The 150 unit building on 6+ acres of beautifully manicured land was sold for $17 million, 1/3 less than its future estimated value. $7 million went to fees and expenses and we were left with $10 million. In today’s real estate market, that’s a drop in the bucket.
Back in 1982, TWU Local 100 invested in a rent assisted apartment complex named the Daniel J Gilmartin Memorial Apartments – TWU Senior Assisted Living. The property was being managed and operated by HUD and utilizes the Section 202 Federal housing program to make rent affordable to lower income tenants. The arrangement being, that after 40 years the property would revert to TWU Local 100. So by the year 2022, TWU would be the owner of a 150 unit apartment complex in an up and coming neighborhood on the border of Corona and Rego Park near Horace Harding Blvd.
WHY SELL OUR FUTURE?
Every subsequent Union administration saw to it that our investment was safeguarded. Then along comes Samuelsen. In an obvious effort to subsidize the Local’s irresponsible spending and close their consistently growing budgetary gap, they sold our future to subsidize the present. It has been no secret that the Samuelsen administration over the last 61/2 years, with the complete knowledge and permission of Secretary Treasurer Earl Phillips, has been blowing through our dues money like water.
The 2015 LM-2’s (Labor Management Reporting) shows a budget that’s closer to being in the black but that’s due to three very important factors. An influx of money into the general fund from this Gilmartin Houses sale, the $6 million Cuomo contract bribe into the labor fund, and the MTA agreeing to forgive the $2.5 million Union staff medical benefits debt that Samuelsen and the gang ran up over the years.
It’s not even enough that we have management paying off our debts, but we are cannibalizing our investments.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE MEMBERSHIP?
By selling this property at this point in time, we fell short of the finish line to capture the full benefit of our 34 year investment. There are a few possibilities that an administration with vision would have been able to capitalize on.
- After we took full control of Gilmartin, the property would have been worth, in excess of $45 to $60 million. It then could have been sold in order to build a true Union Hall, in a place convenient for all members, equipped with commercial rental space and a membership hall large enough for mass meetings and gatherings.
- As is, the property could have been used to sell and/or rent apartments to members at an inside price. The property grounds would have been set up with parking, a children’s playground, and a common area for relaxation. A meeting hall could have been built to satisfy those members living and working in Queens and Long Island.
- 150 units (112 one bedroom apartments and 38 studio type apartments) is the building’s capacity right now. Apartments could have been sold at full market value to the public and at an inside price to members. Construction could change the size and arrangement of the apartments and increase the selling price of each unit. TWU Local 100 members would sit on the board of directors to oversee the property. The property would have adequate parking, a gym, and a pool.
This is just another example how the vision is lacking in Local 100. The Samuelsen administration has mortgaged the future of our organization irreparably. He and his crew have mortgaged the future of new and seasoned members just to subsidize the irresponsible and unethical spending at Local 100 in order to ensure the political career of John Samuelsen.
Officers you voted for condone this behavior by turning their backs and pretending our spending addiction doesn’t exist. No one will change anything for you until you take matters seriously and do something about it. Transport Workers United will continue to fight for the integrity, the transparency, and the accountability of our leadership and our organization.
– Joe Campbell
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