MILE SQUARE VIEW EXCLUSIVE
The Hoboken Boys and Girls Club has failed to provide required annual reports to the City of Hoboken showing specific compliance requirements serving the community's underprivileged youth. The terms of the agreement are part of a fifty year lease originally created back in the mid 90s.
The complete terms appear in an original ordinance dated November 1994 in City documents. As part of a 50 year agreement, the building at 123 Jefferson Street is leased annually from the City of Hoboken for $2.
The terms to the Boys & Girls Club specifically mandate it demonstrate in an annual report to the Business Administrator how it has complied with requirements using the building, the value and cost of its use in its activities along with the continued demonstration of tax exempt status.
The City recently learned the reporting mechanism is missing with the Boys & Girls Club and is comprehensively reviewing the terms of the lease.
The original ordinance states a requirement of the lessee (the Boys & Girls Club) to the City of Hoboken in item 10:
The Lessee agrees to use the facilities for the sole purpose of conducting youth programs and the Lessee activities. It will not rent or lease the facility for commercial purposes without first obtaining City permission nor will any commercial activities be conducted at the facility.
Last year the Boys and Girls Club changed the nature of its mission allotting space to a new Hoboken charter school: HoLa at a cost of $48,000 annually. It also has rented out its gym to another local charter school thought to be in disproportionate cost than what it charges to sublease to HoLa.
Meanwhile, the building is expanding - to benefit the HoLa school. The expansion is believed undertaken by a construction company owned by developer Frank Raia, who also acts as a voting trustee on the HoLa board.
Questions on the authorization of these activities and the City's oversight and approval role in the process remains outstanding. Complaints have been going on for months among public school parents including other charter schools on the unfair competitive advantage of a charter school being hosted at the Boys & Girls Club while underprivileged community youth have been bumped out of the building to make way for HoLa.
The Boys & Girls Club does not publicly offer an annual report of its expenditures and declines to do so as a semi-private entity. HoLa's agreement with the Boys & Girls Club designates the latter as "the Landlord," with a three percent increase paid for the building use in the second year of an executed lease.
Talking Ed Note: MSV previously stated the lease incorrectly as being one dollar annually but the true price is two dollars. The requirements stated in the ordinance, agreed upon by the City of Hoboken and the Boys and Girls Club is problematic on many levels.
How did the Boys & Girls Club approve a process of allowing a charter school lease space on its premises? Under what jurisdiction did it do so and who negotiated the price and where do the monies go?
Perhaps the Boys & Girls Club Board can provide some answers. The City is now pressed to obtain and provide them to the public but it doesn't appear it can be done in any satisfactory way. The basic terms of the lease have been violated and the mission of the Boys & Girls Club is not serving the youth of the community but one favored charter school. Hola's control of its facilities grows larger.
Update: August 3rd, 2011 - 8:00 pm
The discussion has been extensive on this week's exclusive story opening up a can of worms with a lengthy list of questions for the City to dig in and answer - in this a classic inversion of the haves and have nots.
Who is looking out for the underprivileged children without a voice, lacking nuclear families and the strength that comes from those unions?
MSV supports charter schools and that's hardly the issue at hand, favoritism of a self-anointed political elite however is the order of the day. The City has a lengthy list of questions to obtain answers. First and foremost who approved, if anyone, the subjugation of the voiceless and powerless at the hands of the well to do and politically connected at the Boys & Girls Club?
Who is responsible for yielding to a charter school a taxpayer subsidized building with no remittance to the taxpayer or accountability to the community that has contributed enormously directly and indirectly to the Boys & Girls Club?
When will these people on the board of the Boys & Girls Club answer and demonstrate accountability to the Hoboken community and fulfill their signed responsibility in missing reports to the City of Hoboken?
Frank Raia, Scott Delea, Tim Occhipinti, Ruben Ramos and others involved in taking from the most vulnerable in our community have much to answer. Listen to their silence and listen to the howls for blood of the "loyal opposition" for their political opponents as they provide neither.
Don't be fooled by the distractions. Hoboken is owed answers.