Hevesi, Nadler, Gotbaum and Quinn Urge
Industrial Development Agency to Deny Financing for
Organization Founded by Lenora Fulani
Officials Urge Support for Stringer Proposal
State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and City Council President Christine Quinn today sent a letter urging the New York City Industrial Development Agency to vote against a proposal to provide $12.5 million in tax-free financing to All Stars Group Project, Inc., an organization founded by Lenora Fulani.
The letter cites the the group’s connection to leaders who have taken positions that are misogynistic and Anti-Semitic and asked IDA board members to join Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in his decision to vote against the financing at the September 12 meeting of the IDA's Board of Directors.
The letter says, “This group reportedly has a long and close relationship with a cult whose leaders have made statements and taken positions that are misogynistic and Anti-Semitic. Providing discretionary financial assistance for this project will be tantamount to providing public validation and support for these ideas. Furthermore, given the questionable financial and employment practices of this organization and its affiliates, we believe that this organization fails to qualify as an appropriate recipient for IDA resources. We are asking you, as a member of the Board of Directors to vote against granting financial assistance for the All Stars Project, Inc.”
Hevesi said, “I voted against giving a tax break to this group when I was City Comptroller and it was first proposed. Even if Newman and Fulani are not attempting to create the appearance that they no longer run this group, people who follow their orders still do. Given Newman and Fulani’s history of bigoted remarks and their history of using companies they set up to fund their political activities, the City should not provide them with tax breaks to pursue their agenda. I urge the IDA to vote no.”
Nadler said, “The City should not legitimize Fulani and Newman's anti-Semitic and misogynistic positions by providing them with tax breaks. I urge the IDA not to financially support an organization whose leaders espouse bigotry and intolerance.”
Gotbaum said, “Lenora Fulani has made a reputation as a virulent anti-Semite; Fred Newman is the figurehead of a cult that sexually exploits women; and the All-Stars Project is simply Fulani and Newman’s attempt to give their bigotry and wrongdoing a cloak of legitimacy. The Industrial Development Agency must not validate that attempt with $12.75 million in tax-free financing.
“Dr. Newman has funneled money from the All-Stars Project into activities that promote his fringe beliefs in the past, and a vote of confidence from the IDB would only embolden him further,” Gotbaum said. “This time, though, his misconduct would come at the public’s expense. I urge Mayor Bloomberg and the IDA in the strongest terms to block this bond transaction. The City of New York should, whenever possible, make it difficult for hate-mongers like Fulani and Newman to operate.”
Quinn said, “I join my colleagues in calling upon the IDA Board to vote against a bond transaction for the All Stars Project, Inc. Public funds should never be provided to an organization that has faced countless accusations of financial misconduct and workplace harassment. Further, a group that has close business and ideological ties to the bigotry of Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani is certainly not worthy of our City, nor of the IDA's support.
Stringer said, "Today we are sending a clear message to the IDA: we should not use city money to finance an organization that has ties to people who don't share the value of New Yorkers. It's public knowledge that the All-Stars Project has a questionable foundation and its dubious practices should not be endorsed by the city. I'm confident the IDA, an agency of high standards, will heed our plea."
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall said, “Today, we send a united and clear message that tax-free financing cannot be supportive of a proposal that is not in the best interests of all New Yorkers. I will urge my appointee to vote ‘no’ on this item, based on the criteria that determines a yay or nay vote by the Industrial Development Agency board.”
Click here for a copy of the letter.