BY TRONE DOWD
The Queens Tribune has discovered that another waste management company made numerous donations to Councilman I. Daneek Miller’s (D-St. Albans) re-election campaign last fall.
According to the New York City Campaign Finance Board, three employees for American Recycling Waste Management, LLC, and three unemployed individuals with corresponding last names and addresses, each donated $250 to the councilman. American Recycling operates out of a facility in Jamaica located at 172-33, Douglas Ave. The donations, a total of $1,500, were made within a four day period last year. American Recycling General Manager Robert Buffolino and Angela Buffolino, both from Lindenhurst, donated to Miller on Sept 22. American Recycling co-owner Gregory Hein and Adeline Hein, both of Massapequa, donated to Miller on Sept. 25. Co-owner Christopher Hein and a Joie-Marie Hein, both of Muttontown, made their donations on Sept 26.
Two weeks ago, the Queens Tribune reported that eight individuals connected to the garbage management company Royal Waste donated a total of $2,000 to the Miller campaign on Sept. 19. Among those donors was Royal Waste Vice President Michael Reali II. The donations were made three months before the City Council was scheduled to vote on Introduction 495, a bill that would have limited the amount of freedom that companies such as Royal Waste and American Recycling had at their facilities. A day before the legislation was up for a vote, Miller dropped his support of the bill for which he had once advocated. The bill has since been scrapped.
Several New York City environmental advocacy groups, including the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, criticized Miller for his sudden change of heart. With communities of color in the South Bronx, North Brooklyn and Southeast Queens processing 75 percent of the city’s garbage, advocates saw Intro 495-C as a first step towards alleviating the inequity. However, Miller told the Queens Tribune that he dropped support of Intro 495-C because it didn’t go far enough.
“We want to make sure that we have a bill that is consistent with the needs of Southeast Queens,” Miller said at the time. “That mitigates the truck traffic, the odors, the noise and so on. The bill that was in place did not allow that to happen.”
The bill was revised two times in 2017, with the the most recent version reducing the effect it would have on Southeast Queens garbage facilities.
A spokeswoman with the Justice Alliance told the Queens Tribune that the donations from American Recycling have disappointed them further.
“The timing of these targeted donations so close to the vote on Intro 495 raises many questions from communities overburdened by waste transfer stations,” the spokeswoman said. “The continued delay in action on waste equity is unacceptable. Regardless of arguments made by the industry that Intro 495 would have put them out of business, the fact is that we need stronger standards to meet the city’s goals for a safe, equitable, and sustainable waste system, and it’s time for these private transfer stations to get on board. We hope 2018 brings stronger leadership for environmental justice in the City Council and a commitment to putting the health of the community over the profits of a few vocal waste companies.”
Miller’s camp stood by his original statements made in December.
“It would be rash to assume these contributions had any bearing on the councilman’s decision when the simple truth is the proposed legislation did not offer the best solution for Southeast Queens,” the spokesman said. “He chose to resist the demand by some that he agree to vote for any bill regardless of merit. Councilman Miller continues to be actively engaged with his fellow members and other colleagues on achieving sustainable and environmentally sensible waste equity for the community, including improving safety standards and wage compensation within the industry itself.”