Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chinatown Property Owners declare Victory in Getting the city to rescind $400,000 in illegal BID taxes


property owner Jan Lee , and AALDEF attorney Bethany Li (to the left of Jan)


On April 10th Chinatown property owners (PTP Inc.) and The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund held a press conference to declare victory in succeeding to get the City to rescind an illegally imposed Chinatown B.I.D. tax which would have retroactively reimbursed the Chinatown Partnership LDC BEFORE the Chinatown BID was even a legal entity.

""This misappropriation of our funds lived up to every suspicion that we had going into this," said Lee, 46, whose family has owned property in the neighborhood for 80 years. Lee, who has been a loud opponent of the formation of the BID, said that the incorrect fees add up to hundreds of thousands of illegal charges across different owners." - Village Voice 


"Li, from AALDEF, said it's a troubling sign that the city -- which now oversees 67 BIDs -- made this kind of error. "My understanding is [the city] just misunderstood the law, which is problematic given that this is their 67th BID."Ultimately, she added, the fees of the BID can be burdensome to longtime businesses who have to participate.  - Village Voice


"[Wellington] Chen called the issue a "technicality," dismissing AALDEF's characterization of the BID fees as being "illegal." "This is an accounting issue," Chen said. "It does not warrant wasting time and energy." - www.dnainfo.com 
Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20120409/lower-east-side-east-village/city-refund-300k-chinatown-property-owners#ixzz1rn9OlvZY

According to the Interim Chinatown Business Improvement District Board of Dir's minutes:
minutes:
Treasurer’s Report
Tony Wong reported that the board needs to decide on the fiscal year and the billing date for the BID.
There are two options: 1) start the billing in July 1, 2011, when Chinatown Partnership started paying the expenses for the BID; or 2) October 1, 2011 when the BID was officially approved and the Partnership extended the service to the entire BID’s service area.

Eddy Eng mentioned that once the BID decided on the billing date, the property owners will receive the bill in April, and once the BID’s bank account is set, the BID will receive 75% of $1.3 million dollars (the BID’s budget), and 50% of the FY 2013’s Annual Budget by July 2012.

After all the considerations and discussions, the motion to approve the Chinatown District Management Association’s fiscal year as July 1 to June 30; and start the DMA assessment billing on October 1, 2011, passed unanimously.

Eddy Eng also suggested using a special occasion to announce the billing to the community and in a positive way.

Acknowledgment of Chinatown Partnership
Wellington reported that the Chinatown partnership has been paying for all the BID’s expenses since July of 2011 and is now in a cash flow situation. The Partnership already laid-out more than $200,000 dollars for the BID and cannot sustain forever in this fashion.

David Louie acknowledges all the works the Partnership’s board has done for the BID and suggested a donation or reimbursement to the Partnership for the expenses they had incurred once the BID receives its funding.
Motion to approve the reimbursement to the Chinatown Partnership of necessary and verifiable expenses related to the BID from July 1, 2011 until the BID receives its own funding passed unanimously.

 CDMA Interim Board Members Present:
Jimmy Cheng, United Fujianese American Association
Kenneth Cheng, Fukien American Association
Peter Cheng, Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation
Stephen Cheung, D.H. Realty & Management
Anthony P. Colombini, Esq., Chu and Partners
Eddy Eng, Small Business Services, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office
Frank F. Gee, Gee Poy Kuo Association
Dr. Wilson Ko, Multispecialty Physician Group
Meng Lao, representing Jack Eng, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
Peter Lau, Confucius Pharmacy
Dr. Chun Ka Luk and Bernice Luk, Broadway Chinatown Realty
Gabe B. Mui, the American Legion Lt. B.R. Kimlau Memorial Post 1291
Sio Wai Sang, Golden Jade Jewelry
Tony C. Wong, Wong & Co., CPA’s
Wellman Wu, Kam Man Food, Inc.
Jimmy Yan, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office
Chih-Ping Yu, Lin Sing Association
Other Class E Representatives:
Mary Cooley, Senator Daniel Squadron’s office
Karen He, Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver’s office
John K. Leo, Community Board #3
Michael Levine, Community Board #1
Iris Quinones, Hon. Nydia Velazquez
P.O. Nicky Teo, NYPD 7th Precinct
P.O. Sue Too, NYPD Community Affairs Bureau
Antony Wong, Community Board #2
Xiao Min Zhao, Council Member Margaret S. Chin’s office
Chinatown Partnership
Wellington Chen
Shu Mei Guan Chow Lamgen Leon
Tony Wong

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Once Trashed by Cyclists and Skateboarders Kim Lau Square is Now in Full Bloom Thanks to Chinatown Volunteers

            Local residents around Kim Lau Square have been working hard to reclaim their once peaceful park from menacing skateboarders and trick cyclists for the past several years. Volunteers Nancy Linday and Jeanie Chin, both residents of a nearby residential building led the effort in organizing nearly a dozen people to beautify and protect the Square. They hope the new plants will prevent the skaters from using planters as ramps, and create a more appropriate use of open space for locals and tourists to enjoy. The addition of more park benches, intentionally placed in the exact spot where skateboarders illegally cemented over the hand laid cobble stones to smooth surface so they could use it as a ramp, have curtailed the skateboarders use of Kim Lau square significantly. Residents worked closely with elected officials and the Parks Dept. to place the benches in the exact spots that would eliminate skateboard jumping and cycling.
Kim Lau Square planters before volunteers planted bulbs provided free of charge by 
Partnership For Parks

photo: CCRC  (click to enlarge photo)  Kim Lau Square planters April 2012, in full bloom.
 The benches were installed by the Parks Department after a tremendous amount of community advocacy and political will. 
photo: CCRC  (Click to enlarge photo)

Today the square is in full bloom thanks to the volunteers who, in an effort to preserve the beauty of Kim Lau Square, part of Chatham Square, joined together for a day of gardening and cleaning back in  November, 2011. 
photo: CCRC (click to enlarge)
Sing Tao Newspaper (click to enlarge photo)


They planted  various bulbs (all provided free of charge) over the course of a few hours with the guidance of Partnership For Parks, who provided tools, gloves and expertise to the novice garden volunteers.
Kim Lau Square today , photo CCRC (click to enlarge)


Kim Lau Square last August, photo: Downtown Express



Last August Downtown Express reported on the rogue cyclists and skateboarders trashing Kim Lau Square, which is home to the memorial arch dedicated to Ben Kim Lau and veterans of Chinese American decent.
C.C.R.C.'s volunteers and friends spent considerable time documenting the nearly complete take over the Square by obnoxious skateboarders and trick cyclists using the area as their private playground. 
Today the space is used by musicians, tourists and residents who can relax without the threat of a bicycle hitting them, or a skateboarder slamming into them.