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February 5, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
BP.TV has learned that the “Kabuki Theater” produced by Sheldon Silver’s office and Bob Townley’s Manhattan Youth community center, which expressed “outrage” over the closure of the Stuyvesant Community Center, has gone silent.
Recall, the BPCA’s then COO, Anne Fenton, decided to defund the seldom-used Stuyvesant community center and save a few hundred thousand dollars. Then, Mr. Townley expressed interest in expanding from Tribeca into BPC’s Stuyvesant High School with his Manhattan Youth. He helped lead a protest against the closure of Stuyvesant in the Asphalt Green community center during the November 4th CB1 meeting. During the meeting, Mr. Townley suggested that his team could take over the management duties.
The backdrop to all of the drama was the other decision by the BPCA to stop the $250,000 per year free grant giveaway to Manhattan Youth. After those funds were cut off, Mr. Townley began emphasizing the service he provides for BPC, even stating at a CB1 meeting, “I can tell you that Manhattan Youth serves more people in Battery Park City than any other organization.”.
The Stuyvesant community center closure issue gained some local press, and the BPCA decided to remove the COO, Anne Fenton, as well as Matt Monahan and other senior staffers. The authority then hired Robin Forst, a long-time ally of State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Also, the BPCA agreed to maintain the funding for the Stuyvesant center.
Since those actions taken by Dennis Mehiel’s BPCA administration, there has been no mention of the community center during any of the CB1 meetings. Mr. Townley serves as a board member of the CB1. During the January 28th CB1 meeting held in Townley’s own Manhattan Youth center, the board made no mention of Stuyvesant.
The conspicuous silence has been deafening. Sources close to both community centers told BP.TV that, “I haven’t heard a peep about it for quite some time.”.
Possibly related to the above, BP.TV has exclusively learned that Mr. Townley’s Manhattan Youth operations have come under investigation by state and city agencies for a variety of issues ranging from mundane staffing violations to far more serious accusations. A disgruntled employee acting as a whistleblower initiated the complaints. Stay tuned for more details.