Clearing the air

Ten days after watching news trucks line up on Grand & Lewis, here’s the question everyone around here is asking — do the charges against Sheldon Silver have anything to do with our coop?

There’s no indication that they do. Yet the prominent role played in the allegations against Silver by the same real estate law firm retained by East River Housing for tax certiorari work has kept cooperators buzzing.

The initial New York Times report that presaged the federal complaint quoted East River’s general manager, Harold Jacob, and referenced a letter in our most recent annual report written by board president Gary Altman. It was awkward to see our coop mentioned in the same article that first revealed the serious charges against Silver. Even more awkward, I think, is that neither Jacob nor Altman have yet addressed the elephant in the room.

In the letter below, delivered to Altman today, I’m asking him to clear the air. In particular, records that show that Goldberg was awarded our business through a legitimate bidding process should be released, as should our retainer agreements with Goldberg that would prove no one was receiving referral fees.

I assume that our business relationship with Goldberg is clean, and I expect it will be a simple matter for our board and management to show that. Then we can do away with whatever dark cloud this episode has cast over our home. But cooperators, I believe, deserve an answer to the question on everyone’s mind.