Sunday, April 29, 2007


Last week, Rudy Giuliani chided Democrats about their stance on terrorism. Giuliani, riding the wave of his 9/11 heroism, claimed that to elect a Democrat would invite another terrorist attack.
In February, 1998, Giuliani held a weekly press briefing lauding his efforts in terrorism prevention. He cited his experience as US attorney general and the value of FBI intelligence in thwarting an attack. He also spoke about the Office of Emergency Management which he takes the credit in creating. That office was headed by Jerry Hauer. Hauer, now curiously silent, quit after 9/11 due to differences with Giuliani. Among those were Giuliani's building his "bunker" in 7 World Trade complete with 6,000 gallons of fuel. Also, the lack of coordination between police, fire, and ems which Giuliani claims to have been ready for action through various training exercises. Democrats were angered for good reason. His boasts are empty. History has shown that the city was ill prepared for the attack of 9/11. And for Giuliani to imply a pompous sense of security prior to the attack of 9/11 is nothing less than despicable. Adding insult to injury, to state that a Democratic President would invite terrorism, when in reality the sitting president was a Republican when 9/11 occurred, is beyond the pale. One can only hope that as more contenders join the race, Giuliani's voice will fade into the distance. Click on video at:


Someone once said that the measure of a civilized society is the way in which it's prisoners are treated. If that is true, then the United States is severely lacking. The abuses of prisoners in Guantanamo were first a rumor, then a sad reality. The revelations continue to unfold. This does not mean that enemies of America should be given a free pass. However, if America is to be viewed as a leader, then the law of the Geneva Convention must be upheld. There is no alteration, lest we succumb to the level of the terrorism that created the situation. Here is an interesting video regarding the issue.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


By Eric K. Williams

WBAI, FM 99.5, is a radio outlet in crisis, and has been over the past 20-plus years. What is different now is that the stakes are higher than at any point in the 40-plus year run of the New York Pacifica station. Known as ‘Free Speech radio,’ the crisis this time around could very well mean New Yorkers may lose a valuable and independent voice. The continuing story of WBAI surfaces occasionally in the popular press but, it is largely under-reported and also, largely over-looked by those who write about the media locally. WBAI has been called “the land of a thousand dramas,” both by noted radio critics and those on the local broadcasting scene. It is seen as a battle-ground of opposing views and ideologies that often spill out over-the-air and, has even led to public clashes. For some it sounds like a watered-down version of the old short wave Radio Moscow, whose hosts engage in deadly-boring political discourse, play ancient music, but who occasionally ‘break’ a major news story other stations are afraid to touch. It is also viewed as the station promoting further Balkanization of the Metro scene and viewed as, the so-called ‘sick man’ of the New York broadcast outlets.

What has been a constant at WBAI is the freedom afforded to music and public affairs program hosts, as well as those reporters and producers inside the News Department. With that freedom during the times of Vietnam and Watergate, membership subscriptions and listener donations skyrocketed. Some would say even peaked. But since then, donations and audience numbers have fluctuated but, have largely declined.

WBAI sits between two powerhouse stations, 98.7 WRKS / KISS-FM, and WHTZ, better known as Z-100, with over one million listeners each. Yet, any potential ‘spill over’ of those who cross the radio dial is thwarted by programming some call a Balkanized, scattered, confusing and alienating mix. What’s more, the station faces stiff competition from what is arguably the more stable, and powerful, AM / FM combination of WNYC radio.

The current crisis, as the station sits with an audience level of under 200-thousand, and with a 0.3 Arbitron audience rating, is a fight between two warring factions. The reasons for the crisis are complex. For subscribers and occasional listeners, it is a chore to fully understand what the fuss is all about. Further confusing the picture is what often hits the local papers, magazines, blogs and, web sites of the unique, and troubled outlet. Yet, WBAI’s present-day crisis may be the most severe yet with what is at stake….. the future direction of independent and listener-supported radio in the New York area.

Inside WBAI is an atmosphere where “I feel there’s no ‘us’ anymore, just each group with its own little corner. There are Black nationalists who don’t have much patience for white people. There are young people who don’t want old fogies around. I always thought unity makes a lot more sense than separation. But a lot of people (at WBAI) don’t want to hear that anymore. Bob Fass, former radio commentator, is not alone in that view, as much of the station’s white and liberal audience has drifted away in recent years.

The warring factions inside WBAI include more than a dozen groups across the ethnic and politically left-leaning spectrum. From the various Hispanic groups, Gay and Lesbian activists, numerous Black perspectives, Asian and Pacific Islanders, Hip-Hoppers, old school and old style Rockers and, Caribbean activists, the station does offer an interesting mix of views. Yet, at the same time these very same voices want more air-time from an outlet with limited air space.

Also on the scene is a loose mix of broadcast professionals, some affiliated, some not, with the numerous factions inside WBAI. This grouping is largely independent of the numerous factions. Undaunted, this group continues in working overtime to make the Pacifica station one of New York’s most interesting, diverse and, competitive outlets.

One other and, currently the dominant, group is made up mostly of non-broadcasters. They are largely activists, community organizers and, ideologues, who care neither about ratings from Arbitron, nor so it seems, future audience growth. Preaching to the already converted, they call themselves the Justice and Unity Coalition.

Members of the J-U-C, as they are also known, include noted civil attorneys, peace activists and, some members of the local clergy. The J-U-C also has a strange, but politically potent, alliance with the Brooklyn-based December Fourth Movement. That is the same group which had ties to the late and controversial figure, Khalid Abdul-Muhammad. Expelled from the Nation of Islam in 1994, Muhammad was the main driving force behind the controversial, and some would argue, racist, Million Youth March in Harlem in the late 1990’s.

Along with playing the race card, members of the J-U-C have been accused of operating a political organization inside the Pacifica network, as a kind of government-in-waiting. As of this writing, it is the J-U-C that is in charge, largely, of funding, programming and many of the management decisions inside both WBAI and Pacifica.

However the picture is not all dark. There is hope on the horizon in spite of the numerous obstacles for the station with the infusion of new faces and new ideas. The new General Manager is Robert Scott Adams, who has been on-board since last November. Adams comes with an impressive broadcasting resume that includes, turning the Atlanta-based WCLK-FM into one of that city’s more competitive non-commercial stations. A radio veteran for over 30 years, Adams, who is the fifth WBAI G.M. in seven years, has found his new job formidable in making long-overdue changes to programming and staff. Those obstacles are what some would characterize as ‘a stubborn’ and nearly ‘unshaken-able culture’ that embraces the status quo. Adams, at this moment has the support of most WBAI staff and, Pacifica’s Greg Guma, who serves as a kind of network CEO and ombudsman. So far, it is slow going for both men on the much needed reforms inside the station. At stake, as many stations go under the control of media conglomerates like Clear-Channel, is the future of a truly independent outlet that has served as the ‘voice of the voiceless’ for over four decades. Also at stake, , is just how narrowly stations like WBAI can define its audience without becoming irrelevant. That battle and the outcome will largely define the future of all non-commercial media in the United States. Stay tuned….

Monday, April 23, 2007


New York City is composed of five distinct boros. Each known for an incredible array of wonderful cultures and ethnic groups. As the economic boom of it's Manhattan epicenter continues to ripple outwards to these boros, one remains unique. The Bronx aka the BX is 75% Black and Hispanic. It also has the largest Mung (Cambodian) community in the city and a growing African population. However, it is also burdened with the highest asthma and domestic violence rate in the city. But the real tragedy is how it has historically been used as a springboard for ambitious politicians and democratic bosses such as Roberto Ramirez. Lack luster boro President, Adolfo Carrion has seized the opportunity to showcase his skills as a potential mayor of the city of New York. But last week, he showed weak leadership in defending his boro against a racist German Army video. A video circulated on the Internet shows a German army sergeant barking orders at a recruit. "Now you're in the Bronx. A blast truck stops in front of you. Three African Americans get out and insult your mother grossly. Every time before you pull the trigger, I want to hear you shout motherf----r very loudly."

Carrion was quoted as saying, "Clearly, these folks don't know anything about African Americans or the Bronx." A tepid response to such an insult. In an ironic twist, Carrion had recently visited Germany at the behest of the mayor, to promote interest in the Bronx. Sadly, the BX is beginning to emerge from it's cocoon and no one is applauding. There is SOBRO, a new artist loft community. There is the world class Botanical Gardens and of course the famous Bronz Zoo. The Bronx needs an aggressive Public Relations advocate such as Brooklyn boro president, Marty Markowitz. The benign neglect of a once famous borough has allowed it's bad rap to become international. If Mr. Carrion wants to become mayor of New York City, he must prove that he can govern his own boro first. Until then, there will be no clapping......only the sound of "the Bronx Cheer".
See video at:

Sunday, April 22, 2007


By Luis A. García

On April 11th 2007, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died in New York city. Some part of me thought he never would, so it goes. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. had seven children, three of whom he adopted after his beloved sister Alice died of cancer and just two days after her husband died in an accident in 1958. He also had three children by his first wife, Jane Marie Cox and adopted one more child in 1982 with his second wife Jill Krementz. He studied biochemistry at Cornell University and received his M.A. in anthropology in 1972 from the University of Chicago after Cat’s Cradle was published and was accepted as his dissertation in anthropology. He believed there was no need to leave stories to the English majors and encouraged his scientific minded extended family to express themselves in art without yielding to any idea of literary or artistic orthodoxy.
By far he is not the only Vonnegut or Lieber (his mother’s maiden name) in the colorful history of his family to leave a mark and a legacy to humanity. From the first caffeinated beer, to German Nobility, hardware kings, architects, they are a long line of self described free thinkers. His children and wives have been no less extraordinary. They illustrate this through their books, art, photographs and acting. The subject of his family history and himself is one that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. shared with his readers. By becoming acquainted with the plays, doodles, paintings and short stories of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. one is able to experience something most rare, meeting a man from start to finish.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. had become the honorary president of the American Humanist Association in 1992 when his friend and well known novelist Isaac Asimov, the former president died. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. spoke at Isaac’s funeral. He had this to say:

"Being a humanist means that you try to behave as decently, as honorably, as you can without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. When we had a memorial service for Isaac a few years back, I spoke at it and said at one point, 'Isaac is up in heaven now'. It was the funniest thing I could think of to say to an audience of humanists. Believe me, it worked - I rolled them in the aisles. If I should ever die, god forbid, I hope people will say, 'Kurt is up in heaven now'. That's my favorite joke."

So Kurt is up in heaven now, talking it up with Saint Peter at the pearly gates along with so many of his favorite fellow human beings. And he’d like you to remember that “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” So it goes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Rudy Giuliani is an opera aficionado. But when it comes to jewelry, he prefers to sing about bling. Giuliani, a longtime Yankee fan, commissioned a Yankee themed watch custom designed by Jacob Arabov. The jeweler is also known as "Jake the Jeweler" by his core clientele of Hip Hop artists and Rappers. So rather than wear a "ho hum" Harry Winston staple, Rudy opted for the flash bought with cash. And herein lies the problem.

On June 15, 2006, Jake was marched out of his trendy east side store in handcuffs. Before he could remove his dollars from the spin dry cycle, feds charged him with money laundering. As they slipped the unfashionable bracelets on him, he remarked to a policeman, "Oh, I knew your boss, or your former boss. Yeah, Rudy Giuliani. I made his Yankee watch-very close friend of mine." That puts Rudy in the company of Sean Puffy Coombs, Tupac Shakur, Fifty Cent and Notorious Big, all clients of Arabov past and present. The clients that drew the feds to Arabov are a group called the Black Mafia. The government maintains that the Entertainment organization is a front for a $270 million dollar cocaine ring including murder. Arabov's accountant told police that Rappers brought money in by the bag load. "They would come in with bags of money. Most times, we would count it upstairs, but sometimes, they would count the money right downstairs." Why bother with cash if you don't have to?

Arabov's baubles are not cheap. They are expensive, ostentatious designs fit for the nouveau riche. But if diamonds are a girl's best friend, they appear to be politician's also. They keep the ego afloat. The money bought Arabov a $100,000 get outta jail bail and a high priced lawyer.

Despite their appeal to change the venue from Detroit to New York, the motor city won out. Arabov's trial is scheduled for later this year. Arabov is calling on good friends to testify as defense witnesses. Will Rudy take the stand on Jake's behalf? It remains to be seen. But first.....he has to check his watch for the time.

Photo displayed shows Jacob Arabov with Rapper Fifty Cent.


On April 18, 2007, anti-torture activists, including Baltimore's Max
Obuszewski and Joy First from Madison, Wisconsin, will gather in
Washington, D.C. outside U.S. District Court, 333 Constitution Ave. NW
at 8:30 AM before going inside for trial to face a charge of
disorderly conduct after being arrested on January 11.

Eighty-nine individuals, wearing anti-torture tee shirts, were
arrested in the atrium inside the federal courthouse while reading
names and stories of the men being illegally detained at Guantánamo.
Each activist in the atrium was representing a particular detainee.
Earlier that day, habeas corpus petitions were filed in the clerk's
office to request that the court hear the cases of the detainees.

A delegation attempted to meet with Chief Judge Thomas Hogan to
discuss the habeas corpus petitions and to urge him to take judicial
action against the detention center at Guantánamo Bay. When the
anti-torture advocates gathered in the atrium, federal marshals
informed them that Judge Hogan said the atrium was a free-speech zone.
However, the advocates were asked to remove their tee shirts and
signs. This seemed a contradiction from Hogan's perspective, so this
order was refused and those remaining in the atrium were taken into
custody. It is believed that this was the first mass arrest ever in
this federal courthouse.

When arrested, the protesters refused to provide any identification
stating they were there on behalf of the detainees. Surprisingly, the
arrestees were released with either Jane or John Doe written on their
citations, charged with disorderly conduct, and given a court date of
April 18. It is unprecedented that the police would release
individuals without proper ID or any address.

It is not clear whether the court, on April 18, will listen to the
grievances of the protesters regarding the conditions at Guantánamo.
If the court refuses to hear the protesters, they will take their
message to the streets of Washington, DC, processing to several key
locations in orange jumpsuits and black hoods, representing the
prisoners at Guantánamo.

The horrors of the government's actions at Guantánamo must never be
forgotten. On January 11th 2002, twenty hooded and shackled men
shuffled off a plane from Afghanistan arriving at the U.S. prison at
Guantánamo. In an attempt to sidestep the Geneva Convention
protections for prisoners of war, the Bush administration created a
new category of "enemy combatant" for these men captured in the "war
on terror."

Since that time, more than 1000 men and boys have been imprisoned at
Guantánamo. Accounts of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment have
been condemned by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and other
reputable bodies. The prisoners have resorted to hunger strikes as a
way of protesting their treatment. Many have attempted suicide; three
men killed themselves on June 10, 2006. Desperation, fear and
frustration mark their confinement. Five years later, only one
prisoner, David Hicks, has been convicted.

However, his hearing failed to meet basic legal norms. Many
prisoners have been released because no evidence has been found
against them, but close to 400 men remain in indefinite detention
without the hope of release. The United States has abandoned law and

The action on January 11 was endorsed by many peace and human rights
organizations including Witness Against Torture, Center for
Constitutional Rights, Code Pink, Pax Christi USA, United for Peace
and Justice, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, School
of Americas Watch, Declaration of Peace and War Resisters League.
The action followed the principles and guidelines of nonviolent civil
resistance from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.


Calls on Public Service Commission to mandate that Verizon provide

rebates to customers for chronically poor service

NEW YORK, NY (April 17, 2007) - In a filing yesterday at the New York

State Public Service Commission (PSC), Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo

criticized Verizon for providing “chronically poor” telephone repair

service in many parts of the State, and called for the PSC, which

regulates Verizon, to set stricter standards and mandate customer

rebates for inadequate service.

Currently, the PSC requires Verizon to repair 80% of phone lines within

24 hours of receiving a customer repair request. However, the Attorney

General’s office analyzed five years of data (2002-2006) and found

that Verizon had consistently failed to meet these regulatory standards.

Specifically, 20 out of Verizon’s 35 “repair service bureaus”

across the State chronically failed to meet the PSC’s standards.

These repair bureaus serve a total of 4.8 million customer phone lines,

about 62% of Verizon’s New York customers. In total, Verizon failed

to comply with the standards 35% of the time, although in some

individual bureaus the failure rate was as high as 82% of the time.

The Attorney General found that the bureaus with failing scores include

seven areas where Verizon is aggressively building out its new

fiber-optic internet, video, and telephone network, including

Westchester, Northern Queens, parts of Rockland and Putnam counties, and

all of Long Island. Other regions with poor service include Buffalo,

Albany, the Bronx, the Hudson Valley, Syracuse and Utica. The Attorney

General noted that Verizon appears to be neglecting to maintain its

copper-wire telephone service in favor of dedicating resources to expand

its fiber-optic services, and that it has no effective plan to address

this problem.

Cuomo said, “Verizon’s customers pay for and deserve good quality

phone service. Verizon cannot continue to short-change customers by

failing to repair faulty lines in a timely manner. The PSC should

immediately order rebates to frustrated customers, who rightly feel

cheated by Verizon’s failure to abide by the PSC’s standards.”

Cuomo continued, “We should not accept Verizon’s empty promises for

turning around its woefully inadequate repair service. The PSC needs to

send a strong message to Verizon: hear us now. Clean up your act.

Putting profits over minimally acceptable performance is no longer

acceptable in New York State.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007


This is a public service announcement to all intrepid non-New York journalists. When asking Rudy Giuliani about his personal life, approach with caution. He has been known to react with a violent verbal response. Slashing words and riddling reporters . He fills a room with bad vibes faster than Dick Cheney can fill a friend with buckshot.

Questions should be asked from the back of the room if possible. If you are in the front, prepare to walk backwards after pronouncing the last syllable of a final sentence. Do not attempt an interview on your own. It is best to work in groups such as a press conference. If in need of assistance, call a Democrat. Giuliani is alarmed and dangerous. The following clip is an example of a journalist who survived a Giuliani attack:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Don Imus called the women of the Rutgers basketball team "nappy headed hoes". And like the comedy of Buster Keaton movies and early vaudeville, it was assumed that the joke would be absorbed in the genre of accepted insult. After all......rappers say it. However, Imus struck a gasoline line and it exploded. Most minority communities have a brand of self deprecating humor. It takes the sting out of insults from outsiders. But that does not give "outsiders" the same privilege. The ideal image of Barbie, Madison Avenue and Hollywood have historically excluded Black women. The blond beauty and virtue held in a higher esteem. So Imus's remarks whether innocent or not served to reinforce a cruel stereotype. In a week where Anna Nicole Smith held a "whose the Daddy" contest posthumously, young Black girls wept at the accusation of being called "hoes". These were scholar/athletes reviled for pleasure and ratings.

Imus has apologized. There are calls for his firing. That will not solve the issue. One can only hope that a chastened Imus will serve to enlighten those who would find humor in racist remarks. And that his ten million dollars a year, Connecticut estate world will be brightened by the wisdom of the Rutgers girls basketball team.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Presidential contender Mitt Romney claims to be an avid hunter, although he hasn't fired a gun until recently. His opponent, Rudolph Giuliani also shoots. But in his case, it begins at his lips.

Back in the day, Giuliani was an advocate of hollow point bullets for police. Yet, he favored gun control. The hollow point bullet has deadly consequences. On impact, it expands to 160% of it's original size, leaving a huge hole. That's alright, according to Giuliani. Cops need all the help they can get. On the other hand, he states that gun control is a necessary deterrent to those who would seek that help in an unlawful manner.

This is one of the few political points that Giuliani has barely wavered from. The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobby. And if bears ever gain the right to vote, Giuliani could win points over that group. But until that time comes, seize the rare opportunity to view video where Rudy b.911 matches the Rudy of the moment.

Monday, April 9, 2007


Rudy Giuliani proceeds to confound and confuse the public on the issue of abortion. His platform appears to rest on three pillars. The first being that he would uphold the federal law on the right to abortion, although he is morally against it. The second is that as president, he would allow the State to form it's own rule. The third is that he is against referendums on the issue of abortion. This would mean that in a state such as South Dakota where they have had a referendum on abortion, that Giuliani would simultaneously permit and disallow the ruling. Confused? Well....that is the whole point. If you tell enough versions, enough times, you are bound to please part of the electorate.

Back in the day when Rudy b.911 reigned, he frequently bristled and launched into lectures that alternated as tirades. This video Rudy In The Raw (15) details his rant against a referendum on abortion. The "court of public opinion" will never be presided over by Rudy G. Watch Rudy rant at:

Thursday, April 5, 2007


When Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the oath of office as the 108th Mayor of New York City, New Yorkers were psychologically distressed after the terrorist attack of September 11th. The tragic events of 9/11 were a wake up call that America was as vulnerable as other countries such as Israel and Europe. But the bigger tragedy in the city was not only 9/11 but the division along racial and ethnic lines. The city that Rudy Giuliani left was a city profoundly divided. The racial tension was the legacy that Rudolph W. Giuliani bestowed to the incoming mayor. During the present administration, the mayor’s greatest accomplishment is how he was able to lessen the ethnic tension in the city. Today, there is a different mood. The Mayor deserves accolades.

(1) Other initiatives that Mayor Bloomberg has strongly advocated are his battle against illegal guns and dealers that sell to anyone regardless of their criminal past.
(2) His anti-smoking crusade and using his wealth to finance an anti-smoking agenda as a worldwide health hazard.
(3) His stand against the death penalty. He is not afraid to express his views. He disagreed with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on the issue. His view that the police used excessive force in the killing of Sean Bell didn’t bring kudos to him from the PBA, or, from The Detective Endowment Association.

Bloomberg is able to speak forcibly on "so called controversial issues", more than previous mayors. Due to his wealth, he owes no favors to political interests.

The present presidential aspirants of both political parties do not have the luxury and independence that Mayor Bloomberg has. There are credible rumors among the political pundits that the mayor is looking for an opportunity to jump into the race as an independent candidate. It will be difficult for anyone, regardless of their fortune to win the presidency as a third party candidate.
If Mayor Bloomberg were to run, he may be able to do for the country what he has done for the city. It is a different city than the one governed by Rudolph Giuliani.

YOUR FREE PRESS takes this opportunity to urge Michael R. Bloomberg to become a candidate for President of the United States. The country needs a manager and the country needs a change. This blog is conducting a survey of your opinion. Please comment on a Bloomberg presidency pro or con. Click on Bloomberg video at the link below.

Monday, April 2, 2007


As the presidential primary moves closer, the original personality of the players becomes more distant. Consultants and image-makers continually seek to refine their clients for the political market. Hillary Clinton acquires a black southern accent, Obama quits smoking and Rudy Giuliani softens his edges. Even Rudy’s wife has been reigned in. Appearing on Barbara Walters in a tasteful “Connecticut” outfit, Judy’s words seemed almost scripted. Gone were the testosterone bragging rights about her husband. In place, she deferred to her mate. Rudy described her as a person “who loves people”. Perhaps this is true, but back in 1994, the love was all but forthcoming. In 1994, Judy Nathan was driving a rental car. According to AN INVESTIGATIVE BIOGRAPHY OF RUDY GIULIANI by Wayne Barrett, Judy struck a black pedestrian messenger. Thirty one year old Gary Wilson was crossing a street in Brooklyn with the WALK sign. Judy, then Nathan, claimed to have made a “slow” left hand turn. Wilson was thrown up onto the hood of her car and taken semi conscious to a hospital with a fractured head and other injuries. Nathan, a registered nurse, claimed that she smelled alcohol on Wilson and ripped his walk man headphones off. In reality, Wilson’s headphones were tucked under his jacket because it was raining. And despite her version of the incident, Gary Wilson was awarded $100,000 in January 2000 as the result of a lawsuit against her.

Since Mrs. Giuliani is interested in a cabinet advisory position on Public Health, she might consider traffic safety as a subcategory. “When you’re a nurse” Judy said, “You learn crisis management and organizational skills.”

Sunday, April 1, 2007


As the plight of Bernard Kerik continues to envelop presidential hopeful, Rudolph Giuliani, there is yet another name to add to the list of "Rudy's Raiders". Anne Compoccia was a trusted appointee. Giuliani named her as a point person for the famous, yearly San Gennaro Festival. A huge gathering of tourists and locals celebrating Italian culture, food and music in the "Little Italy" section of Manhattan. Compoccia's job was to insure that revenues owed to the city from the festival be collected and turned over. Compoccia thought otherwise. After many years as a San Gennaro official, Compoccia was indicted on charges.

Archives of the Mayor's Press Office
Date: September 10, 1997
Release #538-97

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958, Dwight Williams (212) 788-2972 or Adam Macy (212) 608-0333 (Figli di San Gennaro)


Last Year's Feast, Free of Organized Crime's Influence, Raised $150,000 for the Children of the New York City Archdiocese

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today kicked off the 70th Feast of San Gennaro, an 11-day cultural and religious celebration that benefits the children of the New York City Archdiocese. Joining the Mayor at today's announcement were Anne Compoccia, President of Figli di San Gennaro, Inc., Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro, Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington and Richard Mark, the Feast's independent monitor who will oversee the financial operation of this year's festival.

"The Feast of San Gennaro is one of New York City's special cultural attractions," Mayor Giuliani said. "From all five boroughs and from all over the world, families come to the festival to enjoy the carnival rides and Italian cuisine that makes this event so unique. But ,for years, control of the Feast of San Gennaro had fallen into the hands of organized crime. Reputed mob figures extorted money from vendors and ran illegal gambling operations while charities benefited little and the mob profited greatly.

"Two years ago, the tide began to turn," the Mayor continued. "I appointed an independent monitor, John Sabetta, to investigate the financial operations of the Feast. Based upon his recommendations, I removed the corrupt festival organizers and replaced them with Figli di San Gennaro -- Children of San Gennaro. Thanks to the efforts of Figli di San Gennaro, under the leadership of Anne Compoccia, the festival produced more than $150,000 for Catholic schools and parishes on the Lower East Side. This year, our efforts continue -- Figli di San Gennaro is back for a second year in a row to ensure that all of the festival's net proceeds go to charity and I have appointed Richard Mark the Feast's new independent monitor. I urge all New Yorkers to take a trip down to Mulberry Street to enjoy the sights and sounds of the new and improved Feast of San Gennaro."

Anne Compoccia, President of Figli di San Gennaro, said, "This is a tradition carried on for 70 years, a tradition handed down from our grandparents. And now, we are able to use our cultural traditions to benefit those New Yorkers who need help the most, our children."

Early in 1995, a Manhattan federal grand jury charged that the Feast of San Gennaro, at the time operated by the Society of San Gennaro Naples & Suburbs Inc. ("Society"), was controlled by La Cosa Nostra and that these forces influenced aspects of the Feast. In September 1995, Mayor Giuliani threatened to shut down the festival if the event's organizers failed to open their books to a City-appointed independent monitor. The Feast's organizers agreed to this condition and John C. Sabetta was named independent monitor. At the conclusion of the Feast, Mr. Sabetta presented a report to the Mayor.

* Among his many findings were: That the "Society" was not a genuine not-for-profit but a group operated for the private benefit of mob associates and friends.
* From at least 1993 to 1995, the "Society" failed to conduct the Feast honestly and to comply with its charter as a charitable organization. With revenue ranging from $300,000 to $400,000, only a small portion, approximately three percent, went to charity.
* Illegal gambling was operated on private lots adjacent to Mulberry Street. The "Society" most likely had a substantial financial interest in this activity.
* The "Society" lavished excessively profitable contracts on two well-connected suppliers -- a decorative lighting contractor and a waste removal firm.

Mr. Sabetta concluded that for the Feast to continue, the City must issue the permit to a sponsor other than the "Society." In 1996, Mayor Giuliani did just that awarding the San Gennaro permit to Figli di San Gennaro (Children of San Gennaro) established by the Archdiocese of New York City to operate the festival fairly and to ensure that all of the event's proceeds would go to the children of the Church. Last year, Figli di San Gennaro raised more than $150,000 for the Archdiocese.

For decades, organized crime imposed a "mob tax" that artificially inflated business costs and consumer prices in New York City. The Giuliani Administration has ended organized crime's control of the Fulton Fish Market, the private carting industry and the City's public wholesale food markets.

The results have been remarkable:

A comprehensive licensing program at the Fulton Fish Market that removed corrupt parties from the market has resulted in a 20 percent reduction in unloading costs, a 70 percent reduction in loading costs and an 80 percent reduction in carting costs. The quantity of fish coming into the Market has risen by 50 percent. All told, this has caused a five percent reduction in prices for the top 20 finfish by sales volume (adjusted for the national rate of inflation this reduction in fish prices is 12 percent). After the Giuliani Administration established the Trade Waste Commission to remove corrupt parties from the private carting industry, numerous national carting firms that avoided the New York City market began to compete here, causing prices to plummet. The City was able to reduce the maximum rates that carters can charge by 20 percent. The elimination of the "mob tax" on private carting is saving City businesses more than $350 million annually.

The same reforms seen at the Fulton Fish Market and the private carting industry are now being implemented at the Hunts Point Produce Market and will be introduced at the City's other public wholesale food markets, such as the Gansevoort Meat Market and the Brooklyn Terminal and Meat Markets.

The Feast of San Gennaro runs from September 11th to September 21st. All proceeds from the Feast benefit schools and local parishes on the Lower East Side. The schools that receive contributions from the Feast are largely low-income, non-Catholic families.

MANHATTAN: An activist in Little Italy picked by Mayor Giuliani to run a mob-free Feast of San Gennaro ended up skimming money from Mulberry St. merchants, prosecutors charged yesterday.

Anne Compoccia, head of the Children of San Gennaro and longtime chairwoman of Manhattan's Community Board 1, was charged by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White with one count of bank fraud.

The money came not from the San Gennaro festival, but from fees merchants paid to a Compoccia-led group that collected "rent" to turn Little Italy's most famous street into a summertime pedestrian mall, prosecutors said.

Compoccia, a well-liked activist who grew up in Little Italy was released without having to post bail and declined to comment.

She faces a $1 million fine and up to 30 years in jail.

In 1995 federal prosecutors indicted several members of the Genovese crime family, alleging that they secretly controlled San Gennaro, the city's biggest street fair.