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Queens Chronicle

Top officers clash in Board 13 blowup

Cruz walks out again; Block calls her conduct ‘foul, disgusting, obnoxious’

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:12 am, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

A long-simmering feud between Community Board 13 Chairman Bryan Block and First Vice Chairwoman Tanya Cruz blew up Monday night, with Cruz leaving the dais and walking out for the second time in the last three meetings.

Block, in presenting the monthly chairman’s report, made reference to Cruz’s walking out of the board’s June 24 following a dispute over support of a traffic light on Francis Lewis Boulevard in the Laurelton-Cambria Heights area.

Cruz that night left the meeting at Bellerose Assembly of God Church for about 10 minutes before coming back.

“I call on the first vice chair to apologize for her foul, disgusting and obnoxious manner,” Block said on Monday night at the church, seconds before Cruz left again.

She would return later, sitting in the back of the church for the remainder of the nearly three-hour meeting.

The dispute on June 24 was prompted, at least publicly, when Cruz, chairwoman of the board’s Transportation Committee, made a motion to approve the traffic light, which the city Department of Transportation had agreed to install where Francis Lewis meets 121st Street.

Block, however, said that night he had no indication that community representatives had been present at the Transportation Committee hearing dealing with the light.

He sought and received authority to approve the project on CB 13’s behalf three days later after he met with DOT staff, even though Cruz said the very idea of getting the light originated with a civic group.

Both Block and Cruz declared each other to be out of order at the June 24 meeting before Cruz got up and left.

On Monday, Block accused Cruz of offering the board’s support for a street renaming, one on which he said members had taken no position.

He also accused Cruz of attempting to undermine his authority as chairman in recent months through various conversations and emails to other CB 13 members.

“That time might have been better spent working on the community’s transportation needs,” he said.

Finally, Block said, a conversation allegedly initiated by Cruz with Public Safety Chairman Clive Williams resulted in Williams filing a police report with the 105th Precinct.

Williams was not in attendance Monday night, and Block declined to discuss the nature or contents of the report, though he did give a receipt for the report to board officials.

Cruz, approached in the vestibule of the church, denied all of Block’s allegations.

“I refute everything,” she said. “You were at the June 24 meeting.”

News of Monday’s incident likely was considered unwelcome at Borough Hall, where Borough President Helen Marshall, in charge of managing all community boards, leaves office in 10 weeks.

“We have not heard complaints from anyone,” Dan Andrews, Marshall’s press secretary, said in an email to the Chronicle.

“We have faith in Mr. Block as chair and we do not know the nature of the police report.”

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