Monday, August 11, 2014

RIRA President Jeff Escobar On NY State Inspector General's Roosevelt Island Corruption Report And Possible Hate Crime Incident Against Roosevelt Island Resident

 Image From RIRA

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Jeff Escobar had the following to say regarding the recent NY State Inspector General's (IG) Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC)  corruption report and the possible hate crime incident against a Roosevelt Island Sikh resident now under investigation by the NYPD.

From Mr. Escobar:
Regarding the IG report, please note:

The past administration of then RIOC President Torres, Vice-President Martinez and CFO Chironis was prior to the current RIRA administration, and well before my time as RIRA President. The community thanks the Inspector General for its service and report, and has every confidence that the current RIOC administration will not engage in such practices as identified therein.

As to the Blackwell Park attack:

Roosevelt Island is a diverse community that takes pride in its differences and ability to come together, no matter a neighbor's background. Violence of any sort or form on our Island should never be tolerated, regardless of its basis. News of any attack that occurs on Roosevelt Island is a disturbing one, and we will be asking our RIRA Public Safety Committee to closely monitor and report on the situation.
Still no comment for the RIOC Board of Directors on the IG Roosevelt Island corruption report.

RIRA Island House Common Council member Helen Chirivas added:
The RIOC governance structure is deliberately kept weak by Albany so that Albany leaders can exert maximum control over development decisions. Having a weak structure may suit the Governor and the legislative leaders, when it comes time to making development decisions that may be unpopular with the local populace, but having a such a weak structure also means the potential for corruption is “unlimited:” For every “scandal” that the IG uncovered, there are probably ten more that remain hidden. The RIOC governance structure, as weak as it is, is a recipe for disaster and an invitation to abuse.
I am distressed by this violent attack on a man walking down the street on RI minding his own business – an attack that occurred because of prejudice and hate. He was attacked because he “looked different” or “dressed differently” than those that attacked him. This is prejudice and those that attacked this innocent man must be found and brought to justice for their hateful deed.

We are all brothers and sisters, and cultural differences should be celebrated, not looked upon with suspicion or hate. This is true everywhere, but especially on RI with its large number of residents of all nations employed by the United Nations, an organization dedicated to peace and brotherhood.

(1) I call on RIOC and PSD to immediately disseminate information to the community, perhaps starting with presentations at the school and/or at churches or other community organizations, pointing out that brotherhood is key and dispelling religious, cultural, ethnic, or racial prejudice, which has no place on RI, in NY, or in the US. Despite the monumental and long overdue achievement of electing and re-electing an African American President after approximately 265 years of the existence of the United States, bringing the hope that America had finally entered a “post-racial” age, cultural/ethnic prejudice still unfortunately exists. It is up to us to call for the preservation of our community’s peace and security by requesting that RIOC and PSD immediately implement an education program as outlined above.

(2) PSD needs to allocate officer resources more effectively. If necessary, if there are inadequate number of officers, the NYPD can supplement the presence of officers on the ground. To be the victim of hateful slurs and violently attacked at 8PM – when the sun is in fact still out at this time of year – is unacceptable here, in our community, or anywhere else in the US. Where was PS when this attack occurred? Residents need to be reassured that their reasonable expectation of security on the island is well-founded. Perhaps a Town Hall meeting wherein PSD can describe the measures they take to ensure residents’ security can be held.
It is important to note that no determination has been made by NYPD that a "hate crime" occurred. The incident is being investigated.