Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

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With UN's Skanska Under Fire for Minority & Mafia Hiring, Food Out onto 1st Ave

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 29 -- The UN's contractor for its $2 billion Capital Master Plan, Skanska USA, is now under investigation for fraudulently not hiring minority-owned subcontractors and, reportely, using a Mafia-connected carting company in its work in Manhattan.

  On November 29, Inner City Press asked the UN's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq what the UN thinks and will do about the reports, which became public the day before Thanksgiving. Video here, from Minute 10:45.

  Haq in essence refused to answer, saying “that's really a question for Skanska to answer, it's up to you to deal with them on that.”

  Inner City Press repeated that the question was and is for the UN: will the UN continue to use and pay a contractors even if it defrauded minority hiring rules and was linked with the Mafia?

Haq said that the UN would “evaluate its relations” with contractors. But apparently minority (and Mafia) hiring is not enough for the UN: Haq said he would have no comment on this one, it's “for Skanska and not us.” We'll see.

As the UN was selecting Skanska, Inner City Press asked Capital Master Plan chief Michael Adlerstein about cases pending in Argentina in what is there called the “Skanska scandal,” only to be told that such characterization was unfair. Perhaps minority (and Mafia) hiring fraud is not a scandal either?

Meanwhile, the lack of planning in the Capital Master Plan became publicly evident on Monday afternoon, when contractors from Aramark were forced to go out onto First Avenue with rolling carts of beverages and food for a reception to be held in the General Assembly lobby. There is now no way to move food and drink from the UN cafeteria kitchen other than through the streets.

Aramark workers rolling from UN, CMP / DM planning not shown (c) MRLee

  Due to this lack of planning, dozens of Aramark workers are losing their jobs as the UN Department of Management has decided to close down the Delegates' Dining Room other than for special events -- like the Department of Management's holiday party. Only at the UN.

Footnote: with the UN still not disclosing where its tests have found bedbugs, it has been confirmed to the Press that on the Dag Hammarskjold Library second floor, only the studios of BBC and NHK and Al Jazeera, where bedbugs were found, will be fumigated. Despite press requests that the whole floor be fumigated, this is not being done. Nor has there been any update on the fleas found in the Publishing Section, first reported by Inner City Press. Watch this site.

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On Bed Bugs in UN, Focus Expands to New North Lawn, DC-2 & UN Credit Union

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 28, updated -- The UN's incremental spin of its bed bug problem grew wider and more surreal on Thursday.

  Inner City Press, which was the first to break the story of UN bed bugs, in a 46th Street building in September 2009 and May 2010 and on October 25 in the Capital Master Plan office in the UN headquarters, now asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to make full disclosure of all UN locations in which bed bugs have been found.

  Nesirky began listing further locations, the 1st, 2nd, 15th 19th and 20th floors of UN Headquarters and some outside of UN Headquarters, including the 11th and 25th floors of the UN DC-2 building across First Avenue, four floors of the UN Federal Credit Union building in Queens and, as Inner City Press had predicted and then reported, under the UN's new North Lawn building.

  But when Pressed, Nesirky said that these were locations which had been tested by bed bug testing dogs. This seemed incorrect, as least as to UN Headquarters.

  On October 27, Inner City Press directly reached and asked Andrew Nye of the UN Facilities Management Service, who said that bed bugs had been found in Headquarters on the the 1st, 2nd and 15th floors, beyond those admitted to that time by Nesirky.

So Inner City Press asked Nesirky to confirm that bed bugs had been found in the locations he'd listed -- if it were only testing, why test only the 1st and 3rd floors of the UN Library building, and not the 2nd floor where the Press is? 

Update: on the afternoon of October 28, the request was made.

UN Ban & NYC UN Commissioner Tiven in North Lawn, bugs not shown

  Nesirky replied that tests are made “on request,” and then depending on resources.

But some of the Headquarters locations he listed are empty, the staff already removed. Who then made the request? Inner City Press asked if the UN would be making full disclosure of its findings. Even to this, the answer wasn't clear. Watch this site.

Some of Inner City Press' previous reports:

At UN, Bed Bugs But No Medical Service in the Swing Space, Skanska's Closed Bid Openings

At UN, Bed Bug Infestation Confirmed, Spread to General Assembly by Documents Possible

As UN's Bed Bugs Spread, Incoming Diplomats Warned of Itching, No Answers, Talk of Gaddifi's Tent

UN Confirms "Extensive" Bed Bugs, Claims Missed Them in Due Diligence, GA Next?

   Watch this site

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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