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Surveillance  · Unanswered

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EDITORIAL;  Unanswered Questions


The deterioration of the Krueger-Scott Mansion, a Newark historic landmark, developed mainly as a result of many poor decisions made by city bureaucrats and politicians.  After researching the current state of affairs of this building, we were left in the end, with many unanswered questions


Who was responsible for awarding the contracts for the renovation work ? Were sealed bids collected ? How were the $7,000,000. spent ? Why was a New York librarian appointed to a job, with an $86,000. salary, as Director of a cultural center before the building to house the center, was even completed ?  Why wasn’t a feasibility study commissioned before the renovation project started ?  Why was an architectural firm with a close affiliation to a former Mayor contracted ? And why was it done on a non-bid basis ?  Why did the city approve paying a consultant $33,012. to promote the Krueger-Scott Mansion restoration project in 1998, when that same consultant worked for Council member Chaneyfield-Jenkins' 1998 re-election campaign (Star Ledger 08/19/98, p. 1, ‘Vendor’s Owed $40,000.’) ? And most important of all, why hasn’t the city taken measures to prevent further deterioration to the building; windows are left open, bay windows’ studs and woodwork are left exposed to the weather, and no consistent security is to be found on site ? Why weren't contractors and artisans courted for donation of services prior to the restoration process being initiated, as many other successful projects in other cities have done ? Why weren't cost containment priorities established early on ? Why, indeed !   


These many years later; after Louise Scott’s daughter was evicted and foreclosed on; after hundreds of Hill Manor residents were evicted and their building torn down-- to enable the construction of single and duplex homes, and a parking lot for the Krueger mansion; after the city dumped seven million dollars to renovate a city historic landmark; it is now preparing to hand over the property to a private developer (Star-Ledger 02/22/02, Housing Authority Redevelopment Plan), who will turn it into a Jazz Club and Restaurant ! Neither the City's Economic Development office, nor the Business Administrator will identify the developer, but both confirm ongoing negotiations.


Perhaps the building will still make someone’s dream come true, but it won’t be the African-Americans of this city who long ago were promised a cultural center, it won’t be the residents of this city and this state who footed the restoration bill and were robbed of their chance to salvage a historic monument, and it certainly won’t be the children of this city who are continually exposed to the consequences of mismanagement by city politicians paid six figure salaries, who make cronyism a standard practice.


Other city-managed projects have proven to be money losers as well, like the Riverfront Stadium; millions were spent, and the project is still losing money.  But the costs of these two projects are a pittance compared to the three hundred million dollars about to be spent on a hockey arena downtown, which again, is hip deep in politics.    


Entertainment seems to be a priority in this city, a city with thousands  awaiting subsidized housing, a city with the greatest percentage of urban poor and unemployed in this state, a city with a failing school system, a city with some of the best paid public servants in the country, who seem to hold entertainment as a top priority. Makes one wonder, who’s running the show ? 


    V.S. / EDITOR                                     see the building -->


Posted  September 13, 2004

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