Saturday, November 11, 2023

Veterans Day 2023, Thank You To All Members Of The United States Military For Your Service And To Our Local Roosevelt Island Veterans Too

November 11 is Veterans Day.

According to

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as "the Great War." Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars...

This year, Roosevelt Island resident and US Army Veteran Stephen Delorenzo was honored

with his selection to the 2023 NY State Senate Veterans Hall Of Fame by Roosevelt Island's NY State Senator Liz Krueger

According to Ms Krueger:

Here's Mr Delorenzo's bio:

Raised in the Bronx in a loving family and the eldest of four siblings, Stephen Delorenzo proudly served as private in the United States Army. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, where he was a champion wrestler, and then bouncing around doing a number of different jobs he realized weren’t leading anywhere, Stephen enlisted in the United States Army.

Stephen credits his service in the military with teaching him discipline, how to get the “job done” and, simply, growing up. He began his service at Fort Dix in New Jersey and then moved on to Fort Benning, Georgia for advanced infantry training. His home base was Fort Ord California, where he was a member of the second Battalion 31st Infantry Trolley Company. Stephen was also a member of the Headquarters Company and spent time in Alaska for winterized training, in Panama for jungle training and in the Mojave Desert for desert training. Stephen greatly values his military experience and the role it played in shaping his life.

After his time in the military, Stephen moved back to NYC, where he founded his own small moving and delivery business, which he continues to operate.  He returned to wresting (and participated at least one national championship) and his lifelong love for dance, theater, and music. He is a proud alum of Ballet Hispanico and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and has participated in dance and theater performances throughout his life.  Stephen has made important contributions to our community through his professional and volunteer activities for decades.  He has been delivering meals for NYC Citymeals on Wheels through DOROT for over 40 years, and was honored by NY1 as their “New Yorker of the Week” for his work bringing food, conversation, and social connection to countless homebound older New Yorkers. Stephen shared his passion for wresting with young people for decades as a volunteer coach at the Westside YMCA, which recognized him as a “Volunteer of the Year.” He also has been an active supporter of Theatre for the New City where he’s volunteered in many capacities. 

Stephen lives on Roosevelt Island with his “amazing” wife, Farisha. Stephen is extremely honored to be recognized as a veteran.  


In 2018 a standing room only ceremony was held on Veterans Day to thank   

and honor

local Roosevelt Island residents who were veterans.  

And some Larry David Curb Your Enthusiasm Veterans Day Humor.

Friday, November 10, 2023

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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Roosevelt Island Duane Reade Vandalized This Afternoon, Merchandise Display Cases Knocked Over By Person Shoplifting

A Roosevelt Island Tipster reported this afternoon:

I got to Duane Reade at about 2:40 PM today and a man had apparently been trying to shoplift, got angry when confronted and knocked over displays.

Another resident reported Duane Reade temporarily closed to clean up.

According to store employees, nobody was injured and the shoplifter is a repeat offender known to them. The store reopened a short while later.

I asked Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Chief Kevin Brown:

I understand that Duane Reade was vandalized today and forced to shut down.

I'm told that a shoplifter got angry when he was confronted and started to vandalize and knock down rows of display items.

Any comment from RIOC on this subject of great concern to the Roosevelt Island community?

No response from Chief Brown.

During the September 19, 2023 Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Community Engagement Meeting, Chief Brown discussed the Roosevelt Island Duane Reade shoplifting problem.

According to Chief Brown:

... Duane Reade/Walgreens, we have a number of Petit Larcenys in that location ... we have people who are going in the store and being disruptive to the way we want go about our way of life on Roosevelt Island and that's something we're working with Walgreens, working with Public Safety. I  have a foot posting in that area. When things happen down there, we're right on top of it... ...  Working with Walgreens, I was told they would not hire a full time security guard unless one of their people are injured or hurt ....

NYC Mayor Eric Adams yesterday announced the launching of a task force to combat retail theft.

NY Post Reports On Wild, Swinging Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin, Overcrowding And Long Lines, Does RIOC Keep Metrics On These Incidents? Line Monitors And Dynamic Pricing Suggested As Possible Ideas To Consider

Reported repeatedly over the last couple of months: 

Roosevelt Island Tram Cabin Swinging Wildly While Suspended In Air Again Today, "Everyone Super Scared" Reports Resident - NYC Council Member Julie Menin Asks RIOC President To Review Incidents, RIOC President Replies "No Imminent Threat To The Health And Safety Of Our Passengers"
Last evening at about 6:30 PM, the Roosevelt Island Tram again began rocking and rolling on it's way back from Manhattan as it was nearing the Roosevelt Island station.

According to an observer:

I'm seeing another swinger.

Another person noted:

This can traumatize people. If this happened to me, I would get really bad anxiety.

The NY Post picked up the story yesterday about the swinging Roosevelt Island Tram, overcrowded cabins and long lines.

According to the NY Post article:

... Residents of enclave are getting fed up.

“Transit as a whole is a huge issue on the island right now and the swaying is a huge part of it,” Community Board 8 member Paul Krikler told The Post....

As reported October 25, responding to NYC Council Member Julie Menin's letter inquiring about the swinging tram cabins, Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes answered:

... The POMA Management team stated, “This tram undergoes very frequent inspections by the state to ensure code compliance, as well as many third-party inspections to ensure the highest of passenger safety. The Roosevelt Island Tramway has an excellent track record with most months reporting a 100% availability record, with overall availability at over 99.93% since the 2010 replacement. No injuries have been reported as a result of a tram malfunction to date. We take pride in this amazing machine and can assure you that the tram responded appropriately.”

Additionally, POMA informed RIOC that the issues you mentioned relate to a communications system message that can appear randomly and requires an employee to confirm the message. When this message appears and awaits acknowledgment from an employee, the Tram will stop, causing it to sway if it is already in operation.

They have emphasized that there is no imminent threat to the health and safety of our passengers. We are actively working with POMA, to address the communication systems messaging issue. Once it is resolved, we will send out an update to the public.

We would like to reemphasize that the Roosevelt Island Tram is a safe and functional mode of transportation...

On October 26, I asked Mr Haynes:

... It appears that the Tram stopping and swinging in mid air is happening much more than in the past.

Why is that?

Does RIOC keep metrics on how often this happens and has there been a recent increase in occurrences?

If you do have metrics, please send them over so I can include them in the story.

If you don't keep metrics, why not?...

No response from Mr Haynes.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares this message sent to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes and RIOC Board Directors following the October 19 Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island committee meeting discussion of transportation issues.

After listening to our neighbors discuss the tram crowding tonight, here are my thoughts:

Line monitors are a great idea. We use it at elections where they keep order in the line and let seniors/disabled go ahead. Someone in a bright vest can be an obvious choice. It can be a diplomatic, pleasant, patient person who can gently keep order.

Poma staff are better at customer service and putting up signs is only part of their job. Give them funding to have more staff on hand to deal with the turnstiles. It is exhausting to spend a shift dealing with unruly crowds. Let's keep order on-line, before the turnstiles, and a limit on 100 persons on the platform.

PSD can be at the base of the staircase to prevent staircase lines.

The tram is being denied staffing, security and customer service. RIOC should let the tram staff manage the platform and fund extra staffing.

We need large obvious signs that seats are for senior disabled only. Signs above seats on cabins and above bench on Manhattan platform.

We love our visitors most of whom tell us how great the island is. Take a look at any of the attractions below and we know that there is organization at these attractions.

Remember, many of them stand on long organized lines for the following.







Let's get our act together and get a calm organized tram ride.

I asked Ms Berdy, Mr Haynes and the RIOC Board Directors:

Perhaps Rioc/Poma can formulate a dynamic price charging system for those using the Tram as a tourist/amusement attraction with prices closer to the Empire State Building and the other attractions ($34-42) while keeping the MTA’s $2.90 commuter fare for those using the Tram for transportation purposes. At least study the concept to see if it is possible to implement?

RIOC Board Director Ben Fhala replied:

You both have fantastic ideas. I find it odd to stuff 100+ people on a car, and it's questionable whether tourists would enjoy that experience.

From my brief introduction to RIOC, government processes move slowly, and RIOC can be even slower, especially when they disagree with board members and actively obstruct them. However, I lack the complete legal perspective, and I believe this should be discussed in a committee as an open conversation involving the public and our legal team.

With an advertising background, I understand that to promote a product like the Tram effectively, we need to define its main mission and target users, potentially tailoring packages for different user groups (while complying to all contracts and laws). I value tourists and believe the island can benefit more from their visits.

I've been advocating for a public/private venture where the tram ride becomes part of a package tour in collaboration with non-profits such as the historical society and local businesses. The details are complex due to legal requirements and as such I've waited for a more engaged executive/board and after the subway work completes as this seems like a possible longer-term solution.

I appreciate your innovative ideas, such as offering dedicated sightseeing rides with limited capacity, premium pricing, and local adventure elements. However, until committee work resumes and there's more engagement with the executive staff and board leadership, it's challenging to make progress or provide further feedback.

I genuinely appreciate your thoughtful and innovative ideas and hope we can have an honest conversation about them with the team in the near future.

PS I've added our legal team for their awareness, as this isn't an item the communications department can address without their guidance.


Ben Fhala*

Resident Board Member

*Disclaimer: All statements made by Ben Fhala are made in his capacity as a RIOC Resident Board member. He does not represent the entirety of RIOC or the full board but serves as a Resident Board member, offering information to the community and its stakeholders.

A Roosevelt Island resident who prefers to not be named shares these thought on the Tram:

A thought from a 40-year resident, former Tram champion / advocate, who is presently not just afraid to take the Tram for cable/tower safety reasons which RIOC seems unconcerned about — but also afraid, for a year now, of the ridiculous overcrowding of cabins to accommodate tourists & visitors and the total disrespect for the RI resident & employee community for who the Tram is still their Public Transit & not an amusement park ride...

... Will it take another emergency stop w severe swinging where someone falls & ends up with a head injury — or worse, though it’s hard to imagine something worse — in mid-air.

At what point are RIOC & POMA liable for negligence?

UPDATE 7:00 PM: Roosevelt Island humorist Weird Roosevelt Island adds:

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Roosevelt Island Resident Says It's "Insane" RIOC Board Members "Not Privy To Operational Matters", Asks How Can We Fix "Beyond Broken" RIOC? - Petition Drive By Residents Demands A Functioning & Competent RIOC

On November 2, recently appointed Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Ben Fhala responded to this email message from a concerned Roosevelt Island resident requesting:

Please can you let RIOC know that it is a ridiculous plan to take one tram out of service THIS Fri/Sat on a weekend when NYC will see a huge increase of tourists ( and likely Tram use) because of the NYC Marathon as well as use by guests from a fully booked Graduate Hotel.

The lack of oversight and foresight is absolutely absurd. Why are we paying senior staff at RIOC so much when they don't even have the intelligence to look at a calendar. 

Mr Fhala replied:

Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on operational matters as most board members, including myself, are not regularly updated on daily operational affairs. My main source of information is the RIOC Advisories, and that is the extent of our access to such matters.

I don't have information about the urgency, complexities, vendor coordination, expected time frame, or whether the work will conclude before the afternoon rush hour.

The chair has forwarded your feedback to Shelton, Our CEO, who has acknowledged receipt. We hope he will either forward it to the relevant department or provide you with more context.

We appreciate your engagement with the board and look forward to hearing from you in our next Board meeting scheduled for November 14th.

P.S. I usually wait a few days before responding to allow time for others to contribute. As a new resident board member, I've made it my mission to ensure that all emails sent to the board receive a response, even if it's just an acknowledgment when we lack additional information to share.

Another Roosevelt Island resident, Roberta Kleiman shares this message she sent to the RIOC Board of Directors on November 3 after reading Mr Fahla's response:

Please let's fix this broken system!

Dear RIOC Board,

How can we fix this????

I feel compelled to comment that Ben Fhala's statement:

"….Unfortunately, I cannot comment on operational matters as most board members, including myself, are not regularly updated on daily operational affairs. My main source of information is the RIOC Advisories, and that is the extent of our access to such matters.” 

is extremely disturbing to read. I don’t mean Mr. Fhala per se. He seems like a responsible Board member, and I appreciate his forthrightness. It’s just unfathomable to me that the Board who is supposed to oversea our governance, is not privy to operational matters. That’s INSANE! Sadly, it’s consistent with what you reported on recently regarding communication between the board and RIOC staff, something along the lines of RIOC employees not being allowed to talk to RIOC board members and vice versa. (I hope I have that straight). This system is beyond broken.

The RIOC Board needs to obtain the tools necessary to effectively and fairly govern our Island. Isn’t that supposed to be RIOC’s and the Board's purpose?

Please let’s fix this!

I will do my part to help. Just say the word!

Best Regards,

 Mr. Fhala replied to Ms Kleinman:

I concur with your assessment that "This system is beyond broken."

We are committed to shedding light on the situation, recognizing that the issues extend beyond the current executive team. Unfortunately, the lack of governance and oversight permeates the organization from top to bottom and has been enabled by the designated RIOC board chair from NY State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR). Historically, board members had unrestricted access to RIOC staff and executives, and while some existing members still do, the notion of blocking oversight board members from engaging with executives and staff is a recent development under the leadership of Shelton Haynes. According to whistleblowers, he has directed his staff to respond only when he approves communications. In fact, the staff received an email from RIOC's Chief of Staff instructing them to direct all interaction with board members to Shelton Haynes and Gretchen Robinson in late August. The new resident board members have raised this issue with the board chair designee, who has chosen to ignore it. The chair designee informed us multiple times that we should not involve ourselves in "operational matters." Unfortunately, given the pending lawsuit filed by Shelton Haynes and Gretchen Robinson against RIOC oversight members, it appears they have adopted a legalistic and secretive approach, leaving new resident board members without guidance or direction.

Nonetheless, we remain optimistic that shedding light on these matters will eventually lead to positive change. In the meantime, our commitment to transparency and genuine oversight drives us to bring these issues to the forefront. Currently our attention is on macro matters of gaining access and figuring out who has accountability to oversight if we can't gain access to staff, contracts or operational matters.


Ben Fhala*

Resident Board Member

*Disclaimer: All statements made by Ben Fhala are made in his capacity as a RIOC Resident Board member. He does not represent the entirety of RIOC or the full board but serves as a Resident Board member, offering information to the community and its stakeholders.

Ms Kleiman followed up responding to Mr Fhala:

Thank you for taking the time out of your weekend to give such an informative, thoughtful, and dare I say, courageous response to my email!

I appreciate the work you and your fellow new resident board members are doing to create a board that can lead. I wholeheartedly agree with you; shedding light on the situation is a necessary and powerful first step. I too hope this will be the catalyst for change. However, I fear that “light” alone will not fix a deeply broken system. Especially given the information you provided regarding the push back from other RIOC directors and the designated board chair from HCR. It surely is a complicated situation, and I am not close enough to have an inkling of what to do. But surely ACTION is needed. Perhaps getting our politicians involved is the answer, or maybe members of our various community groups? Or something else?

Rick, from the Roosevelt Islander has been a consistent, major force in getting information to the community. But again, that alone doesn’t seem to be the answer while we are in crisis mode. I feel like we are being held hostage by Shelton Hayes, Gretchen Robinson, and their lawsuit.

I wish I could offer something in terms of ACTION and a solution, but as I said before, I will surely do my part (letters, petitions, etc.). Just say the word!

Thank you again!

PS. Since we both feel strongly about the need for transparency, I assume not included the Roosevelt Islander in your cc was an oversight

Mr Fhala replied:

When communicating with members of our community, I make a point not to add individuals to the cc list out of respect for their privacy, in this case yours.

On my part, I neither expect nor seek privacy. All of my communications are, and should be, public records. My purpose is to serve the public and safeguard RIOC's long-term interests. As long as the executive team and those working behind the scenes maintain my position, I am dedicated to fulfilling these responsibilities.

That said, I respect your judgment in deciding with whom you choose to share my public record communications and whom you wish to include in the cc list.

Regarding the impact of light, The Lubavitche Rebbie once said that the smallest of candles can illuminate an entire room. I tend to agree. Whether it brings about change, I cannot say for certain, but from my small and seemingly unimportant role, I will keep a candle nearby so I can see.


Ben Fhala*

Resident Board Member

*Disclaimer: All statements made by Ben Fhala are made in his capacity as a RIOC Resident Board member. He does not represent the entirety of RIOC or the full board but serves as a Resident Board member, offering information to the community and its stakeholders.

Among action items for Roosevelt Island residents to fix RIOC mentioned by Ms Kleiman was a Petition drive. 

It so happens that Roosevelt Island resident Paul Krikler, who has successfully organized previous Roosevelt Island petition drives to fix the Roosevelt Island Bridge bike lane and  bring OMNY to the Roosevelt Island Tram, has organized a new petition drive demanding:

We Need a Functioning & Competent RIOC

Mr Krikler adds:

I see the benefit of direct voting for RIOC Directors as not only providing much needed oversight but also opening the door for the many, many people here who have great ideas about how this community can be better served.
If you agree Roosevelt Island needs a functioning and competent RIOC, sign the petition here.

Sponsored Post - Grow NYC Fifth Annual Roosevelt Island Free Stop N Swap Community Event Saturday November 11 - Bring Items You No Longer Need To Give Away, Take Something New Home With You, Reduce, Reuse And Save Money

This Saturday 11/11/23 the popular annual GrowNYC reuse event hosted locally by iDig2Learn and the Roosevelt Island Older Adult Center returns!

Scan your apartment for good quality items you no longer need. Clothing, toys, housewares and portable items can be dropped from 11am to 2pm. No furniture please. Starting at Noon find something-new-to-you just in time for the holidays. You don’t have to drop items to take, or take items to drop.

We love this event because it is good for the household budget and the earth. Join us and help keep good quality items from going to landfill.

UPDATE: In respect for our Roosevelt Landings residential building hosts and keeping the main lobby clear the Stop N’Swap has a NEW entrance. Please enter through the 556 Main Street alleyway to the side door of the Older Adult Center. Please spread the word. Reminder drops offs start at 11am and end at 2pm(sharp). The public is invited to enter, 40 at a time in 15 minute intervals, to take free items home from Noon to 3pm. Thanks for welcoming this annual reuse event to our neighborhood.

Here are some scenes from the 2022 Roosevelt Island Stop n Swap.

The 2022 GrowNYC Roosevelt Island Stop n Swap numbers were: 

  • 4,600 lbs. of donations. 
  • 3,760 lbs. were cycled back into the community,
  • Nearly an 82% diversion rate - our best yet and
  • The 840 unswapped lbs. were donated at the end of the day.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Roosevelt Island Resident Says He Was Victim Of Home Invasion Early Morning Last Sunday, NYPD Arrest 14 Year Old Suspect Charged With Robbery, Assault, Weapon Possession & More

According to the November 5, 2023 Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Safety Department (PSD) daily blotter:

11/05/23 – 0102 – 546 Main St – Robbery – PSD, EMS, and NYPD responded – Arrested by NYPD.

Without being asked, RIOC reported about the incident:

On November 5th at approximately 1:02AM, PSD responded to a complaint at 546 Main Street from a resident who said the apartment above was making an inordinate amount of noise. When PSD investigated the noisy apartment, they encountered an individual who advised they had just been the victim of a home invasion. The victim offered a detailed description of the events and was physically unharmed, but reported the perpetrator did display a firearm upon entry. The NYPD was notified and arrived on the scene shortly thereafter. At approximately 1:44AM, PSD officers were able to access video footage which showed the subject leaving the building shortly after the incident. NYPD took a photo from the video and began a level one mobilization of the entire Roosevelt Landings. The subject, who was identified as a resident of 460 Main Street, was then apprehended by NYPD officers and arrested without incident—no firearm was recovered. The alleged perpetrator is a juvenile and now faces several criminal charges.

 According to a NYPD spokesperson:

There is a report on file for a robbery that occurred on Sunday, November 5, 2023 at 0030 hours inside of 546 Main  Street, within the confines of the 114 Precinct. A 33-year-old male complainant reported that the suspect knocked on the door, and when he opened it , the suspect attempted to push his way in and struck him multiple times with a closed fist causing bruising and swelling to his face. During the course of the altercation a mirror broke causing minor scratches to the complainant. The complainant reported that he believed that he saw what appeared to be a firearm. The suspect attempted to take the complainant’s cellphone After a short canvass, the suspect was taken into custody. No weapon was recovered.

The following individual was arrested and charged.

14 year-old male



Grand Larceny


Criminal Possession of a Weapon

Criminal Mischief


Yesterday I asked RIOC PSD Chief Kevin Brown:

On Friday evening November 3, a Roosevelt Island resident sent me the following message:

"Have you seen that large group of teenagers jumping on car hoods and stopping traffic on Main St?

I saw them on my way to the commons. It was rather quick and took place roughly between the church and Blackwell house. Removing plants from planters, screaming, stopping traffic, throwing road cones across the street, that sort of thing. A couple of other people were on the street too and we kept switching from one sideway to the other to avoid them.

Just general idiot adolescent behaviour, but the sheer number of them made the whole thing weird.

It was about 9:20.

We found it a little surprising because there was no one from the PSD anywhere despite it taking place right in front of their office."

The RIOC Public Safety Department blotter appears to describe the incident as follows:

11/03/23 – 2147 – 531 Main St – Disorderly Youth – PSD responded – Condition corrected.

Does RIOC have any comment on this incident?

There has been no response from Chief Brown.
Today, I asked Chief Brown:
11/06/23 – 2146 – 400 Main St – Assault – PSD and NYPD responded – Report filed.

Please provide more details regarding this incident. What happened, were any weapons involved, was the victim injured? 

Has there been an arrest?
No response from Chief Brown.

During the October 17 RIOC PSD Community Engagement meeting, Chief Brown told the attending residents:

... as far as violent crime on the island, we've had three robberies this entire year. 

I've heard some people say that we've had a lot of crime issues. We've had three robberies and of the three robberies, two of them were young people, one was a student from the Child School and he robbed another student, took his Airpods. Another one was two kids from a a group home. Again they took the Airpods. The third one was a person that took some property from Wholesome. It was a larceny but turned into a robbery because they bit the person at Wholesome... Those are our most violent crimes on Roosevelt Island... 

As previously reported about the October 17 PSD Community Engagement meeting:

Roosevelt Island crimes this year not mentioned by Chief Brown during his presentation include:

Here's the full video of the;

RIOC PSD Community Engagement meetings.

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Monday, November 6, 2023

RIOC Communications Policy Excludes Answering Local Roosevelt Island Media - Instead Places Propaganda Articles In Obscure Web Publications Praising RIOC President And Promoting His Personal Reputation, Does RIOC Pay For Placement?

On October 11, I asked the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors and President Shelton Haynes:

RIOC Directors & Shelton Haynes

During the September 14 RIOC Board Of Directors Public Session, I asked why RIOC does not answer questions from the local press about issues of community concern.

There was no response.

I am preparing an article for Roosevelt Islander Online on RIOC's communications policy and practices. Does the RIOC Board or Mr Haynes have any comment on the following.

Instead of answering questions from the local Roosevelt Island press, RIOC has placed articles in obscure web publications. A few recent examples include:
  1. The Price Of Business (October 11, 2023) - "Under the leadership of CEO Shelton Haynes, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is on a mission to transform Roosevelt Island into a vibrant cultural hub. With a strong commitment to fostering the arts and her solid creativity, RIOC is actively promoting cultural initiatives that enrich the lives of residents and visitors alike...."
  2. Business Partner Magazine (July 26, 2023) " Shelton J. Haynes, the President and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), has emerged as a driving force behind the island’s resurgence. His commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has transformed RIOC’s work culture, ensuring that it reflects our diverse world. With a focus on fostering relationships and investing in the workforce, Haynes has set the stage for Roosevelt Island’s bright future...."
  3. Entrepreneur Partnership  (July 5, 2023) - " For a small island in the East River, Roosevelt Island has an exceptional safety department, according to Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation CEO Shelton Haynes, with a community that is closer to the feel of a small town with a population of 12,000 in the middle of the greater metropolis of New York City. Retaining this feeling of community while still watching out for influences from the city at large can be a challenge. Still, it’s one that Haynes recognizes as coming directly from the Public Safety Department, which strikes a careful balance between care and caution on the island."...
  4. The Price Of Business (June 30 2023) - "Communities across the United States have taken a strong look at how to regain community trust due to recent tragedies in police work, as Shelton Haynes, CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, knows well. Leading a community that has such strong ties as Roosevelt Island can be a challenge on some days, but Haynes knows that those challenges are not coming from his Public Safety Department (PSD) officers. This is because the community policing approach that Haynes has developed works well to create strong ties within the island community...."
  5. Highlight Story (June 25, 2023) "Shelton Haynes Focuses On New Strategies For Roosevelt Island..."
Also, there was the February 13, 2023 City and State article that was labeled Sponsored Content:
 Roosevelt Island: A Hidden Gem Nestled Between Queens & New York City At the Helm of the State Ran Agency is President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes

and the August 14, 2023 City & State Manhattan Power 100 List which ranks Shelton Haynes as #91.

The seeming purpose of all these purported "news stories" are to praise Mr Haynes and attempt to enhance his personal reputation.

Has RIOC spent any funds on these or other "articles" promoting Mr Haynes and attempting to enhance his personal reputation? How much money has RIOC spent promoting Mr Haynes and attempting to enhance his personal reputation?

How much time, if any, does the RIOC Communications team spend writing these articles.

Why does RIOC place articles in digital publications which nobody on Roosevelt island or living in NYC read and not answer questions from Roosevelt Island press about local issues?

Please let me know if there will be a response.
There was no response from Mr Haynes. Recently appointed RIOC Board Member Ben Fhala replied on October 20:
I am deeply concerned about your email. I appreciate that you have forwarded this for review by the oversight board.

On the surface, it appears to be an attempt at SEO stuffing. As far as I understand the team, none of them are SEO experts (I have worked in that field in the past, and it involves very technical work). I'm assuming this has been carried out by a third party, although I have not confirmed whether it was done through a vendor hired by RIOC or privately.

Nonetheless, this is a matter of significant concern. We will be conducting an investigation to understand how this work was commissioned and under what authority.


Ben Fhala*

Resident Board Member

*Disclaimer: All statements made by Ben Fhala are made in his capacity as a RIOC Resident Board member. He does not represent the entirety of RIOC or the full board but serves as a Resident Board member, offering information to the community and its stakeholders.

Today I followed up asking the RIOC Board of Directors and Mr Haynes: 

I am following up on the messages dated October 11 and 20 below regarding RIOC Communication policies and practices.

Does the RIOC communications department or any RIOC employee engage in Search Engine Optimization practices for the purpose of enhancing the Corporation's reputation or any of its employees including RIOC President Shelton Haynes?

Does RIOC engage any private vendors to engage in Search Engine Optimization practices for the purposes of enhancing the Corporation's reputation or any of its employees including RIOC President Shelton Haynes? I do not recall any search engine optimization contract being placed before the RIOC Board at any Directors meeting this year or in past years.

If there was a private party Search Engine Optimization contract awarded by RIOC, who was the vendor, what was the dollar amount of that contract and specific terms.

Will update when more info available. Stay tuned.

Here's local Instagram satirist Weird Roosevelt Island humorous take on RIOC propaganda messaging praising Mr Haynes.

As previously reported, last September Mr Haynes and RIOC General Counsel Gretchen Robinson: 

... filed a racial discrimination lawsuit in the Southern District Of NY against members of NY State Governor Kathy Hochul's Executive Chamber as well as the Commissioner, General Counsel and Deputy Counsel of the NY State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

Though not named as defendants in the lawsuit, Mr Haynes and Ms Robinson claim in their lawsuit that NY State Senator Liz Krueger, NY State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Roosevelt Island Daily publisher David Stone contributed to a "racist backlash" against them.

The lawsuit also claims that Mr Haynes and Ms Robinson were excluded from the appointment process of 3 new RIOC Board Members in an attempt to undermine their authority and "ability to discharge their job functions." Haynes and Robinson claim the 3 new RIOC board members are antagonistic to them....

Also, Mr Haynes does not allow RIOC staff to speak with Mr Fhala or other RIOC Board members making it difficult, if not impossible, to perform the Board's function of overseeing RIOC.