Membership: Who we are, where we live (Garden City), and related campaign donations
Joseph Risi Jr takes over as chairperson after 43 years of faithful service by Vinicio Donato. The only residency requirement for service to the community board service is to live in one of the five boroughs. You do not have to be a resident to serve on the community board. But you do have to live in the city.
Many board members (and the district manager) are non-residents. Sometimes, when their profits are at stake, board members actively fight against the interests of residents. There is no residency requirement. By law, one must only live in New York City and have financial, business, or development interests in the area.
Joseph Risi Jr claims to have lived in Astoria for about 50 years. Maybe Risi Jr has been living in Astoria all these year. Maybe. But we doubt it.
Best we can guess, Risi Jr hasn't lived in these parts for at least 25 years. But that's OK. Maybe he lived on 75th St in Jackson Heights. That's legal. But maybe for the past few decades, just maybe, the new chairperson of Queens Community Board One has called a million dollar house (Zillow estimate) in Garden City, Nassau County, his home.
One might also wonder about Joseph Risi Jr's Nassau County residency based on his campaign donations in 2012 and 2013. And there's this press release from 2005. Of course none of could be true, because it would be illegal to serve on Queens Community Board 1 while living outside New York City. No doubt. (What is it about the "junior" sons of honorable judges?) Throughout his career, Risi Jr has lived up the highest ethical standards.
Risi Jr is a lawyer for property developers, not that that matters, either, since the law also prohibits any direct financially benefit to the hard working volunteer members of the community board. So that doesn't happen, either. Risi and Associates have a minimalist public front. But who are we to criticize web design. We wouldn't be able to keep up CB1Queens.org were it not for our computer savvy grandkids!
Risi's office space is in a Criterion Group building. None of this matters, of course. But land owned by Criterion Group does occasionally come up often at Community Board meetings regarding zoning and perhaps tax abatements and the like. Of course none of this affects Risi's volunteer service to the community. Thank you, Joseph Risi Jr, thank you, for your continued ethical service to our community!
Kudos to those who care so much about the Queens Community Board 1 area that they still serve, for free, even though such service cannot, by law, directly benefit financially, despite their financial interests in the area. Confused? So are we.
The new District Manager is Florence Koulouris, the previous manager's assistant. Says Koulouris, "I knew the restaurants, I knew the business owners, I knew what was going on in the community, I was familiar with the politicians. It was a very clean transition." It is not clear if Koulouris knows the residents, since she isn't one. Koulouis assures residents that she does "everything but sleep here," which she does in Douglaston.
On the plus side, since 2014, after four decades of Vallone rule, we rather like Costa Constantinides. We're finally starting to see some working-age community board members don't own property and -- rather than trying to preserve parking, the past, and their profits -- care about the future of the neighborhood in which they live!
Members are appointed by the council person or borough president, Melinda Katz.
Dollar amounts (listed below) are only direct reported donations and do not include attendance at fund raisers and benefits and the like (the amounts of which are often far in excessive of the money directly given). Dollar amounts do include donations from presumed close family members. Corrections are always welcome.
Speaking of politicians: We Love them! That's why we give them money. Maybe not as much as we did in the Vallone Jr days, but it's not a lot of money for those who have chosen to participate in the democratic process in such a philanthropic manner. All in all, a bargain, you might even say. Lucille Hartmann, the former Queens Community Board 1 District Manager said, “What makes this city run fairly decently is to get along with your elected officials.” And what better way to get along than hand over cold hard cash? Besides, financial contributions to elected officials are a key part of the democratic process and a constitutionally protected form of free speech. Queens Community Board 1 is certainly not against free speech. Are you?
The first dollar amount listed represents donations to Costa Constantinides. For a little historical perspective, the second number represents past donations to the Vallone family, who ruled this area for four decades.
Executive Board - Community Board 1
- Chairperson: Joseph Risi, Jr. ($500, $3,050); Attorney, Risi & Associates; Probably doesn't even live in the city. Appointed 1989.
- First Vice Chairperson: George L. Stamatiades ($450, $2,725), Stamatiades and Quinn & Sons Funeral Homes, appointed 1982.
- Second Vice Chairperson: Norma Nieves-Blas ($0, $0), appointed 1987.
- Third Vice Chairperson: Jean Marie D’Alleva ($0, $70), Health & Social Services/Seniors committee, appointed in the 1990s.
- Executive Secretary:
- Sergeant-at-Arms: Edward Babor ($100, $2100), appointed 2001.
Queens Community Board 1 - Committees and Chairpersons
- Airport Access: Rose Marie Poveromo ($660 to Costa, $1,550 to Vallones), presumed non-resident, UCCA, many decades on the community board.
- Access and Disability Concerns: Daniel Aliberti ($0, $60), presumed non-resident, Queens Independent Living Center.
- Capital/Expense/Community Development: Norma Nieves-Blas ($0, $0), appointed 1987.
- Consumer Affairs: Joseph Risi, Jr. (see above).
- Education: Linda Perno ($0, $1,060), appointed 1987.
- Environmental Projection: Joan Asselin ($0, $75), appointed 1978.
- Health & Social Services/Seniors: Jean Marie D’Alleva (see above).
- Housing: Mary O'Hara ($0, $400), appointed 1990.
- Industrial Commercial: Edward Babor ($100, $2,100), appointed 2001.
- Parks & Recreation/Cultural Affairs: Richard Khuzami ($0, $4,640), appointed 2002.
- Public Safety: Antonio Meloni ($0, $6,280), appointed 1988.
- Street Festivals: Ann Bruno ($0, $650)
- Transportation: Robert Piazza ($0, $0), appointed 1989.
- Youth: Jose Batista ($0, $50)
- Zoning and Variance: John Carusone ($0, $2,050), architect for local developers, presumed non-resident, appointed 1988.
Other Queens Community Board 1 Members
- Rose Anne Alafogiannis ($150 to Costa, $4,225 to Vallones), appointed 2004.
- George Alexiou ($3,275, $2,375), real estate agent.
- Gerald Caliendo ($850, $12,275), non-resident, appointed 1977.
- Joanna D'Elia ($0, $1,020), appointed 2005.
- Dolores DeCrescenzo ($0, $400).
- Mary Demakos ($0, $925), presumed non-resident.
- Antonella DiSaverio ($0, $0) (a modest $150 to Van Bramer), appointed 2011.
- Elizabeth Erion ($0, $100).
- Mackenzi Farquer ($0, $0), appointed 2014.
- Dean O. Feratovic ($0, $0), presumed non-resident, appointed 2011.
- Evie Hantzopoulos ($0, $0), appointed 2010.
- Amy Hau, Naguchi Museum (a modest $100 to Bramer), appointed 2015.
- Paulie Jannelli ($0, $100).
- Venessa Jones-Hall ($0, $0), appointed 2015.
- Nancy Konipol, ($1,250, $0), appointed 2014.
- Jaroslaw (Jerry) Kril ($100, $5,280), appointed 2008.
- Melanie La Rocca, presumed non-resident, appointed 2015.
- Vincent G. Marsanico ($0, $0) (a modest $125 to Bramer), appointed 2010.
- Frances Luhmann-McDonald ($210, $2,380), presumed non-resident, appointed 2007. Former Vallone aide and member of UCCA.
- Prabir Mitra ($0, $750), appointed 2009.
- Kevin Mullarkey ($0, $525).
- Stella Nicolaou ($0, $0) (a modest $50 to former Boro Pres Marshall).
- Gus Prentzas ($850, $500), presumed non-resident, appointed 2001.
- Yawne Robinson, serving since 2014 ($0, $0) (a modest $50 to Boro Pres Katz).
- Rudolfo Sarchese ($175, $970).
- Nancy Silverman ($25, 0) (and a modest $50 to Van Bramer), appointed 2014.
- Dominic Stiller DSENY Engineer (250 to Van Bramer), appointed 2015.
- Danielle Tharrington ($0, $0), appointed 2013.
- Marie Torniali ($0, $425), appointed 2010.
Again, the first dollar amount listed above represents donations to Costa Constantinides. The second number represents past donations to the Vallone family (who represented the area for the previous 40 years).
Presumed close family is when a person with the listed occupation of "student" or a woman "homemaker" who have the same last and zip code as a board member. Residency is determined from the zip code provided by the donor
All donation figures come from http://www.nyccfb.info and include this disclaimer: "The data are presented as reported by campaigns. Due to the filing of amended disclosure statements, data may not appear as originally reported, and data may be subject to change."
CB1Queens.org would further like to emphasize that though we have made the best attempt to be as accurate as possible, there may be errors in computation or presumed family relations. Amounts are therefore estimates from late 2013 and can and should be checked at http://www.nyccfb.info. If any errors are discovered, please notify the webmaster at the address below and they will be promptly corrected.