Community Board 12 turmoil

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Hell hath no fury like a community board member who believes that a recent appointment to the board doesn’t reside or work in the community.

But the accused board member fires back that the allegations are nothing but sour grapes and political one-upmanship.

The matter unfolded at the recent Community Board 12 meeting when longtime board member Chaim (Hy) Israel stood up and asked board chair Alan Dubrow to refer the recent appointment of David Greenfield to the city Board of Ethics.

Greenfield, a declared 44th District City Council candidate to replace term-limited Simcha Felder, was appointed by Felder to sit on the board.

Conversely, Felder did not re-appoint Israel, who was instead re-appointed by City Councilmember Bill de Blasio.

Israel quoted the City Charter, stating, “No person shall be appointed to, or remain, as a member of the board who does not have a residence, business, professional or other significant interest in the district.”

“I assert that our colleague, David Greenfield, does not meet any of these three requisites, and falsely stated his qualifying criteria on the Community Board Application,” Israel said.

Israel then went on to note that Greenfield listed his mother’s East 3rd Street residence as his, when, he alleged, Greenfield currently lives in Marine Park.

“After his work day, David drives to Quentin Road and East 36th Street, where he eats supper, goes to sleep, and spends time with his family on weekends and holidays,” alleged Israel.

Israel then alleged that Greenfield works at the Sephardic Community Federation (SCF), located at 2923 Avenue N. This, too, is outside the CB 12 district, he said.

“Not minimizing motherhood or political ideals, I assert that neither a mother’s place of residence nor the noble aspirations to represent our district in the New York City Council rises to the threshold of qualifications for serving on this board, as cited in the NYC Charter,” said Israel in requesting the matter be forwarded to the Board of Ethics for review.

Greenfield, an attorney, responded that Israel has a political agenda in that he supports the other declared candidate for City Council, Joe Lazar, and is using this agenda as a personal attack.

“I think this is politics at its very worst. Mr. Israel is upset that his colleagues decided to vote him off the executive committee recently and is improperly using the community board forum to personally attack me,” said Greenfield.

Greenfield countered that since marrying he has moved around in rentals several times, but considers the place on East 3rd Street as his main residence.

It is at this residence that his tax returns are sent and which he hopes to one day purchase, said Greenfield.

Second, Greenfield said the SCF, while not in the district, represents thousands of Sephardic residents that reside in the district, and therefore constitutes business interests.

Thirdly, Greenfield said his professional interest lies in his being a member and founding director of the non-profit TEACHNYS, which advocates on behalf of private schools, of which there are many in CB 12.

Lastly, Greenfield said he has a significant interest in the area as a mayoral appointee to the Non Public School Standing Committee, which involves the many private schools in CB 12.

“To be clear, you only need to meet one of the four criteria. I honestly believe I meet all four,” said Greenfield.

Greenfield also said he is very proud of the fact that Israel followed him around and the best he could find was him having dinner with his wife and son.

“It’s sad because our community has real problems. We should be spending our time working together to resolve these issues instead of following people around for the purpose of attacking them personally,” he said.

Ultimately, the matter was sent to the CB 12 Executive Committee, where they will review it and make a recommendation to the full board at their October meeting.

Updated 3:43 pm, October 19, 2011
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