Friday, November 09, 2018

Allentown's $1.25 M Demo Contract Miraculously Shrinks to $200,000

I like to tease Allentown Council member Julio Guridy over his command of the English language. Not because I'm a bigot, but because I'm an asshole. One thing Julio does understand is real estate. He has bought and sold property over the years, and quite successfully. When Nat Hyman's property on Franklin Street went up in flames, he knew that the $1.25 million projected demolition cost was outrageously high. He was the sole council member to vote No.

It is Guridy who proposed an amendment to that contract on Wednesday night, cutting the cost to $200,000.

Nat Hyman tells me he can probably do it for $150,000. Unlike the City, he actually negotiated with the contractor. Unlike the false claim made by city officials, this contractor had no difficulty contacting Hyman. Incidentally, Hyman also tells me that the building is stable and there is no danger of collapse.

The petty criticism of Hyman, who redevelops old warehouses and factories into affordable housing with no city or state assistance, started almost immediately after the fire. Mayor Ray O'Connell uncharacteristically lashed out at him, without bothering to talk to him. Council member Candida Affa falsely claimed that she tried to call him. She now admits she was wrong, but made no apology. On Wednesday nigh, Council member Daryl Hendricks continued to lash out, saying it is time for Hyman to put his "big boy pants on."

I thought that personal attacks like the one made by Hendricks are forbidden.

Or does that rule only apply when to members of the public like Don Ringer, who rightly took Council member Courtney Robinson to task?

In the meantime, City officials have refused to issue building permits for another Hyman property, claiming it is in the flood zone. They reached this decision even though the city's own Zoning Hearing Board has previously determined it is not in the floodplain.

Hyman has to appeal this denial.

Guess who hears it? The same zoning hearing board that has already ruled in his favor.

All of this smells like politics to me. Ray O'Connell and other city officials must really be worried that Hyman might run for mayor.

When he applied for the interim appointment, he was the only one of the entire lot who was able to tell City Council that they have a structural deficit.

Anyway, I think Julio should be credited for doing the right thing. Council member Ed Zucal should also be credited with calling out city officials for their failure to communicate with Hyman.

Update 9:40 am (posted originally at midnight): Candida Affa is now repeating her falsehoods on Guridy's Facebook page, but this time, Nat Hyman caught and responded to her:

Affa: "I would like to clear up some questions in fiction about the events surrounding Nat Hyman‘s property on Franklin Street. On Sunday when the fire was raging nat Hyman was at the site standing next to the Mayor and Courtney Robinson. The next day the mayor and the ministration was informed that this building had to be demolished before they can put out the fire without demolishing it the fire could not be put out. Our Solicitor’s reached out to Nat Hyman‘s lawyers. They got no response . The mayor had no choice but to declare the building a public safety hazard. We did not have the luxury of getting estimates so he asked for 1.2 million dollars. Since we heard nothing from Mr. Hyman and what his plans were we had to estimate four demolishing , removing , hauling,removal of hazard materials,filling in of land etc.The 1.2 million was taken from different department .The Mayor did not know at that time how much everything would cost .....council agreed we would go high rather then come back every time we needed more money..... Mr.Hyman agreed to pay for removal and clean up....the city is still negotiating with Mr. Hyman on reimbursing the city for the demolition .It came in under 200,000 .So therefore the rest of the 1.2 million went back to the departments that originally gave money....We have all intentions of going after Mr. Hyman for the money for the demolition....So I am making this very clear ——-Tax payers will not be paying 1.2 million.....what is left is under 200,000 and Mr. Hyman is going to have to pay.... I believe The Mayor,The Fire Cheif and firefighters,Lenard Leitner our economic director, our finance director,our Mgr.director ,our city Solictors and all members of city council did one hell of a job. This was not a one man effort..... We were in a public safety crisis and I believe our Mayor did what he had to do to prevent a catastrophe. I stand by his decision and councils . I hope I cleared things up ......Candida"

Hyman: "Once again, Candida Affa is not telling the truth. The night I made my speech at City Council, she waited until after I left to say that she tried to call me but my lines were disconnected. She later admitted that was not true.

Now, she posts this series of self-serving mistruths which she knows are not true! What we have seen from Ray O’Connell, and now Candida Affa, is that they will change the “facts” to cover their mistakes.

Here are 10 mistruths in Candida’s post:

1. “Our Solicitor’s reached out to Nat Hyman‘s lawyers. They got no response .”

The Solicitor sent an email to my attorney AFTER the demolition had been contracted for and they were moving the machines on site. The email simply said “the administration would like to know Mr. Hyman’s plans for the property”. Not one word about demolition !

My Attorney responded within the hour of receiving the email from the Solicitor. So her saying they “got no response” is an outright lie.

2. “The next day the mayor and the ministration (sic) was informed that this building had to be demolished before they can put out the fire without demolishing it the fire could not be put out.”

That’s peculiar because when the Mayor said that it needed to be demolished he said it was because the danger of it collapsing posed an imminent threat and could fall on neighboring buildings. Now that has been proven untrue the story has switched to the fire needed to be put out.

3. “We did not have the luxury of getting estimates”

Yesterday’s Morning Call states , and I quote, “Lightner said city officials spoke to multiple contractors before beginning the work and proceeded with the cheapest.” Which is it Candida ???!! Another lie!

4. “so he asked for 1.2 million dollars”

So, he just asked for 1.2 million??! ? Did he pull that number out of the sky? The night Ray O’Connell appeared before City Council, he told them that was what it was going to cost. It was only later that, after I told them that they were massively over paying, that he said it was just a cap.

5. “Since we heard nothing from Mr. Hyman and what his plans were”

As we now know the facts, that’s because they never even attempted to contact me! And as everyone knows, I’m not hard to find. My phone number is in the phone book and on a sign in front of every one of my buildings. My office phone number has been the same for 30 years!

6. “The Mayor did not know at that time how much everything would cost”

As shown in the Morning Call statement from Leonard Lightner, they ABSOLUTELY knew how much everything would cost!

7. “It came in under $200,000”

It came in under $200,000 because I contacted the contractor and renegotiated the deal. Now they are taking credit for it. Believe me that if I hadn’t gotten involved, they would have paid every cent of $1.25m

8. “We have all intentions of going after Mr. Hyman for the money for the demolition”

This is the most sinister of all comments. In the same way that Ray did when he got up there and said “Mr. Hyman this is not a threat, it’s a promise, you will pay back every cent” the implication is that I don’t intend to pay. I have ALWAYS said that I will pay for everything and the tax payer should not pay! When I made my speech to City Council I showed up with a check for $217,000! Now Candida is trying to imply that I don’t want to pay or don’t intend to pay which is an outright lie and she knows it !

9. “I believe The Mayor....did one hell of a job”

Candida, if you believe he did one hell of a job, then you have no business on City Council! The Mayor was willing to pay 6 times the price of what the work should have cost and would have done so had I not gotten involved. He was prepared to waste $1.1 million of tax payer dollars!!! He lied to City Council and the press about trying “many times to contact Mr. Hyman”. He used my tragedy as a political platform to try and damage me. And he has repeatedly lied to cover his mistakes. He did NOTHING right ! If you think that is one hell of a job then your judgment is seriously in question.

10. “We were in a public safety crisis and I believe our Mayor did what he had to do to prevent a catastrophe”

What catastrophe? You just said they needed to knock the building down to extinguish the fire. While all of this was going on, the building sat there and smoldered for 2 weeks. Nothing more could have happened other than the smoldering would ultimately burn itself out. There was no catastrophe so stop grandstanding.

People make mistakes and that’s ok. But lying to cover up those mistakes is not ok. And lying over and over is really not ok. Candida, you should [know] better and as a public official you should stand for more than these cover ups.

Nat Hyman


red bokeh society said...

funny how you missed video documenting this. even funnier that you didn't appreove my post yesterdy about your so called "NOT A JUNKIE" article. I never knew you too do tha bernie. what gives?????? julio guarenteed a price lower than 1.25million, which was an estimated cost NOT A BILL!!! nat already gave them a check for over 217,000. so why is this follow up neccessary???

red bokeh society said...

I must have made mistake yesterday because it said comment had to be bad

red bokeh society said... Payer Beware! The Nat Hyman Story.

Anonymous said...

Who in there right mind would expect that with Pawlowski gone suddenly the place would function on anything remotely like a level of competence?

Anonymous said...

Ship of fools

Anonymous said...

The Pawlowski corruption is still alive, just new names same stink.

Anonymous said...

I thought a Zoning Hearing Appeals Board, a requirement for municipalities, had to consist of members NOT on the Zoning Hearing Board. Specifically, to prevent redundancy and futility in appealing a ZHB decision.

Anonymous said...

we knew foe a long time Allentown is run by people who have no glue how to govern -- they have very large egos and some are in government for their own profit bottom line politicians are mostly bad people

Anonymous said...

Pawlowski is in ass-pounding federal prison. But the crooked rubber stamps who enabled his treachery are still running things. Bernie seems to think O'Connell is a likeable dope who is doing his best. I think he's as dishonest as the day is long. He was one of Pawlowski's chief enablers and he outright lied about the Hyman mess. Repeat: HE LIED; just like his predecessor. I hope their are still wiretaps in town. Using any burner phones to arrange meatball deliveries, Ray? Something tells me you are.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I hope O'Connell has the decency to not run for reelection. If he does, is he simply pulling a Fed Ed and putting his personal ambition ahead of what's best for the City of Allentown. He was willing to pay $1.25m for a $200,000 job ... can you imagine how much more waste there is in Allentown government? And he has no clue how to find it, let alone cut it. The City is loosing money and he just hired 30 new people! Then he lied to cover up his mistakes. Now, he is introducing a budget with a 25% tax hike!!!! And in that budget he is giving all 800 city employees a raise! This ship is sinking fast and he needs to do what is best for not run again Ray!!

Anonymous said...

Hyman is the only person who can straighten out the City's finances.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Iman Trek,

1) Your link is I watched the video. It is unfortunate that you just did not run it as is instead of editing it, although I think it is basically fair.

2) When a post is more than seven days old, comments must be approved. I have done so. I do not see them immediately.

3) You ask what gives? What gives is that Nat offered them a check already and they turned him down. I think it's very important to note that he was treated poorly and dishonestly by city officials.

4) It is important to note that Affas's remarks were made after Nat had left.

Anonymous said...

Affa (and Mota) are standout hacks even in that crew. There is only one competent member in the bunch.
The Mann faction is sitting back laughing and waiting to swoop down and install Powlowski 2.0.
The death spiral continues.

Anonymous said...

7:11 so very true you are o Connell has no glue he was bad for the schools and now he is very bad for the city.. if he runs the people will vote him down for the third time.

Anonymous said...

people of allentown no way will city council save you from o connels large tax increase the council is the reason o connels is the mayor the old buddy system their were many more qualified applicant than o connel taxes and more taxes on the way keep putting democrats in

Anonymous said...

Allentown has adopted the Detroit plan, corruption, buddy system, keep raising taxes, until people just leave their unattended buildings to the city. doesnt matter, as long as there is money to suck off the citizens they will keep it up till it all collapses, then lobby for state or federal money and blame the people who left the city. Stop covering for O'connell he is is part of the problem, soon there will be no honest person who will be willing to take the job. If Hyman is smart, he will sell out and get out of the city before all his investments go to zero. Nobody in Allentown wants reform and there will be none. Even the local newspaper is as corrupt as the politicians.

Anonymous said...

The Morning call is part of the corrupt Allentown establishment, they are hoping to be subsidized by some government to survive. They do not deserve to survive.

Anonymous said...

One of the 3 people will be the next Mayor: O'Connell, Hyman Or Thiel. O'Connell is incompetent and has repeatedly shown that. He lost before and if he runs he will lose again. The only way he was able to get his hands on the Mayorship was by having the corrupt City Council disregard the law and put him in. Thiel (aka Thief) should have gone to jail for his no bid contract with Fed Ed in exchange for making "contributions" to Fed Ed and is a member of the Mann Mafia. He too has lost almost every election. All Hyman did was start with nothing and build a huge successful business. He won his primary in a landslide and would have beaten Fed Ed if not for O'Connell's self-serving write in campaign. Hyman is BY FAR the most qualified and should have rightly won the last election. Hyman for Mayor!

Anonymous said...

I really don't want to get into the costs,however the 1.25 million was for the entire package,beginning to end .
The demolition costs were not 1.25 million as pointed OUT it was between 150,000 to 200,000.
You sound like the costs for demolition was 1.25 million--NOT TRUE.
I understand Hyman has taken over the project.GOOD.
Let's see if he will give us the final costs of the project.
Then we can compare ?????
Also , will he pay the city for their costs.
People are hearing NO.
Hyman should never be Mayor, because of all the properties he owns in the city everyday he sits in the office will be a conflict of interest.
O'Connell will beat Hyman, Also what party will he run on ????
He is nothing but a cry baby,, maybe Hendricks is right.

Anonymous said...

Julio is a good man.
Zucal is a vengeful person who only got on city council because he thought the police department screwed him over.
He is not on top of his game and just wants to embarrass the police department and the administration.
He now has become a Hyman supporter just like asshole Ringer.
Ringer is as dumb as the day is long.
Need to move on people.

Anonymous said...

Affa is not wrong about what she is saying.
She has a lot of experience and has lots of street smarts and common sense.
Nat is trying to weasel out of the situation , BLAME AND BLAME.
Also,Nat doesn't like to follow rules and under Pawlowski he never had to.
Check out his political contributions to candidates over the years.
He was a HUGE supporter of FED ED for senator.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Nat L. Hyman said...

The initial contract the City negotiated was for $1.25m for the whole project. I believe it was broken down as $850,000 for the demolition and $400,000 for clean up. I renegotiated the demolition to not to exceed $150,000 and the contract for the clean up is $35,000. The whole job will cost $185,000. Those are the final costs for the don't have to wait to to "see"

I am paying the city every penny of the $150,000. We are finalizing the settlement agreement now. Not sure which "people" you are talking to who are saying "no" but they clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

As far as my having a conflict of interest, would you have preferred my having invested all of that money in Bethlehem? I am the only guy who has invested in Allentown on a large scale with absolutely no tax advantages or government assistance and, in so doing, have put millions of dollars back on the tax rolls....and thats a negative to you!

What party will I run on? I was a Democrat my whole life. I told everyone (including all Republicans) that I switched to Republican for the Mayoral race because I was concerned that the Democrats would split the primary vote and let Ed Pawlowski through as the nominee. Despite this, the Republicans elected me with a large mandate, I believe because they felt I was the most qualified candidate. After I lost, I switched back. If you look at many politicians in Allentown, including Roger Mclean and Charlie Thiel, they were Republicans for many years and only switched to run for office.

As far as the crybaby comment, I suggest you read Teddy Roosevelt's "Man In The Arena " speech..."It's not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles....the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..."

With regard to Hendricks telling me to "put on my big boy pants", I'm quite sure that my pants are bigger than every regard. Suffice it to say that the situations I face on a daily basis (including 5 lawsuits with Donald Trump, all of which I won) would cause him to piss his pants.

Affa is wrong about almost everything she is saying. The facts are incontrovertible and not subject to dispute. Whether she is mistaken or lying or confused, the bottom line is she is dead wrong.

Nat is not weaseling out of anything, I am paying 100% of the costs. You want to criticize me for something I did, that is fair. But I will not sit by and let people deal in lies and mistruths about me.

Finally, I believe in all of Ed's years combined I contributed about $3,000 to his campaigns...and that was early on when I thought he was doing a good job. I was never a huge Ed supporter and we were never friends. In the 12 plus years he was Mayor, we shared exactly one meal. This nonsense about my not following building codes or his doing me favors is precisely that, nonsense. If anyone ever wants to go into any of my buildings, call my office (610-433-4114) or email me ( and I will arrange it.

Nat Hyman

Anonymous said...

There's no nice way to write this. She communicates as if she's barely literate. We provide 13 years of taxpayer funded education and there's no excuse for such an appalling failure to grasp basic grammar. Her horrific communication goes miles beyond today's social media short-cutting. My grade school grandchildren communicate more coherently. Wow. Wow. Wow.

red bokeh society said...

fair enough bernie. noted for future but im glad you thought it was fair. i just wanted to highlight what the cocensus had to say. we have some people in the valley. they should

Bernie O'Hare said...

I give you credit bc you go to meetings and put your name out there. I would never intentionally redline you.

Anonymous said...

Wow .. everytime I spoke with Guridy .. It was like having a conversation with a potato … I can't believe he actually was right about something …

Anonymous said...

The level of discourse among its leaders indicates that Allentown is in deep decline and there's zero hope of saving it. Rationalizing the fall began years ago. The shiny Potemkinesque buildings are reminiscent of a hospice patient's brief rally before eventual death. It's bad enough the city seems to be run by low intelligence representatives. It's worse that they blatantly lie without any reservation and enjoy the support of an electorate they perfectly represent - stupid and dishonest.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Wow .. everytime I spoke with Guridy .. It was like having a conversation with a potato … I can't believe he actually was right about something …"

His accent makes him harder to understand but does not make him stupid. when this first happened, he did the same things Nat Hyman did to determine demolition costs, and reached the same conclusion Nat did. her talk, they think she's dumb

J have a female friend, believe it or not, who has a very difficult time speaking English. I've noticed that when people hear her talk, they think she's dumb and talk down to her. I make this same mistake myself at times. But she is a very tough business person. I've seen her in action, and she makes fools out of the same people who thought she was dumb.

As one of my other friends once remarked, "She may not speak English well, but she knows how to count."

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There's no nice way to write this. She communicates as if she's barely literate. We provide 13 years of taxpayer funded education and there's no excuse for such an appalling failure to grasp basic grammar."

Who is the "she" to whom you refer. Speaking of communication skills, yours are lacking. See my comment above. We all tend to make assumptions about people based on their understanding of English or the way they express themselves. I know I do. This is not just xenophobia. If you listen to Ron Angle's poor grammar, you think he's dumb. Many make that mistake to their chagrin. You would not know he reads several business publications daily, cover to cover. I try very hard as I age not to draw conclusions about people based solely on communication skills.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I thought a Zoning Hearing Appeals Board, a requirement for municipalities, had to consist of members NOT on the Zoning Hearing Board. Specifically, to prevent redundancy and futility in a those meetings."

An appeal of a ZHB decision goes to the courts. The denial of a building permit is NOT a decision made by the ZHB. It is a decision made by a code or zoning officer. The proper venue to hear an appeal of that denial is the ZHB.

In the case to which I refer, the ZHB has already ruled that Hyman's building is above the flood plain. The city zoning officer knows that because they are there. Someone, somewhere, directed a denial. It is clearly vexatious and an attempt to screw a potential candidate for mayor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"O'Connell is incompetent and has repeatedly shown that."

I disagree. O'Connell has a great deal of institutional knowledge and loves the city. He is a very good man. We all know a tax hike is needed after fed Ed's mismanagement. But you don't propose a 25% tax hike and hand out lollipops to your nonunion workers. That's just insane. You have to do the hard thing and say No. He should have eliminated many of the 30 or so new positions that suddenly appeared when fed Ed was elected. This is a time in which very tough financial decisions are needed. Water bills have doubled for Allentown residents, thanks to the city's mismanagement. Ray needs to think long and hard whether he should be at the helm in these tough financial waters. I have great respect for him bc he did wake up and stood against Fed Ed. He has great institutional knowledge. But he does not come from the private sector. He comes from the school district, which thinks we all have money trees in our back yard. We don't. Allentown needs someone with financial skills at the top. Based on Ray's budget, which fails tomake any serious cuts, I question whether he has that skill.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there should be lower standards for certain groups, regarding grammar. That's not too racist is it? The racism of low expectations is insidious and disgusting. Shame on you. There goes your admitted bigotry again.

Anonymous said...

Certain groups aren't as buoyant either, right? Sheesh. Old racists die hard.

LVCI said...

The racism of low expectations is insidious and disgusting.
Indeed-- on behalf of all my fellow dumb Dutchmen I feel offended as well. Just cause we don't pretty talk well as sum don't mean were awl idoits!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Yes, there should be lower standards for certain groups, regarding grammar. That's not too racist is it?"

No, it's not. It is a prejudice, and I freely admit to it. I tend to reach wrong conclusions about people based on their command of English. This is regardless of race or even ethnic group. My best friend, who is the smartest person I know, has a terrible command of grammar. So this is just one of my many flaws. I know others who share it.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who knows anything about politics and Allentown City Council knows that Cynthia Mota is the brains behind the scenes that really runs everything and she is a solid, competent, articulate leader!

It’s common knowledge that Zucal is unqualified for this position, MacLean could care less and the only people who take their roles seriously are Guridy, Robinson and I hate to admit, Hendricks.

The ‘regulars’ who attend city Council meetings and feel the need to speak on every subject at every opportunity they get are as incompetent as they come, namely, Ringer, Hahn, Hershman, Hunsicker and Heffenfarter.

I would imagine the next mayor is probably going to be one of the regulars who sits on a barstool at Ringers Roost. God help us!

Anonymous said...

“Heck of a job, Brownie.”