Cline Controversy

Chelsea Clinton News, April 12, 1997
From Ira Manhoff

To the Editor:

I would like to clarify some things raised in the article on the candidates forum for borough president (March 20-26).

While I did ask questions of Pagan and Powell, in fact it was not me who asked Virginia Fields about campaign contributions she accepted from the RSA and Riverside South.

In regard to my question to [Antonio] Pagan about his appointment of Ray Cline to the community board, it is important to note that while Mr. Cline was arrested last year for allegedly performing an illegal lockout of a Longacre tenant, these charges have since been dropped. At the time of my comments I was not aware of this; had I been, I certainly would have included it. We must not forget that people are only guilty upon conviction, and not upon arrest.

Ira Manhoff

From Ray Cline

To the Editor:

Last week a statement was made by Ira Manhoff alleging that I was responsible for evicting long-time tenants from the Longacre Hotel. I would like to clarify a few facts. I was employed as the interim manager of the Longacre because they needed to clean up an S.R.O. that was plagued with drugs, prostitution and assorted criminal activity. It was not uncommon for the police to be there two or three times a day. My first goal was to make the Longacre Hotel a safe place for the many seniors and legitimate residents living there.

I currently have a lawsuit pending with the City of New York for illegally arresting me for evicting a tenant from the hotel who had a long history of extremely violent behavior. It is on record that I had this tenant arrested a number of times for criminal activity at the hotel (beating and robbing other tenants). It is on record that I had given him due process in landlord-tenant court. It is also on record that I signed a trespass Affidavit with the District Attorney’s office. I acted in full compliance with the law concerning this tenant.

As for Mr. Manhoff’s comments at the candidate forum, it is bad enough that he didn’t know the real facts concerning this matter, but worse that he would smear others with it. Joseph McCarthy was condemned for his condemning of many others by slandering them in innuendo. He fell because he had no honor, class or shame in condemning others falsely. It’s no wonder that people have become disillusioned toward the political process with underhanded tactics like these, which are still being used today.

Raymond W. Cline