No trace of $4 million former state senator promised for Marine Park rehab: Parks

Evelyn Rosenberg stands with her two-year-old twins in front of the run-down playground at Marine Park.
Photo by Elissa Esher

His word is not Golden!

State Sen. Marty Golden welched on an election-year promise to allocate $4 million for repairs to an ailing Marine Park playground, according to the city Parks Department.

Golden claimed credit for the massive cash infusion for the dilapidated PS 278 Playground on Fillmore Avenue near Stuart Street — which suffers from peeling paint and pools of stagnant water that attract gnats, mosquitoes, and mold — in November, near the tail end of his 2018 re-election bid against Democratic candidate Andrew Gounardes.

However, following the eight-term senator’s defeat in the general election just a few days later, the promised funds never made their way into Parks Department coffers, according to a Parks spokeswoman, who said there’s no evidence the money existed to begin with.

“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to verify that the $4 million existed for the agency to receive,” said Parks Department spokeswoman Anessa Hodgson.

A spokesman for the New York Senate Majority said the upper chamber’s finance gurus were similarly unable to uncover evidence of Golden’s promised funds, and accused the former legislator of announcing the money as an 11th hour ploy to grab headlines before a tight election.

“Marty Golden lied to Brooklyn families and took credit for money he did nothing to secure and knew wasn’t coming,” said Gary Ginsburg, a spokesman for senate Democrats.

When reached for comment over the phone, Golden said “I’m busy,” before hanging up. Three subsequent calls went unanswered.

Locals complain the city has left the playground at Marine Park to rot.
Photo by Elissa Esher

However, a spokeswoman for senate Republicans rushed to defend the former state lawmaker, and provided this paper with an email sent from Golden’s office to the Parks Department on Oct. 30, 2018 containing a preliminary two-page application for the Marine Park senate grant, which she claims the agency failed to fill out, and that the parks money was never allocated due to the agency’s bureaucratic oversight.

“Marty Golden cares deeply about Marine Park and fought to allocate $4 million to fix the playground,” said Candice Giove, a spokeswoman for the New York Senate Minority. “It is sad that because an employee at the New York City Parks Department let an application worth $4 million sit in an in box until this day, and failed to submit it, that Marine Park never received this money.”

The Parks Department responded to Giove’s accusation in a statement that ignored the application, instead doubling down on their assertion that Golden’s money never existed, while saying the agency doesn’t suspect any foul play on the part of the former senator.

“We appreciate former Senator Golden’s well-intentioned efforts to secure funding for Marine Park,” said Hodgson.

Giove went on to claim that then Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan sent a letter to Golden just a few days before the application was sent out, but could not provide a copy by deadline due to his secretary’s recent hospitalization.

And while Ginsburg admitted that Parks may have failed to fill out the application, he insisted that Golden’s victory lap was premature and premeditated to aid his re-election bid, saying his election day defeat did not deprive him of six remaining weeks in office, during which no effort was made to secure the funds.

“If Marty actually cared about this more than getting a press release and getting a nice photo op, he would have made a call to make sure they saw the email and were filling it out,” said Ginsburg.

Reach reporter Chandler Kidd at ckidd@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–2525. Follow her at twitter.com/ChanAnnKidd.
Almost all of the play equipment could use a fresh coat of paint.
Photo by Elissa Esher

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