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In Corrupt UN of Guterres NYCHA Officials Feed At the Trough As NYC Silent on China Banning Human Rights

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive CJR  Video

UNITED NATIONS GATE, May 17, updated May 24 – How lawless and hypocritical is the United Nations of Secretary General Antonio Guterres? Beyond Guterres' promoting last month of a crony accused of sexual harassment, see below, his and NYC's silent on China discriminating against human rights and Inner City Press' reporting on UN "information technology" chicanery, consider this:

"NYCHA in the United Nations  These are the stories of some former New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) staff who have transplanted into the United Nations and to what effect—an utterly dysfunctional and corrupt Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) in the United Nations Secretariat in New York.  Those staff have been brought into the Organization by the Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO), Atefeh Riazi, herself a former NYCHA staff.  Jeanette Ferguson:  Jeanette Ferguson is a very close friend and confidant of Riazi. They worked together for many years in NYCHA prior to both joining the United Nations.  Ferguson who arrived at the P-4 level performing some mundane functions is currently a P-5 carrying out the functions of three “posts” at one time: Chief of Enterprise Project Management office, Chief of Budget and Finance (without the required qualifications or experience), and Chief of Riazi’s Front Office.  She is also reportedly the first reporting officer (as a cover) of Diane Dane, Chief of the Partnership Unit and living girl friend of Salem Avan, Director in OICT who is the de facto personal messenger between Riazi and Avan, conveying personal and work related back and forth from one to the other.  Sources have told ICP that both Riazi and Avan are currently under investigation for financial irregularities investigation [...] and that Avan is under sexual harassment investigation by OIOS.  Ferguson herself is reportedly also the subject of a sexual harassment complaint by an OICT staff.  Jonathan Fisher:  Jonathan Fisher is another NYCHA transplant who was hired by Riazi immediately after he was fired from NYCHA.  He has served as a consultant at $67.00 per hour for 20 hours per week to rewrite memos and correspondence drafted by United Nations staff, because, according to Riazi,"their written English is so poor”.  Sources have stated that Fisher is a close friend and business partner of George Carrano, Riazi’s husband, and that Carrano and Fisher have collaborated while in NYCHA on producing an unauthorized book which used NYCHA official material, which has led to Fisher’s firing.  Gianluca Gallori:  Gianluca Gallori is the husband of Allison Bailey, a top manager and senior partner in Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and close friend of Riazi.  Sources have told ICP that when Riazi took up her job with the United Nations, Gallori was unemployed after his company had gone bankrupt and he offered to work for free for a couple of months to assess the United Nations’ internal processes.  Subsequently Gallori was given a consultant contract followed by a temporary appointment and joined the Unite Service Desk, working from home two days per week.  He is currently designated as Chief of the Unite Service Desk at the P-5 level on a UNOP contract (and still working from home two days per week)... Colleagues of Gallori say he is not qualified to run the Desk which has seen its share of problems following the departure of its former chief in September 2016, but that never prevented Gallori from untruthfully and shamelessly embellishing his credentials on the Web.    Riazi and Bailey had led their sides within the Steering Committee set to manage the joint project aimed to assess and propose improvement to NYCHA’s central support service functions.  The Steering Committee reported to the NYCHA Board headed by John Rhea (formerly employed by the BCG) before Riazi’s departure following the uproar over, and federal investigation into, a $10 million secret consultant report by the BCG for the NYCHA.  The contract for the secret report was apparently awarded without following proper NYCHA procurement procedures.  The US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had demanded billing invoices for the BCG report.     Rebecca Ralston:  On 13 October 2016 Inner City Press reported on Rebecca Ralston , another NYCHA acquaintance of Riazi:  Rebecca Ralston, a friend of the UN's (American) Chief Information Technology Officer Atefeh (Atti) Riazi, from the New York City Housing Authority, was hired as a consultant in OICT and paid $110.00 per hour for 40 hours per week for the last 2 years or so, until she was let go...  Ralston was one of many close NYCHA acquaintances Riazi brought into OICT and paid generously. Ralston was hired ostensibly to do an inventory of web sites as part of the implementation of the UN ICT strategy but did, by all accounts, a decidedly unremarkable job. Ralston who is also the CEO of Agile Impact Group, an online brand management company based in Seattle that offers digital brand management services for monitoring, analyzing, and managing clients’ digital presence, was actually (real job) using her company services, pushing content onto the Web, to influence (diminish) negative press on Ban Ki-moon and improve his "brand.   As of October 12, Ralston is not in the UN database."   As it turns out, Ralston is an old hand in this sort of thing, having done the same before in NYCHA. Ralston, who was back then known as Rebecca Bilbao and had served as the CEO of Search Impact Consulting, was given a $100,000.00 contract by NYCHA to clean up its online image.  Mike Moran:  Inner City Press has previously reported extensively on Mike Moran:  “Mike Moran, who the CITO brought in on a temporary contract in 2014 at the P-5 level, was subsequently "regularized" through a doctored recruitment exercise and appointed to a fixed term contract in 2015.  Then in 2016 there was an attempt to get him installed at the D-2 level, (skipping the D-1 level) when Job Opening (JO) 54326 was initially advertised on January 28 through to March 28 2016. . . Mike Moran was a P-5.  He applied for the D-2 position.  Because staff on regular appointments are not eligible to apply for positions more than one level above their appointed grade, his application was screened out. When he and Riazi discovered that he was not eligible for the position the day after the JO closed (after seeing the released applicants) on March 29, Moran resigned his P-5 position with an effective date of 6 April.  On 31 March 2016, Ms Riazi imposed upon OHRM to extend the JO by an extra month until April 29.  . . Moran left the UN on April 6.  His out of office said he was "out of the office until 31/8/2016," which indicates the intent for him to return to the UN. Mr Moran was allowed to apply again (irregularly) as an external applicant and was interviewed for the D-2 position in the week of 23 May.”

   In a musical chairs personnel move on April 18, the day after he continued his 287 day censorship of the Press, Guterres named as his new Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Coordination one Volker Türk, who when Inner City Press asked him about refugees chased by Paul Biya's Cameroon army into Nigeria seemed not to know about it. Guterres, as we have reported, not only took a golden statue from Biya, but went silent on the killings since Cameroon was chair of the UN Budget Committee. But it's worse: Turk is taking the position from Fabrizio Hochschild Drummond of Chile "who was appointed as Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Preparations for the Commemoration of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary." This promotion is, ghoulishly, Guterres rewarding what multiple staff say was Hochschild's relationship with another junior staff member. Talk about MeToo - the faux feminist Guterres covers up and rewards such behavior. We'll have more on this - while Guterres and his spokespeople refuse to answer any of Inner City Press' written questions, we still have sources, many sources.

   In the midst of Inner City Press' questioning in 2018 about Guterres' links to now convicted UN bribery Patrick Ho's China Energy Fund Committee and Guterres' failures on Cameroon and elsewhere, his UN Security twice roughed up Inner City Press on June 22 and July 3, 2018.

Then after Inner City Press filed a New York Police Department complaint against the UN and its Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, none of its written questions to UN Security chief Peter Drennen and Guterres were answered. There are no due process rights for journalists in the UN of Guterres. On April 15, a year minus a day since the UN accredited Inner City Press on 16 April 2018, Inner City Press submitted a formal application and letter for re-accreditation, including in light of the guilty verdict and sentencing against Patrick Ho of CEFC (video here), financial links to which Guterres has failed to disclose and has for 287 days sought to censor to conceal.

On the morning of April 17, without any reasoning or explanation, this: "Greetings Matthew LEE from ICP     INNER CITY PRESS,  Your media accreditation request, with reference no: M66561081, has been declined." Just as there was no hearing, no action on assault by UN DSS Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins, and not appeals process, no reasons. Absolute lawless corruption.

The letter was sent to Guterres, his USG Alison Smale and her "personal assistant" Alison Corbet, his chief of staff Maria Luiza Viotti and her staffer Eihab Omaish, his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed and her chief of staff Nelson Muffuh, as well as to PGA Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces, her chief of staff  Kwabena Oseidanquah, her spokesperson Monica Grayley and staffers Nadia Kalb and Raquel Martins and others still to be named  along with a simple request for confirmation of receipt. Even this they had not done, a full 38 hours later. From what's been submitted: "A year ago on 16 April 2018 I was re-accredited to enter and cover the United Nations, as for many years before. Then I asked more and more questions about the Patrick Ho / CEFC China Energy UN bribery scandal, about the Secretary General, about Cameroon - and on 22 June 2018 I was pushed out of the UN Visitors Lobby while other non-resident correspondents remained there.    On 3 July 2018 as I covered the UN Budget Committee meetings as I have for years, I was physically roughed up by UN DSS Lt Ronald Dobbins and another who refused to give his name. On July 5 I was told I could not enter the UN and this remains the case, with no hearing and no appeal.     Now just less than a year since I was accredited, before the above and other facts of record, I am submitting this formal application for accreditation which you grant to correspondents who report far less, and far less critically, on the UN than Inner City Press.    It is particularly imperative that Inner City Press be allowed to enter and attend the noon briefing as hundreds of my questions have gone unanswered despite USG Smale's assurance to UNSR David Kaye, and Spokesman Dujarric's on camera assurance.    

This request is submitted in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision limiting the impunity of international organization such as the UN, see JAMS v IFC, and in light of recent decision that for example the City of New York cannot strip a journalist's accreditation without a hearing and due process, discovery and disclosure.   

Beyond the hundreds of articles covering the UN since the arbitrary ouster of 3 July 2018, for the record:  March 29, 2019, Hong Kong TV documentary on Patrick Ho CEFC, Inner City Press in front of UN and SDNY  

April 3, 2019, Serbia's Espreso, "US journalist Metju Li [Matthew Lee] on a corruption scandal," etc; it is supplemented by a more than 6,533 signature petition that my resident correspondent accreditation and Inner City Press' long time shared office S-303 be immediately restored... While noting that the UN accreditation guidelines state "online media may include news outlets, blogs, vlogs and others," we and the Free UN Coalition for Access reiterate and will be advocating for greater access by new and social media, including for the UN to belatedly define what it means by "wire service." See also, on the need for a UN FOIA, this. It is also imperative that the UN institute due process protections, and content neutral accreditation rules, for journalists. But for now, this is a demand for the same access I have had to cover the UN and as state media with many fewer articles and questions have from your Office, and to restore my resident correspondent accreditation, and S303, forthwith, during this month you are handing such status to some (including as is relevant in S-303, Inner City Press' work-space) who rarely come in, publish little and ask no questions at all.  Thank you.  Sincerely,  Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press Past (and future?) Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017."

   For years Guterres received money as a board member of the Calouste Galbenkian Foundation, which despite its name is the 100% owner of Partex Oil and Gas. Partex has operations in Angola, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Oman and Portugal. It was to a Portuguese court that Guterres, while justifying no listing some of his income, disclosed in 2016 that he was paid at least € 2735 per month for his position with the Gulbenkian Foundation.

   But while a now deleted Foundation web page (archived here) stated that Guterres continued with Gulbenkian into 2018, Guterres did not list it on his most recent, and so far lone, UN Public Financial Disclosure, which covered 2016 ("Disclosing financial and other interests for the 2016 reporting year").

  So why did Guterres disclose his position with the Club of Madrid, but not with the Gulbenkian Foundation / Partex Oil and Gas?  Inner City Press has a right to re-enter and pursue these questions.


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