RIOC Fail: Two Years Later, The AVAC Is Still Broken

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The once world-celebrated, unique system for handling trash on Roosevelt Island is still broken. Two years after the jams started and through many excuses – remember the bed frame? – the Shelton J. Haynes Roosevelt Island AVAC system is broken without any pending fix.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“The east side line of the AVAC System is out of service until further notice,” RIOC announced on Thursday, March 16th. Absent any explanation, the state agency that never gets it wrong also deferred responsibility: “RIOC continues to work with the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to address the issue.”

“What issue?” inquiring minds might wonder because the AVAC belongs exclusively to RIOC. After spending millions on system upgrades in recent years, all issues and fixes are on RIOC’s wobbly shoulders.

The state agency run by Governor Kathy Hochul and CEO Seldom Seen Shelton J. Haynes takes pains to shift blame.

The current failure affects a host of housing complexes and thousands of residents.

East Side Buildings Impacted on Main Street:

According to RIOC, that’s “405, 415, 425, 455, 460, 465, 475, 480, 510, 516, 536, 540, 548, 556, 560, 576 & 580.”

Still Broken: The Shelton J. Haynes AVAC System

What we know…

In the spring of 2021, Southtown residents woke up to hallways filled with stink. The Shelton J. Haynes AVAC System failed and accumulated trash rotted through 20 floors of chutes in multiple buildings.

RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes failed to address the breakdown in his namesake trash collection system. While stink swelled, Team Hochul/Haynes bunkered in silence as long as possible.

As months passed into years, the state agency that never gets it wrong remained silent about the causes of the problems. Pressed, months later, Team Hochul/Haynes hilariously blamed residents, accusing persons unknown of jamming a bed frame into a chute.

But no evidence, not even a photo, showed up and made the case. It was probably another recurring lie because excuse-making soon evolved into a leaky pipe causing a deep underground swamp.

So, where was that bed frame?

What Really Happened?

Weeks before the first breakdown, a new building at 460 Main Street opened, adding extra load on the Shelton J. Haynes Broken AVAC System.

While the CEO proudly played chess in the Shelton J. Haynes Blackwell House, others at RIOC diagnosed the problem. A team made up of CFO John O’Reilly, RIOC Owner’s Representative LiRo and designer Envac worked out a solution for a fix that would avoid overloading the system.

” Shelton ignored the issue and did not want to think about interim solutions.”

But not to worry.

“RIOC will continue to send updates via email, text, and social media as information is received,” it said, subtly detaching itself from fixes and failures.

You’ve gotta hand it to them. Nobody does it better than Team Haynes/Hochul. Evade responsibility, that is.


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