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Norman Steisel and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Incinerator

Early in the tenure of New York City's Mayor Dinkins, all cities in the State of New York were required to draft a Sold Waste Management Plan. NYC's plan depended heavily on incineration, in large part due to the influence of then Deputy Mayor Norman Steisel. The City Council was upset with the Mayor's plan, so they required the Mayor to obtain their approval before sending the report to the State. I created an 8 1/2 by 11 sticker to garner attention to the issue. Here's the text of the sticker:

Fire Norman Steisel
Not Our Trash

[At the behest of then Sanitation Commissioner Steisel, the Board of Estimate] approved the Signal [Corporation] contract [for the Brooklyn Navy Yard incinerator]... by a 6 to 5 vote [in August of 1985]....

But the Board wasn't aware of one aspect of the deal: it had been told that the Sanitation Department had drafted a service agreement that guaranteed the delivery of a certain amount of highly flammable garbage to the incinerator every day for 20 years, but that amount was 3,000 tons a day. [Total garbage generated in NYC = 27,000 tons per day. Paper = 9,200 tons per day. Plastic = 2,700 tons per day (Daily News 22 April 1990).] The agreement also called for unspecified penalties against the city if it failed to provide the amount or quantity of garbage agreed upon....

[Koch asked] his Corporation Counsel to investigate the possibilty that the Navy Yard deal was tainted.... Investigating attorneys found that "Steisel probably attended one" of the meetings where the role of Lazard in the underwriting syndicate was discussed. It was during that meeting, on November 6, that Deputy Sanitation Commissioner Casowitz, "supported by Steisel, ured [Koch and his Deputy Mayors] to acquiesce in Signal's determination that the syndicate inclue Lazard as a lead underwriter, and presented arguments to that conclusion."...

The next day, November 7, according to the report, Steisel lunched with DelGiudice and Tamagni, first partner in Lazard's municipal finance group. On December 10, Steisel and DelGuidice set up an appointment to discuss job opportunities.... On December 30, Stesel visited Lazard to meet with the remaining partners in the municipal finance group. The very next day... Stesel signed an incinerator contract that guaranteed Lazard a full senior underwriter's cut of the approximately $30 million in commissions. On January 10, 1986, DelGiudice tendered Lazard's job offer. Steisel accepted...

Here's a photo of where one of the stickers was put... It's a garbage can holder at the front door of the Department of Sanitation's headquarters! The best part is, it stayed there for a year or two! I SWEAR!

Photo of a garbage can holder.  The holder has a picture
of the Statue of Liberty.  The text on the holder says "Lets Help Clean Up New York City" to which I added the word "Government" by using a marker.  I then took the sticker and stuck it in the place of the
Statue of Liberty's torch.  CLASSIC!  Too bad you can't see it!


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Last updated: 4 April 1999