to Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields Regarding A "Conflict
of Interest" on Community Board 2 -
Dear Ms. Fields,
For some time the Greenwich Village Block Associations (GVBA) has had serious
concerns regarding the composition and conduct of Community Board 2. We have
voiced those concerns on many occasions and have hoped to work with your office
to make the Board representative of the community and responsive to it.
When Bob Rinaolo was appointed Chair of the Business and Institutions Committee
of CB 2, the GVBA was convinced that this appointment represented a “conflict
of interest.” Mr. Rinaolo operates licensed premises and it was foreseeable
that issues impacting his professional and personal finances would appear for
consideration by this committee.
Now, it has become clear that this appointment was, indeed, ill advised and
constitutes a “conflict of interest.” Mr. Rinaolo has applied for
an alteration to his current liquor license to expand his business at the Garage
Café so that liquor may be served on its rooftop. Even if Mr. Rinaolo
recuses himself from the pertinent discussion and from the vote on his own
application, his position as chair and member of the committee will seem to
influence the final outcome. This reflects badly on all concerned.
Although there will be a new Board Chair in four more months, the current chair
has been quoted recently concerning “conflict of interest” with
regard to the Waterfront Committee. Surely, Ms. Lees should re-examine all
appointments for “conflict of interest” problems. In any event,
we trust that the incoming Board Chair will make another selection for this
committee. In our view, Mr. Rinaolo’s appointment as Chair of the Business
and Institutions Committee may be the most inappropriate appointment on CB2.
We request that Mr. Rinaolo explore other venues to demonstrate his civic concern
and that he be replaced as Chair of the Business and Institution Committee