By Bill Parry
Karl McNamara failed to attend a public meeting he requested at the Greater Astoria Historical Society Monday. McNamara wanted to discuss his plans for the Steinway Conservatory, a music school for disadvantaged youth he planned to establish at the historic Steinway Mansion, which he claimed he had purchased.
The claim was denied by Astoria-based Attorney Philip Loria, an owner of the Steinway Mansion, who said when first contacted about the purported sale: “I do not know attorney Karl McNamara nor have I had any discussions, conversations or dealings whatsoever with this alleged individual.”
At the lightly attended meeting, the executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Bob Singleton, read from a prepared statement.
“Part of our program this evening was to include a presentation from Karl McNamara, who contacted us stating that he had purchased the Steinway Mansion and was going to start the Steinway Conservatory,” Singleton said. “He asked if he could have part of our evening to share his plans with the community and to speak for a few minutes at the end of the program. As you may have read in the newspapers, the current owner claims he has not sold the mansion. We reached out to Mr. McNamara but have not heard back from him. I do not have any more information on this. Our only concern is for the Steinway Mansion.”
Singleton runs an advocacy group called Friends of Steinway Mansion that feared for the landmarked home’s future after Loria had a hill excavated to make room for the construction of 11 commercial warehouses on the property.
“Lies are always short-lived and I am elated to hear that the truth has quickly surfaced,” Loria said. “Councilman Constantinides, Senator Gianaris, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz have and continue to work tirelessly in an effort to find a suitable venue for the Steinway Mansion.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr