather shitty.

NOW let’s look at who is on the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund Community Advisory Committee. The members who have the ability vote for a project to receive Exxon Mobil “settlement” money. Did I mention this “process” is being managed by the North Brooklyn Development Corporation? Well, I just did.

Note Gina Argento is on this panel. She was added last summer:

Other Business. CAP Recruitment. Filip Stabrowski, NBDC, announced the addition of four new CAP members: Gina Argento of Broadway Stages, Heidi Shea Springer of Greenpoint Gardens, Joanna Micek an Independent Consultant, and Ronald VanCooten of LaGuardia College. This brings the total number of voting CAP members to 15.

Don’t take my word for it: read it for yourself,

Now let’s consider a few things. First this. It comes from GWAPP’s very own web site:

So they fight against the processing of waste/garbage— IN GREENPOINT. Then why, may I ask, are they/the North Brooklyn Boat Club (hard to tell the difference) “partnering” with folks who were on the business end of a rather damning decision by the Business Integrity Commission on May 13, 2013? Among BIC’s fascinating findings were:

  1. Luna Stages (which was discerned to be owned by Tony, Gina and Angela Argento— mind you, they did not offer this information freely and openly) was operating as an illegal “trade waste” facility.
  2. Same-said folks owe six figures in Federal tax liens. (It was originally seven.)

So now our “community leaders” are going to entrust state money, the result of an environmental law suit/settlement, to folks who were found guilty by a coalition of agencies

of— ONCE AGAIN—  operating an illegal “trade waste” station— in GREENPOINT.

Am I missing something here?

P.S.: Happy belated birthday, Alice Cooper!

*whose daughter, Monica, apparently owns a company called “Lights on Brooklyn”. At least that was how she represented herself to me:

Campaign finance records and “local intelligence” say otherwise.

How can an office assistant afford a $4,000 campaign donation? “Lights on Brooklyn” wanted exposure. They just got it. For free.

UPDATE, February 8, 2014: Barge Park Pals/Friends of Newtown Creek Barge Park has since been removed as a member of GWAPP’s “member organizations”. Apparently the person “managing” that “blog” learned this through a “blog”. She closed her “acknowledgment” with (and I quote):

Have a good day.

Passive aggressive much?

Quicklink: Oh Boy!

September 30, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11378, Gentrification, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Wow, WTF 

screenshot

Holy MARCH operations, Batman! It would appear Maspeth has a problem on its hands— and that problem is the Knockdown Center which, as Queens Crap notes:

  •  A cabaret license for this type of venue is required. None is on file.
  • The current certificate of occupancy is for a factory, therefore having any event open to the public is illegal.
  • Does anyone really believe that in a building with the capacity to hold 5,000, only 600 people will be served alcohol? And at what type of events? There have been drug busts at “raves” in other area factories that have been converted into clubs.  It seems that “up to 600” has been chosen to avoid having to obtain a cabaret liquor permit from the State Liquor Authority (which is different from the city’s required cabaret license).
  • How would 5,000 people even get to Maspeth? Public transportation is lacking. Where will the parking be when the yard is in use (which is often)? And should people be driving around after they have been drinking at a club all night?
  • This venue would no doubt become a trouble spot for the NYPD. The 104th precinct is already stretched way too thin.
  • There are row houses on the same block as the venue and a residential community sits right across the street. When the club-goers start leaving during the wee hours of the morning, they will cause problems for the residents of the area. Complaints have already been received about noise and crowds at this location.

couplenysDid I mention they are also presently selling liquor already? They are— via Roberta’s no less. Please read this entire tome for yourselves, gentle readers.asswithtoiletpaper It is quite something.

In closing I feel compelled to point out what the Knockdown Center proposes is more than a little similar to Studio B— and we all know how well the ensuing shenanigans (as seen at left and right) went over with the neighbors

Good times!

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: It would appear the matter of the Knockdown Center has been noticed by the New York Daily News. You can read their coverage by clicking here. Choice excerpt/teaser:

…City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), whose district includes other portions of Maspeth, has been the business’s lone champion, saying it will bring much-needed jobs to the community.

“It seems like a good way to revitalize the factory,” said Crowley, who added one of the investors — Gina Argento — also owns Broadway Stages, which employs more than 1,500 people at its Brooklyn site.

“Those are good union jobs,” Crowley said about Broadway Stages. “I have known the owners for a long time. They also do good philanthropic work.”

So why not make this another film facility instead? This would certainly be better than the thirty jobs the Knockdown Center claims it will create if given a liquor license. But there I go using “logic” again…

 

Quicklink: By Their Friends Ye $hall Know Them…

ciafoneeyesore600

Ever wondered who this fellow is? I know I have. This is because I see his mug all over north Brooklyn.

QCscreencapCIAFANOWell, Queens Crap has the low-down. Here’s a teaser:

Astoria attorney John Ciafone is running for City Council District 22 (Astoria) to replace outgoing Peter Vallone, Jr. He has run previously for the council as well as for the assembly… What you may not know is that Ciafone currently appears on Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio’s slumlord list (for a property located in Greenpoint no less — Ed. Note). To his credit, he is on the “most improved” list, having reduced his violations from 195 to 2. He tried to donate to DeBlasio, but it was returned. Local council member/Vito Lopez protege Steve Levin and Queens BP candidates Peter Vallone and Melinda Katz apparently have no qualms about keeping his money, however…

Read it for yourselves here.

NYCCFB

Otherwise, I will leave you with this footage from a campaign event from Christopher Olechowski’s campaign for 50th Assembly District Democratic Party Male Leader. At 0:28 you can see John J. Ciafone, Esquire, himself…

I encourage you all, gentle readers, to give ALL these videos (there are five total) a watch. They’re, um, interesting.

(Image Credit: Ciafone making aluminum siding look good comes courtesy of Queens Crap)

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