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RIOC Gently Knocks Down a Common Council PPF Appeal


A PPF appeal aimed at overturning RIOC’s decision to give the task of awarding Public Purpose Grants to New York Community Trust was rejected on Friday. In a letter posted on their website, President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes gently said, “No,” to the Common Council.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

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Among many poor choices leading to the Common Council’s ejection from Public Purpose Fund decisions was one funding tango lessons for $10,000./ Photo by Simone Ferrara on Pexels.com

The PPF Appeal

Among things leading to Haynes’s “Dear RIRA” letter (Read it in full here.) was the basic hopelessness of its appeal. The NYCT contract, signed in October, lead to a process active since then. For the first time, a clear set of values and goals were in place. And although a few nonprofits struggled with meeting qualifications, others were delighted with the change, especially noting the Common Council’s removal as a plus.

But even if the NYCT contract could be broken, the Common Council’s PPF appeal offered no coherent reason why it should. Instead, it reflected a lack of understanding over why it lost its authority in the first place. No admission of mistakes appears anywhere and, consequently, no suggestion that growth or change were possible.

Moreover, the appeal suggested, without any evidence, that it knew more about handling grants than the century old, multi-billion dollar NYCT.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The PPF appeal’s main author, Frank Farance, later blamed this newspaper for some of its problems in a falsehood-laden letter to numerous public officials. The Roosevelt Islander blog assisted by allowing Farance’s accusations to be spread across the internet. This did not help.

In his letter, Haynes thanked the Common Council for its efforts over the years and avoided placing blame on them or RIOC staff for the NYCT decision. Addressing other concerns, Haynes said this year’s grants would be awarded in May and also opened up with details about a local advisory group assisting NYCT.

Haynes’s letter was not released to the press nor did it include any copy list. Hit did conclude, however, with a laugher: “As always, our doors remain open and we look forward to engaging with community on this and all matters of concern.” This, of course, begs the question: Who really wrote this letter?

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