Volume 74, Number 52 | May 04 – 10 , 2005

Scoopy’s Notebook

Poor judge of conflict of interest: Acting Supreme Court Justice Diane Lebedeff has been reassigned to a lower court, Civil Court, following her censure by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Daily News reports. Last month, the commission chastised Lebedeff, a Greenwich Village resident, for hearing a multi-million dollar suit filed by her friend Ravi Batra against a Brooklyn furniture store, in which Batra charged he was injured after falling from a chair the store sold. The commission found Lebedeff never disclosed her ties to Batra in the six years she presided over the suit, which eventually was transferred to another judge and settled for $225,000. Lebedeff was also criticized in 2003 for an infraction in which she awarded a lucrative fiduciary monitorship to her personal accountant. Locally, Lebedeff is known for having issued a restraining order to keep developers from razing the High Line in the final days of the Giuliani administration.

Rudy row: Speaking of Rudy, The Rutland Herald reports there’s has been a furor at Middlebury College over the selection of the former New York City mayor to receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address on May 22. The editor of the campus newspaper resigned after they ran a picture of Giuliani giving a Nazi salute.

Coming soon, well, pretty soon: We hear the opening date for the new IFC movie theater on Sixth Ave. has now been pushed back to early June.

Can’t catch a break: Brad Will, one of the anarchists who The Villager reported in September felt they were smeared by the mainstream media and police during the Republican National Convention, tells us he was detained by Homeland Security at J.F.K. the day before last week’s Critical Mass ride, which he had flown in to participate in. “What were you doing in Seattle?” he said they asked him. Will, who had been documenting squatter movements in Brazil and Argentina, doesn’t deny he’s been arrested plenty of times, but says it’s always been for nonviolent civil disobedience.

Landmarks’ wheels turn slowly: Michael Rosen, a leader of the fight against Gregg Singer’s plan for a mega-dorm on the former CHARAS/El Bohio/P.S. 64 school building on E. Ninth St., was also riding in last week’s Critical Mass. He flashed two tickets to the Yankees-Blue Jays games for third baseline seats that he was blowing off for the chance to get arrested. He wore a Margarita Lopez for borough president pin. “Thank God that someone in this city is paying attention to civil rights,” he said of Lopez, who spoke in support of Critical Mass before the ride. As for the effort to landmark the old school, Rosen and others recently met with Robert Tierney, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission chairperson, but it’s still status quo. Meanwhile, the old school is filling up with potentially hazardous quantities of pigeon doo, Rosen claimed. “Tierney was respectful to us — but it’s possible to be respectful until the building fills up with guano,” he said.

Advovate-alujah! Norman Siegel said if he wins the election for public advocate, he’ll have Reverend Billy, the fire-and-brimstone, performance artist/activist preacher, swear him into office. “That’ll shake up this town,” Siegel said. The two see a lot of each other, as they have become a one-two speakers’ team at Critical Mass and anti-Washington Sq. renovation rallies.

Doris does Willyburg: Doris Diether, zoning maven of Community Board 2, tells us she is a consultant to the manufacturers in Williamsburg who are fighting the rezoning of the Brooklyn waterfront to allow 40-story residential towers.

The restoration: Councilmember Christine Quinn is now said to be trying to put Honi Klein, executive director of the Village Alliance business improvement district, back on Community Board 2. Quinn is also trying to put Tobi Bergman and Jo Hamilton back on the board. All three were removed from the board by not being reappointed by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, though Klein’s removal was a year ago. When The Villager called last week to inquire, Klein said it was the first she’d heard of it. Fields make the ultimate decisions on who is appointed to the board, though councilmembers recommend half the appointments. The Villager bumped into Quinn at last week’s Jefferson Market Garden 30th anniversary bash at which she said she hadn’t heard from Fields about Bergman and Hamilton.

secret ballot: Although last week’s article on the C.B. 2 chairperson race stated Bergman is supporting Gifford Miller for mayor, Bergman, in fact, had stressed to the reporter that he never openly endorses political candidates. Bergman said he began that habit as a president of the Greenwich Village Little League and continued it as president of Pier Park & Playground Association, or P3. “I’m still seen as a spokesperson for P3 — it would confuse people who still see me as representing P3,” said Bergman, who recently stepped down as P3 head, on keeping his policy of no public endorsements. However, other board members had told The Villager they believed Bergman was supporting Miller.

Water world: Jim Smith, Community Board 2 chairperson, announced at the board’s April 21 meeting that Larry Goldberg was replacing Don MacPherson as C.B. 2 Waterfront Committee chairperson. MacPherson, it was announced, was stepping down because his wife was about to have a baby, and he wants to have time to be a supportive father. Plus, MacPherson later added, “Gansevoort could start heating up” — referring to the community’s battle, legal and otherwise, against the city’s ongoing garbage plans for the key section of the Hudson River Park — which would make it even harder to spend time with his family, so it seemed like a good time to hand over the reins. In fact, MacPherson’s wife delivered a baby boy last week. Congrats! If Maria Passannante Derr wins the June chairperson election, though, will Arthur Schwartz ask to be reappointed Waterfront chairperson? Oh, baby! Stay tuned.

Staying? Going? We can’t figure out whether or not Wholesome Market on University Pl. will stay open or go out of business. A sign saying “Space Available” is on the canopy, and, well, let’s face it, it’s right around the corner from the new Whole Foods Market. But the store says it’s not planning to close. The Post reports the store is closing, however.