2001-10-27 / Letters

What Did Ariola Know?

What Did Ariola Know?

Dear Editor;

I am appalled by the "experience" and "expertise" that Joann Ariola claims to have accumulated as an operative for the offices of City Council members Al Stabile and Noach Dear. Ariola was Chief of Staff for our local Council member, Al Stabile, while she simultaneously served as District leader of the Republican Party. Her only memorable moment from her tenure in that role was in attacking her former boss in her attempt to explain away her defeat by Audrey Pheffer, by a considerable margin, in the 1996 Assembly race.

In an article, published in the Wave last spring, Ariola said that one had to go back to that 1996 election to understand the background of why she chose to leave Stabile's office to go to work for Councilman Noach Dear. If she intends to persist in trying to rationalize away that loss by saying some "political deal" between Republican and Democratic leaders is the reason, as was stated in the Wave, then let her document it.

She was, and still is, one of the Republican leaders in the 23rd Assembly District. The other Republican leader is Stabile. As I remember that
Assembly race he was supporting her "big time."  The Democratic leaders in the 23rd Assembly District all supported Audrey Pheffer for the Assembly seat in 1996 and in 1997 they all supported Joe Addabbo. I haven't heard Joe Addabbo whining that some nebulous political deal, somehow known apparently only by Ariola, was the cause of his loss to Stabile in 1997.

In regard to Stabile's lack of support for her now, Ariola has said, "I never wanted his backing in any case. I wanted to distance myself from him before all of the things that eventually came out did come to light." 

I find that statement by her to be very, very revealing.  Ariola must be referring to Stabile's alleged thievery from the Ozone Howard Little League, reported on extensively by the Forum and which the Wave also reported, and the many questionable deals that he made since he was first elected in 1993.

Interesting that she admits she knew that she was working for a corrupt politician, and knew that he was knee-deep in scandal. So, she had to bail out before too many people found out.

The questions remain: How much did Ariola know? And when did she know it?  And whom did she report it to?

Apparently, it didn't matter too much to her, because right after she left Stabile's office, supposedly horrified about his questionable ethics, she
went right to work for the scandal-ridden Department of Buildings - and just a short time later, the indictments started happening.  Several Council members, particularly one Queens Republican Council member and the Republican candidate now running for his seat, were implicated and the investigation is still ongoing.

One wonders, did Ariola wish to
distance herself from the Department of Buildings before the dirt started
flying there as well? If so, one of her next steps was to go to work as a PR person for the most investigated Council member in the City of New York; Council member Noach Dear. 

Dear was involved in various schemes within his home area of Borough Park that involved taking money from local organizations and having them pay for his travel abroad. Although he was never indicted, the investigation into his very questionable ethics in accepting these favors took up countless hours of City Council business. 

The Forum has reported on scandals from Dear's office relating to the Stabile scandal. Interesting how the staffing of the Stabile and Dear offices interrelate.

So, in a nutshell, Ariola seems to have devoted her "career" in politics to working for apparently corrupt elected officials and agencies and she has tended to skip out when the pressure becomes too much.

Perhaps Ariola ought to be doing less rationalizing and more soul-searching about the meaning of good stewardship of the public trust. She may be tired of "smoke and mirror politicians", but it appears that she is one of them. She talks about her "experience" but it appears that all of it emanates from her employment with suspect politicians. That's not the type of "experience" I want my council representative to have. I'd far rather my council representative has solid community experience and all the skills the job requires. For me, it's as simple as ABC - Addabbo means better council representation for our community.
NORMAN KAPLAN


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