Skip to comments.Erratic Reported Rent Payments From [ACORN Front] WFP Mark Last Decade
Posted on 10/04/2009 4:00:17 AM PDT by Grammar Nazi
Average of just $1,486 per month for offices, one check for rent written to 401 K PMTs
by Edward-Isaac Dovere
Harry Zlokower, spokesperson for ISJ Management, called to confirm that the company is indeed the owner of the property at 2 Nevins Street, with Flatbush Fulton Realty Associates its subsidiary.
However, Zlokower said, Working Families Party is not a tenant of ISJ Management, adding, ISJ management has no knowledge of the Working Families Party. They assume its a sub-lease.
Zlokower also confirmed that ACORN is a tenant of ISJ Management, paying money directly to the property owner.
Responding from the Working Families Party, communications director Dan Levitan wrote via email, WFP is a subtenant at 2 Nevins Street. The rent shows up as a payment to CLASI, which is a not for profit that provides administrative services to progressive organizations.
The Working Families Party may have worked on behalf of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the citys famously high rents, but the party has apparently not had to worry much about its own rent payments. Over the last 10 years, the party has reported paying just $178,376.90, or an average of $1,486 per month for an office space that now contains space for its 15 full-time employees and a base of operations for the 142 employees of Data and Field Services (DFS), the secretive for-profit company the party owns.
A review of the Partys expenditures in public documents filed with the state Board of Elections over the last decade which were reported as rent shows an erratic pattern of payments made to several different landlords, and none marked as going directly to Flatbush Fulton Realty Associates, the owner of its current space at 2 Nevins Street in Brooklyn. Some years, the WFP appears to have paid no rent at all, based on the data filed with the Board of Elections.
Political parties are required to pay rent, in order to ensure that no party is getting an unfair monetary advantage over others, and the parties are required to report all money paid out for expenditures.
The committee needs to account for any expenditures they have, and if they receive any in-kind contributions, then the value of those as well, said Bob Brehm, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections.
Brehm noted that individuals donations to political parties in New York State are capped at $94,200 per calendar year. Corporations are capped at $5,000.
The Working Families Party has filed just four reports of in-kind contributions over its existence, most of which are marked for printing expenses, and none which explain rent.
In a previous interview, Working Families executive director Dan Cantor said first that DFS pays rent to the Party, and then revised his statement to say that the two have a calculation of square footage that they use to determine rent payments to the landlord.
According to the campaign of public advocate candidate Bill de Blasio, part of the space at 2 Nevins Street was rented out for a petitioning training June 9. The campaign says a fee for the space was paid for as part of a contract with DFS, but there is no clear documentation to show whether this is part of the space Cantor claims DFS pays rent for, whether DFS reimbursed the WFP for the space, or, given the lack of clarity about WFP rent payments, whether a reimbursement was due to some other entity.
Sam Jemal, whose signature appears on mortgage documents for 2 Nevins Street filed with the city and whose address at ISJ Management Corp. is the same as one on the internet posted for Flatbush Fulton Realty on West 34th Street in Manhattan, declined to discuss questions about the property or its tenants. He directed all inquiries to be sent to him by mail.
No separate listing or contact for Flatbush Fulton Realty could be found.
Originally, the Working Families Party was based at 88 Third Avenue in Brooklyn, in the same building as ACORN, and now both groups occupy the property at 2 Nevins Street. During those early years, the Partys filing for rent payments either left the box for an address blank or reported 88 Third Avenue as the recipient of the money.
During the early years, the Working Families Party paid just a few dollars in rent, for a total of $3,100 between 1998 and 2001. Payments began to increase over the following years, but while (except for a May 2002 payment to CWA 110) they were reported as all made out to an indeterminate entity called NYOSCI, they were sent to several addresses over the years. One of those was PO Box 2079 Empire Plaza Station in Albany, which is the listed address of the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislators. The Working Families Party reported sending $12,650.12 to that address over the course of 2007.
A message left on the voicemail of the Association, which does not seem to have been updated since before its caucus weekend in February, was not returned, nor was one left at the ACORN office.
In 2008 and 2009, the Working Families Party reported an uptick of rent payments, now being made either to NYOSCI or a new entity marked as CLASI, with reported addresses of 2 Nevins Street. The WFP paid more rent in those two years than in the previous eight combined, counting a payment made in April of this year to Bond & Atlantic Realty, sent to a PO box in Lincroft, New Jersey and a $1,500 payment to Boerum Hill Realty in Brooklyn.
After answering his phone at his office on Tuesday, Cantor claimed to be in a meeting and would not answer questions put to him about rent expenses. He directed questions to be sent to him by email.
However, Cantor did not respond to emailed questions about whether the WFP has indeed made regular rent payments over the last 10 years, and if so, to whomand whether they had been made to ACORN. Nor did he respond to questions asking to explain the lack of regular, and in most cases, significant rent payments on WFP disclosures over the last decade, what NYOSCI and CLASI represent.
An email from WFP communications director Dan Levitan did arrive, claiming that at first glance, the numbers you cite are incorrect, adding in another email, in a quick search of our BOE records, we just found over $200,000 for the last four years. A second follow-up
Levitan did not answer a follow-up email about whether that meant there were more payments which were paid as rent but not marked as such on the disclosure reports.
Among the other questions that Cantor and Levitan did not respond to requests to explain was one regarding a notation on the last payment reported under rent expenses by the Party in its July 2009 disclosure, for $6,991.21, the last of four made on June 22, which instead of a check number reads: 401 K PMTs.
Brehm, the Board of Elections spokesman, seemed surprised by that charge, which suggests that money reported as rent might have been used for another purpose.
I cant understand it, he said. Theyd have to explain it.
Even the blank lines of information on past reports is a problem, Brehm explained.
Theyre supposed to keep complete record and provide that in the schedule, he said, referring to the section of the financial disclosure for reporting expenditures.
Brehm said that the Board of Elections policy is to issue a civil penalty of $500 for each problem found on the filings if and when a formal complaint prompts the Board to examine the filings. He added that the penalties can go to charges of a misdemeanor or even a Class-E felony if someone is found to have willfully misrepresented payments in the campaign finance disclosures.
In an email sent Tuesday night, Levitan offered an explanation for why rent had spiked in recent months, arguing that the money paid so far in 2009 went to rent and overhead to pay for our main office, office space in Buffalo and Albany, and spillover offices in Brooklyn. The increase in rent reflects the higher price of our new office space on 2 Nevins Street.
No payments show up as going to Buffalo, and except for those which went to the Association of Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislators PO box in 2007, none show up as having gone to Albany either.
It allways amazes me that entities are required to fill out ‘paper’ for our bureauracracies, threatened with fines, fees, possible criminal charges...
Yet NOBODY ever looks at the papers when they are submitted nor check the entities out for legitimacy.
Just like the election commission has never run an audit on the Obamessiah’s campaign contributions. Not once. They just take the report and stick it in a file drawer and say, ‘it’s been filed, they’ve complied with their filing.’...and then in some cases they didn’t even file.
I'm gonna make an educated guess that it should read,"...CWA 1109"
The RINO's are asleep at the switch or on vacation as usual.
Maybe we can hire illegal aliens to do the investigative reporting that the MSM won’t do....
FReep mail me if you want on/off the list.
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