Carpet in UN's Shell Quietly Confirmed After Denial, Waste, and
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 9 -- The UN issues many denials, but sometimes only
by reflex. The UN's retractions of denials are done much more quietly.
It begins with small things. On October 7 and 8, Inner
City Press was told by a number of UN staff members about office
space on the 23rd floor of the UN's headquarters building, vacated in
the name of the Capital Master Plan rehabilitation, being re-occupied
and even outfitted with new carpet.
The staff members who told this
to Inner City Press, asking who was paying for the new carpet which
by the Plan will shortly be torn out, had personally seen "brand
new carpet." UN Spokesperson Michele Montas vociferously denied this on
October 8, reported here
and below. Then her Office on October 9 sent Inner City Press the
answer to your question on carpeting
Inner City Press
10/9/2009 11:52:25 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
UN is optimizing vacant space in the Secretariat for interim office
space accommodations for temporary UN staff and others in an effort
to minimize costs while additional space is in the procurement
few offices on the 23rd floor temporarily used by UN staff have
received new carpeting.
8, Inner City Press asked
UN spokesperson Michele Montas, video here
from Minute 25:35, transcript here
City Press: A couple of people have asked me this. Some of the
floors are being vacated here, particularly, for example the 23rd
City Press: They’ve said that, that the offices that once vacated
are actually being filled now with other people, in some cases UN
units moved in, in some cases contractors like [Richard L.] Hoffman
and Associates handling [inaudible] the move, and new carpets put
down, this is a thing that people that work up there, I mean, you
can, you look, if you could, can you confirm to me whether new
individuals are being moved into floors like the 23rd and the offices
outfit with new carpets, it’s new…
I would doubt that. I would strongly doubt that. Whether people
working from the contracting groups are up there, that’s another
story. But in terms of new carpets, new facilities, frankly, I doubt
City Press: So, I mean, I guess, ask the Department of Management? Get
them to say that there’s not new a carpet on the 23rd floor?
[laughs] Of course I will.
City Press: People wanted to know is what, who’s paying for it. Is
it the UN paying for it or is the contractor…?
Paying for what?
City Press: For the new materials being put into the vacant…
But I told you I doubt there is any new material being put up there.
What is being done, there is new material coming in to refurbish the
spaces where you guys are going to move to, where our offices will be
moving to, where people moving to the lawn building will be moving
to. There are no new materials being imported or brought in for the
people on the floors that have been vacated. It doesn’t make
sense, Matthew. It does not make sense and you’re asking me a
hypothetical question. Who’s paying for it? For what?
City Press: There have been people that saw it, have witnessed it,
asked me, so I’m asking you, but that’s fine.
If they are carrying carpets up there it’s not necessarily for
there. I’m sorry. Thank you all.
UN's Ban and Spokesperson with 2 journalists, new
rugs and waste not shown
8, Inner City Press obtained photographs of the door of Room 2362.
The door to S-2362, with new lock, new blue rug
behind smoked glass
Other rooms on the 23rd floor, which used to house Chinese
translators, all have cold rugless floors. But 2363, with a new lock
installed on the door, has brand new blue carpet. Ms. Montas never
did obtain a denial from the Department of Management or Capital
Master Plan, at least not by the time, after five o'clock, when the
transcript goes online. Ms. Montas said it does not make sense, and
in that she is right: it does not. We hope to have more on this.
this week have simply gone unanswered. On Monday
October 5, Inner
City Press asked Ms. Montas
City Press; Carol Browner, who’s President Obama’s main adviser
on climate change, has been quoted over the weekend as saying that
any climate change legislation in the US this year is very unlikely. I
wonder if the Secretary-General, given his interest in sealing the
deal and all of that does he, does he, what does he think of that?
We are not commenting on internal processes. It’s something
between the Americans, really.
Ban Ki-moon has
commented on legislation by Representatives Markey and Waxman, and
just this week commented on an internal Guatemalan election of
6, Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas
City Press: On the Capital Master Plan, I just wanted, the, the, I
guess, two questions. One, the statement about the blast film at
Madison Avenue was made during a High-Level Committee on Management
by the Staff Union, so I just want to be, you’re saying erroneous
media, media council [inaudible]. Has the Staff Union been informed,
that’s what they say…?
I don’t know whether the Staff Union was informed, but I do know
that they have the films on the windows…
City Press: Okay. What about in the, in the, what they call the
luggage building, the building on the corner of 42nd and 2nd?
I haven’t asked, but as they mentioned, all the buildings were
inspected by DSS [Department of Safety and Security].
City Press: Right, but the Staff Union says there was a safety plan,
but that the blast film wasn’t put on. I am just saying there’s
a dispute between the Union…
I haven’t, but the Capital Master Plan, they know what they have
an answer about the 23rd floor, and any other floor to which new
carpets or office equipment is being moved.
October 7, Inner City Press asked Ms. Montas:
City Press: On Iran, can you confirm that Foreign Minister Mottaki
when he was here complained to Ban Ki-moon about the United States
taking a nuclear scientist of Iran while he was in Saudi Arabia?
I’ll check what the readout said for you and I’ll check with
someone who was at the meeting. I was not at the meeting.
City Press: I wanted to just, on Myanmar, I was just down in the
Fifth Committee. They just presented the OIOS report and one of the
things that it says among many critiques is that up to 59 per cent of
the UN funds spent through NGOs in Myanmar are not monitored at all
and it says, she complains [inaudible] does that, that, this is a
recommendation that was not followed as were other ones. When, can
we get a briefing by Mr. [inaudible] and also by Angela Kane or
whoever it is who decides to follow or not to follow the
recommendations of OIOS?
I can try to ask, but at this point, the process is right now in
front of the Committee, as you said yourself. So we usually wait for
the Committee to act on something before we actually do anything
about inaction, is true. The OIOS report mentions situations in which
it was recommended that vendors be pursued for overpayments, and
those who confessed guilt, including to possessing child pornography,
be left go, and yet the Secretariat did nothing. Also on October
Inner City Press asked:
City Press: That’s what I was asking yesterday, because this is
all taking place in the Fifth Committee, these reports. I understand
that the Department of Management will answer in some forum, but
there’s a few of them that are really, really kind of newsworthy. One
is a vendor that OIOS said should be, you know, prosecuted and
the Department of Management didn’t. Another one is this pending
child pornography case of the guy who was caught in Canada, who’s
still apparently a UN staff member. Can we get, I want to add those
two, if you are going to, able to get answers on some, because they,
it doesn’t seem that waiting for December to figure out what the
UN’s policy is on…
Well, usually the OIOS gives a report to the Fifth Committee. The
Fifth Committee reacts and it’s a decision, a General Assembly
decision. But I‘ll try to get additional information on those two
different cases for you.
Watch this site.
* * *
Subj: Re: Your
Report/Question on MONUC and Mr. Nondo
unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org
To: Inner City Press
Sent: 8/31/2009 11:56:48
A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
your earlier question on Mr. Nondo:
is neither banned from MONUC premises, nor suspended.
spoken directly to Mr. Nondo and explained this point. On the morning
of 25 August, MONUC security issued an incorrect internal instruction
to its personnel to prevent him from entering the mission's premises.
This was rescinded officially by MONUC Administration the following