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The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Tuesday, February 7

Gramercy Communications contract

I thought I had it in hand.

I FOILed for it along with the financial information of the non-profit group, Saratoga Affordable Housing Group, headed by Housing Authority Director Ed Spychalski to develop properties in the city.

He handed me a manilla folder Tuesday and said it was in there.

It wasn't.

I honestly think it was a mistake. He and I discussed Gramercy's contract, but I didn't look for it in the packet because it was in-and-amongst the financials of the non-profit.

He told me, though, they were making "A buck and three-quarters an hour," which I took for 100 times that. He later confirmed that.

"It was a short-term arrangement," Spychalski said, corroborating Ed Wohlleber's statement about the contract.

However, Eric Weller, a board member on the Housing Authority Board of Directors confirmed the number but not the sentiment.

"It was a short-term contract," he said, saying it had been "terminated." "We were unhappy with the results."

Spychalski, in a meeting Tuesday, said the PR firm had done what it was supposed to do.

"I was getting calls at 9, 10 at night and at 6 in the morning," Spychalski said. "It was interfering with the work I do at the Housing Authority."

He said he hired Gramercy at the behest of the Housing Authority's attorney to field calls and help get info out there about the situation at the Housing Authority.

"We were getting crushed out there (in the press)" Spychalski said. And he said taking on Gramercy "helped a lot."

"I think I had to do it because I could not get the job done I do here," he said.

Spychalski said the Housing Authority hasn't gotten the final bill on the service. So far they have paid out about $5,000 (about 28.5 hours) and he said "there's not much more."

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