By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
As a candidate for public office, Mr. Thompson has made his tax returns public. The income reported from Liati is related solely to his duties as a member of Liati Group's board of directors.
Mr. Barrett also makes several inaccurate statements about my tenure as first deputy comptroller of the City of New York and my departure from that position. Beginning in March 1994, Mr. Barrett made accusations against me in the Voice alleging improprieties in my securing a loan to purchase a condominium apartment on the west side of New York City. He has recycled these accusations in other articles since that time.
The New York City Department of Investigations has never contacted me to question me about anything having to do with this loan. In addition, I was never questioned by any federal agency that may have looked into this matter.
These facts clearly indicate that, whatever Mr. Barrett's opinion, the relevant authorities found no material improprieties. This matter is completely closed.
Finally, Mr. Barrett alleges that I "ducked" him in his preparation for this article. In fact, I made several calls to his home, his vacation home, and his office. The fact that we did not speak was not a function of my failure to return his calls.
Michael W. Geffrard
Wayne Barrett replies: Liati filed a U-4 form with the National Association of Securities Dealers listing William Thompson as an employee and specifying his "employment start date" as May 14, 2001, and his registration category as "GS"the abbreviation for general securities representative. Asked during a taped interview with theVoice whether he was now employed by Liati, in addition to his role as a director, Thompson said, "I am working at Liati on an irregular basis." His tax returns would not reflect this additional employment since it only began three months ago, though he did say that he was not receiving any additional compensation from Liati beyond his director's stipend, as I pointed out in the article. The only article I ever wrote about Geffrard's bank and other financial manipulations actually appeared in April 1994, and he resigned eight months later, after a probe by the comptroller's counsel confirmed that he had "falsified" documents in the transaction. Apparently unaware that targets are rarely questioned in criminal investigations, Geffrard ignores the fact that everyone around him, including his wife, was questioned. Geffrard does not offer a scintilla of evidence to challenge my reporting that the comptroller and the Department of Investigations found wrongdoing. His letter implicitly confirms that the U.S. Attorney's Office also conducted a probe, though it is certainly true, as I reported, that he was never indicted. Without going into the details, Geffrard's attempt to evade answering any pre-publication questions of mine while pretending he was willing to talk certainly appeared to me to be an act of duplicity, one of the worst I've experienced in 23 years at theVoice.
I'LL TAKE MANHATTAN
After reading J.A. Lobbia's "Warning: Gentrification in Progress: A Case Study in Displacement on Elizabeth Street" [July 10], I must say that I am appalled at one of the statements made by Jay King, a penthouse tenant in a building being gentrified. While discussing the forcing out of old tenants with rent-controlled apartments for new tenants with higher rents, King said: "I don't think living in Manhattan is for everyone. I'm sure there's loads of upcoming young stockbrokers and lawyers who travel an hour or more to get to Manhattan. What keeps lower-wage workers from that kind of commute?"
I'd say it's pretty damn obvious why people with lower wages don't make that kind of commute. To them $3 daily for subway fare is a concern. But I don't know you would care, Mr. King, since you seem to be very happy living in your new penthouse apartment in the trendy part of town.
Next time try to think past yourself and have some compassion for others who have it a lot harder than you do.
Re "Warning: Gentrification in Process": Good article, and a fair portrayal of the rampant gentrification that is going on in lower Manhattan. The Voice should include more of these kinds of pieces. I'll be reading J.A. Lobbia in the future.
In response to the comment by new penthouse resident Jay King that "the Orientals we have here are very clean": Yes, we are the "Orientals" of King's Fu Manchu dreams. We are like the greedy Jewish sewer rats of Nazi propaganda films.
I am glad that there are such prejudiced assholes to remind us that we must unite behind a common cause.
Carol Cooper's "Guess Who's Coming to Dharma" [July 3] was a precise and pithy commentary about the obstacles people of color born in the U.S. have interfacing with a Buddhism heretofore dominated by the Caucasian bourgeoisie. As a mixed-race man of working-class origins, I studied both Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in my younger years, and the thinly masked social myopia and hostility Cooper describes were hardly rare. What especially surprised me was the apparent antipathy white mainstream Buddhists had to interacting socially with Buddhists of color, whether born into the faith or converts. Among the rare exceptions is the sort of engaged Buddhism taught by Thich Nhat Hanh, who is referred to in the article.