A city agency is disrupting Hunts Point Terminal Market wholesalers’ operations.
Matthew D’Arrigo, co-chairman of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, which manages the market, said interference from the Business Integrity Commission, an agency tasked with ending organized crime influence, is harming operations.
The interference comes as the Bronx-based market continues its negotiations with New York officials to move into modern distribution facilities.
D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., said the commission is trying to run the market’s daily operations.
“It’s an overstepping of their authority,” D’Arrigo said. “They feel like they’re the boss of the market. They feel they have the right to dictate to the market on anything that happens here between sanitation, hours of operation, traffic patterns, parking rules and public safety security measures.
“Their job as created by the city council was for one reason and one reason only, so that any organized crime doesn’t infiltrate our market. It’s not like they don’t know who we are. They know the ownership of the market and it’s not hard to see when there’s changes in ownership. If they stuck to their original job empowerment, we would have no issues at all with them.”
Shari Hyman, the business commission’s chairwoman, defended the group’s activities.
“BIC plays a vital role in keeping the playing field level for all of the businesses in the market,” she said. “This is for the benefit of law-abiding businesses that operate there as well as their customers and employees. We have an 11-year history of exercising this authority consistently and appropriately.”
D’Arrigo said market officials plan to speak out about the commission’s actions at an Oct. 29 city council meeting.
He characterized financial negotiations between the market and the city as successful but added many things remain to be decided between the market and the city.
Governmental funds plan to support half of the $320 million new market deal, D’Arrigo said.
A plan hasn’t been developed yet and many discussions remain, D’Arrigo said
Talks to move distributors out of the aging 500,000-square-foot market began in 2000.