Friday, November 09, 2018
Allentown's $1.25 M Demo Contract Miraculously Shrinks to $200,000
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.