Relative blames Town Board members for ‘vilifying’ his family over mold contract

06/03/2010 12:00 AM |

No bids were received for the mold cleanup job at the vacated Jamesport Community Center by Tuesday’s deadline, and yesterday town officials went back to the original plan of awarding a contract for the job on an emergency basis.

But not before some fireworks in Town Hall.

Charles Sclafani — a Zoning Board of Appeals member whose brother’s company received a controversial contract to clean mold in Town Hall’s basement — publicly chastised the two Town Board members, Jodi Giglio and George Gabrielsen, who had raised questions over his brother’s contract.

“My family was vilified because of you and Mr. Gabrielsen,” he said. “And now today, you declare an emergency in a vacant building.” There was “black mold” in Town Hall, which is occupied by the public, and yet the town declared an emergency for a community center that’s been closed for over a month, he said.

Ms. Giglio responded that the processes for dealing with flooding and mold issues, due to a massive rainstorm in late March, should have started sooner. She said there should have been plenty of time for a bidding process on both jobs.

Aside from the heated exchanges, the all-Republican Town Board unanimously awarded the Jamesport cleanup job yesterday to a Middle Island company called Duraclean.

“I’m going forward with the emergency contract as we should have done on May 18,” Supervisor Sean Walter said a day before the vote. “All we’ve done is delay this by two weeks and allow the mold to grow for two weeks longer.”

Although the Jamesport Community Center is empty, officials said they hoped to get the job done quickly because a number of summer programs were scheduled to start there in early July, including a popular summer camp.

“There’s an unbelievable amount of mold in there,” Mr. Walter said.

The Jamesport Community Center mold remediation job was originally included in a May 18 resolution that also granted the Town Hall emergency mold remediation contract to Servpro of Northeast Queens, owned by Joseph Sclafani.

Since the contract for the Town Hall work was already signed, only the Jamesport cleanup job was pulled from that resolution due to opposition from Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen, who abstained from voting.

The Town Board then voted last Monday to put the Jamesport job out to bid.

Councilmen Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy, who voted with Mr. Walter in supporting the emergency contract for the Town Hall cleanup, had all along said they supported awarding an emergency contract in Jamesport as well.

Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen had questioned the emergency contract for Town Hall, which doesn’t require a bidding process, because the Sclafani family connection. Charles Sclafani’s wife also works in Mr. Walter’s office and is his campaign treasurer. The councilmembers also said they believed the town had plenty of time to go to bid on that job.

Mr. Walter said the town solicited cost estimates for the Town Hall job and Servpro of Northeast Queens was more than $20,000 less than the next lowest price. He said it was a public safety issue to get the mold issue resolved as quickly as possible

Three companies submitted estimates on the Town Hall job, Mr. Walter said.

The town also got estimates from four companies, including Servpro of Northeast Queens, for the Jamesport Community Center job, but the lowest price came from Duraclean, at $26,950. The other three estimates were all more than $37,000, the supervisor said.

A day before yesterday’s vote, Ms. Giglio said she was still against awarding the emergency contract for the Jamesport cleanup.

“I think we could have opened it up to more contractors who are looking for work,” she said. Bidders did not have enough time to pick up bid packages to find out what work needs to be done, she said.

It wasn’t immediately clear why she changed her mind yesterday.

Mr. Gabrielsen supported the emergency bid in Jamesport because, he said, at least bids were sought.

Mr. Wooten this week called the objections raised by Ms. Giglio and Mr. Gabrielsen “political grandstanding.”

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