After several years of shareholders and local elected officials taking issue and trying to oust the Dayton Beach Park board of directors, on Friday, February 10, Councilwoman Joann Ariola announced mission accomplished. Ariola says she has negotiated with the New York City Department of Housing and Development (HPD) to remove the board of Dayton Beach Park, bringing an end to a saga which has left tenants in limbo for over a decade.
In a press release sent out on Friday, Ariola said, “It is appalling to me that these conditions were allowed to drag on for as long as they have – especially when there is an elected official who is living in these very buildings. The current board members have been acting completely unethically. The buildings haven’t seen board elections in years, and there are numerous allegations from residents about board members using their position for their own advantage – all while refusing to address the issues of their fellow shareholders.”
The Rockaway Times began highlighting issues regarding the Dayton Beach Park board in November 2017, when HPD threw out the board vote that year due to suspicions of voter fraud. Meanwhile, while not being able to vote for a new board, issues with the board allegedly continued. In December 2017, shareholders accused the board of illegally renting apartments. The board was then again under scrutiny just a month later when two residents died in an apartment fire and shareholders accused the board of not doing annual inspections, while HPD allegedly overlooked these issues. In October 2018, the board sued HPD for challenging the board vote, allowing the members to stay in power with no new election.
In March 2019, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato and others announced an Article 78 motion against HPD, allowing shareholders to begin a lawsuit against the agency and to request the full removal of the board of directors. In May 2022, a judge threw out the board’s case against HPD. This opened the hope that elections for a new board could continue but nothing came of it. Since then, news was quiet on Dayton Beach Park, until Friday when Councilwoman Ariola made her surprise announcement.
Ariola said that not enough action took place to get results in this longtime ongoing issue. “The fact that it’s taken this long to get something done here highlights the kind of malaise that has become the norm for local politics in recent years,” the Councilwoman added. “Too many politicians seem to have gotten too comfortable in their positions and forget that they are here as servants of the people – not the other way around. Holding a few press conferences is one thing, but the people want to see real action to address their concerns. This latest decision by the HPD is the kind of action people need, and I am proud to have been able to make this happen.”