Koppell dumps community board housing chair
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By Adam Wisnieski
Mr. Durham told The Press on Tuesday that he has had a longstanding positive relationship with Mr. Koppell and that the two once even lived in the same Waldo Avenue building where Mr. Durham still works as a super.
It was Mr. Koppell who originally nominated him to the board six years ago.
Mr. Durham became Housing Committee chair after serving on the board for one year. During his time as chair, he said he made a particular effort to reach out to all areas of the district, especially Marble Hill and Kingsbridge Heights. In February, he organized a forum on heating oil conversion in Kingsbridge, for which CB 8 commended him. The forum, which discussed the city’s new rules for phasing out dirty No. 6 and No. 4 heating oils, was the first of its kind in the city.
“Tom has been the heart and soul of Community Board 8. He has put more time in and pushed the city to do more than many, many people on the board,” CB 8 chair Bob Fanuzzi said on Tuesday.
Mr. Durham said he felt his attendance, his work ethic and his sincerity should have mattered more than the petty issue he said he was thrown off for.
This is not the first time board members have said they felt they were kicked off because they disagreed with Mr. Koppell.
In 2010, the borough president’s office did not reappoint Tony Cassino, who ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Koppell for City Council. Mr. Cassino said it was “political payback for daring to run for office.”
Mr. Cassino also formed the Northwest Bronx Democratic Alliance, a rival club to the Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club, of which Mr. Koppell is a member.
In 2010 Mr. Cassino told The Press he was worried that removing board members for political reasons would set an “unfortunate” precedent.
The following year, the president of Mr. Cassino’s club, Saul Scheinbach, was not reappointed to CB 8. Mr. Scheinbach said the elected officials were trying to fill the board with their lackeys and that eventually the board would be full of “yes men.”