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New York Post lies about Greater Harlem Housing Development Corp

Herb Boyd | 2/27/2014, 10:07 a.m.
NY Post article

Here we go again, as one infamous American once asserted. And like it was three years ago, it’s the same investigative reporter, and it appears that Williams, Rep. Charles Rangel, Councilwoman Inez Dickens, the NAACP’s Hazel Dukes, Assemblyman Keith Wright and state Sen. Bill Perkins are prime African-American leaders who have been placed on the Post’s ongoing Black hit list.

But, for the most part, the paper is on a fool’s errand, because when you read between the lines of the story, they are clearly wasting their time and the paper’s money in trying to subvert the GHHDC. In their writ of particulars, a few basic questions arise: What did the nonprofit organization do wrong? Was there a misappropriation of funds? Did the leaders siphon off money to bolster their personal incomes? In other words, if there’s no evidence of malfeasance, then this is nothing more than a trumped up and futile fishing expedition.

OK, let’s look at some of the fears provoked by this arsenal of insults. They quote Jaron Benjamin, executive director of the Metropolitan Council of Housing, who claims GHHDC is a slumlord that can’t be trusted. That he arrives at this conclusion without ever talking to anyone at the organization or conducting his own research is as troubling as the false steps made by the reporters.

“And Mr. Benjamin has no idea what he’s talking about,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright, who chairs the state’s Assembly Housing Committee. “It’s perfectly all right for folks to open their mouth when they know what they are talking about. When I say the GHHDC has provided affordable housing for people who otherwise could not live in Harlem, I know what I’m talking about. I am immensely proud of the work the GHHDC has done and continues to do, and I proudly stand, without reservation, with them.”

Equally disconcerting is that the reporters secured one disgruntled tenant to support their contentions, and she complained about the condition of her stove, but in the very next line, the reporters state that the very same tenant is over $12,000 due in rental arrears. It would appear that if she was up to date on her rent, the GHHDC would be in a position to buy her a brand-new stove for her and for many dozens of other deserving tenants.

Her complaint has a ring of incredulity and is certainly countered by the impressions from a number of other tenants, including John Patane, whose Patane Press printing business occupies one of the buildings’ commercial locations.

“Let me say from the start that I would not be here in Harlem without the GHHDC, that was gracious enough to offer me accommodations after I was forced out of my previous location,” Patane said in a recent telephone interview. “They made it possible for me to keep my business in Harlem, and they have been unstinting in the maintenance and upkeep of the building, from snow removal outside to the repairs needed on the inside.”

A coterie of other tenants weighed in on the situation, including longtime resident Gilbert Paschall, who observed, “My family is pleased to be tenants at the GHHDC. They maintain my building quite well and are always responsive in a respectful manner and time.”