Absurd New York #112

Scabby the Rats scaring 100 Gold Street. Photo by Rick Stachura. July 3, 2019.



Looks like the union ain’t playin’ today.



That would be Local 78–the Asbestos, Lead, and Hazardous Waste Laborer’s Union–demonstrating outside the headquarters of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development [HPD] here on Gold Street. 

As the Daily News reports, at issue is HPD’s selection of Dunn Development to turn a former tuberculous hospital in Jamaica, Queens into affordable housing. To remove the facility’s asbestos more cheaply, Dunn subcontracted the job to a non-union company based in Westchester.

Local 78 says that Dunn is “cutting corners” because the non-union workers it hired “aren’t required to be trained in removing asbestos in confined spaces, using scaffolding, or administering CPR.” Moreover, the union worries HPD is allowing Dunn to “cut costs” because of the developer’s ties to the governor and the mayor.

According to the News, Dunn’s president Martin Dunn has “donated more than $85,000 to political campaigns” in the state since 2002. Some $26,000 has gone to Governor Cuomo while $400 went to Mayor de Blasio. Although Mr. Dunn himself was never investigated nor suspected of wrong-doing, his donations came “under scrutiny” when Cy Vance (Manhattan District Attorney) and Preet Bharara (US Attorney for the Southern District of New York) found them among those de Blasio collected for his Campaign for One New York, his former fundraising non-profit.

In the end, though, neither prosecutor could prove a “pay for play” or “quid pro quo” formula at work between de Blasio and donors like Mr. Dunn. However, Mr. Bharara noted that the mayor appeared to “violate the intent and spirit of the [campaign finance] law.” And, as Local 78 suggests, the consequences are still having an impact on decisions made today. 



Photo by Rick Stachura. Scabby the Rats scaring 100 Gold Street. July 3, 2019.




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