A Bronx councilman helped steer a projected stateless structure distant from a gathering his household owns, and present supports 2 shelters that galore successful the vicinity accidental don’t belong.
Two men’s shelters with 200 beds each are planned for 1374 Blondell Ave. and 2443 Poplar St. successful the borough’s working-class Westchester Square section.
Earlier this year, Councilman Mark Gjonaj and the section assemblage committee enactment the kibosh connected plans for a structure of the aforesaid size astatine 1682 Stillwell Ave., successful adjacent Morris Park and astir the country from 2100 Eastchester Rd. — a 70-unit flat gathering owned by the Gjonaj family.
The Democrat pol’s main of unit told the Bronx Times helium rejected the connection due to the fact that the “community [was] conscionable against that location.”
Paperwork for the Gjonaj building, 2100 Eastchester Rd.., lists a $7.65 cardinal mortgage; the constricted liability institution that owns it shares the headquarters of respective Gjonaj household real-estate businesses and the councilman’s aged non-profit, the Albanian-American Community Association. The owe documentation is signed by Paul Gjonaj, the councilman’s brother.
Gjonaj and Albert D’Angelo, the president of Bronx Community Board 11, “offered” Poplar Street “as an alternative” to the Stillwell Avenue plot, Erin Drinkwater, a lawman commissioner astatine the metropolis Department of Social Services, said astatine an Oct. 7 Bronx Community Board 11 meeting.
“Stillwell’s conscionable a atrocious location. It conscionable didn’t marque sense,” D’Angelo told The Post. He said helium was “not alert of” the Gjonaj’s family’s ownership of the adjacent building.
Gjonaj’s main of staff, Reginald Johnson, told The Post successful a statement: “The assemblage presented a elaborate database of concerns astir the archetypal site. The councilman stood with the assemblage and supported their position. Any proposition to the contrary is irresponsible and intentionally false.”
Sandi Lusk, 65, a longtime assemblage activistic and laminitis of the Westchester Square-Zerega Improvement Organization, told The Post her radical opposes the shelters due to the fact that “400 beds successful 1 assemblage is excessively much.” The 2 sites are conscionable a 10-minute locomotion apart.
The Poplar tract is besides crossed the thoroughfare from the playground of a schoolhouse for disabled children tally by Easter Seals and would reportedly cost a startling $360 million owed to required biology remediation, she added. The Department of Social Services didn’t instrumentality a petition for remark connected the cost.
The vicinity “has gone done immoderate precise pugnacious times,” Lusk said. “It’s going to overwhelm and destruct the area.”
D’Angelo, the assemblage committee chairman, said the Bronx has been “inundated” with much than its just stock of shelters — and that he’s against the Poplar and Blondell sites arsenic well. If they can’t beryllium canceled by the adjacent mayor, “I would similar the sites to beryllium much household oriented alternatively than azygous men,” helium said.
Gjonaj has been accused of ethical lapses successful the past.
In 2020, the Bronx territory lawyer investigated whether helium misused run wealth for his ain payment and co-mingled funds betwixt his committee and his Albanian group. The Bronx DA didn’t instrumentality a petition for remark connected the probe’s status.
In 2019, the City Council requested a review of whether helium utilized payer dollars to prosecute run donors to renovate his territory office. In 2018, helium steered $130,000 successful metropolis funds to his nonprofit. In 2017, his hostile accused him of utilizing public-housing abstraction arsenic a de-facto run office.
A rep for the metropolis Conflicts of Interest Board said that “confidentiality restrictions … prohibit the Board from disclosing whether it has received a complaint, is pursuing an probe of a matter, oregon has initiated an enforcement enactment against a nationalist servant.”