By Jeffrey Williams-Maisonet
District Leader Lew Simon column “Simon Says” states allegedly that Senator James Sanders J.r. of the 10th Senate District took money from the developer of the LA Quinta Inn.
“As many of you remember I was the first to take my bullhorn and march with the local homeowners at the site of a suspected hotel under construction on Beach 44 Street. We went to the home of the developer and owner of the construction site on Washington Avenue in Cedarhurst. He owns two homeless shelter hotels in Ozone Park. We worked closely with Steve Cooper, President of the Frank Avenue Civic Association who led the angry and frightened homeowners. We had a meeting with a La Quinta Corp. V.P. who said that the hotel would have to meet La Quinta standards and it could not become a homeless shelter for the next 5 to 10 years or they would remove their name from the hotel. Another lie.”
In Simon’s column, he also explains that it was a deal made by the Senator after the developer decided to break the community benefits agreement (CBA).
“Then-Councilman James Sanders Jr., who then represented the district, cut a deal after a community benefits agreement was cut by the developer. Rockaway residents would be hired at the hotel and a community room was to be made available for community use. At this time Sanders was running in a primary campaign for the nomination to the State Senate. He took a large contribution from the developer for his campaign. After the primary election, I called Mr. Sanders to congratulate him on his victory and thank him for allowing the welfare hotel to be built. He said he was fooled. Sanders campaign finance records show contributions from unscrupulous hotel owners.”
Simon concluded by stating the following.
” We have had many phone calls from the Coalition of Rockaway headed by Bruce Jacobs thanking me for being the only local elected official who stood up for these homeowners. We are not against homeless but want them to have permanent housing. Although Beach 44th Street is not in my current district, Rockaway is one community. United we stand, divided we fall.”
We will reach out to Senator Sanders Jr. for comment. Stay tuned!