A Midwood community board official is under fire for testifying that the board backed a controversial $2 million supermarket tax break- even though the board never considered the issue.
Community Board 12 members and residents blasted the District Manager, charging he lied to city officials when he said the board supported giving $1.93 million break to Moisha’s Discount Supermarket to allow it to double its size.
City officials say the market, whose owner has given tens of thousands of dollars to local pols, qualifies for breaks targeted at neighborhoods desperate for fresh food, even though there are 10 other supermarkets in the area.
“I’m appalled,” said board member Maggie Tobin, noting much of the money will go to building new parking.
“I’m a community board member and I never heard of anything about it and, quite frankly, I don’t think it’s right that Moisha’s gets a couple of million dollars for a parking lot”.
The District Manager testified to the city Industrial Development Agency that “for the community board… we believe this will only help this community more and it’s going to help alleviate traffic, alleviate parking, so we are supporting this project the whole way.”
He defended speaking out in favor of the tax break, but conceded he never should have said the board was behind it. “It was the wrong choice of words,” he said.
But one board member wrote to Borough President Marty Markowitz complaining about the move, and some angry residents plan to confront the District Manager at tomorrow’s board meeting.
“We intend to storm the community board,” said neighbor Natalie Denicola. “ The corruption just has to stop at this community board.”
The tax break got preliminary approval from the IDA last week and goes up for a final vote next month.
CB12 member Sandy Aboulafia said she had no idea the District Manager had given the tax break the board’s backing until she got a call from a reporter.
“I don’t know why [the District Manager] would do that,” she said. “I’m definitely against that. Two million, we have plenty of people that need money. [ Moisha’s] is a gold mine.”
Board Chairman Alan Dubrow said the District Manager has apologized and will apologize again at the meeting. Moisha’s “expansion will help the community,” he said. “ But we never spoke about it… He should never have said it.”
(Source: NY Daily News)