By Naeisha Rose
Oster Bryan, the former candidate who ran for an Assembly seat in southeast Queens against incumbent Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary was asked to resign from his post as the president of the St. Albans Improvement Association.
Bryan believes that an $8,000 grant sent to the civic association before the Sept. 13 primary by Vanel was at the heart of the decision of him getting booted from organization.
“They are trying to remove as president, and they are saying it’s because I ran for public office, but that makes no sense to me,” said Bryan. “There is no such rule on our books that says I can’t.”
The eight-page bylaws from the civic association did not indicate a member or leader of the organization could not run for office; however, a letter sent to the former candidate said that he knew of the funds that were sent to the civic association before he decided to run and put the needs of the nonprofit at risk.
“It appears that you had no interest nor respect for the welfare of this organization and its members. Instead you choose to join the race for the Assembly seat after already knowing Assemblyman Clyde Vanel gave the Civic a grant,” said the letter that was sent out by the organization’s Vice President Martha Oliver.
Vanel implied he had nothing to do with Bryan being asked to resign and that funds were sent to the civic association long before the primary race; however, he did not have records on hand as to when exactly he offered the grant as of Wednesday night.
“I cannot understand what he would be basing that on,” said Vanel. “I believe that I allocated those funds to the organization, long before the primary.”
Bryan also accused Joseph Goldbloom, a senior advisor of many City Council officials, past and present, of also having a role in forcing his resignation from the civic association.
“People who don’t live in the community are trying to control what goes on in the community,” according to Bryan. “I was told [by Oliver over a phone call] that Joe Goldbloom said ‘it can’t be done,’ and to my understanding that it is him who is pushing this.”
Goldbloom and Oliver were not available for comment as of Wednesday night.
“He lives in Manhattan and he is not even a member of the civic,” said Bryan.
Bryan also emphasized that while running for the Assembly seat representing St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Floral Park and Queens Village, he did not campaign at the civic association’s headquarters, located at 204-03 Linden Blvd. in St. Albans.
“I believe that this is some kind of retaliation for running,” said Bryan. “You don’t lose your right as a citizen because you are doing volunteer work for an organization.”
The letter sent to Bryan about his run for public office also took issue with him running for the Assembly shortly after running for re-election for the organization. Bryan was re-elected to a second term in May.
“Mr. Bryan, you mislead the Board of Directors and its members that you were dedicated and willing to serve the St. Albans community in accepting your second term,” according to the letter sent out by Oliver.
Despite the bylaws not saying anything about its members or representatives running for public office, it did state “any member may be expelled from the Civic Association for actions detrimental to the best interests of the Civic Association.”
“I’m still an American citizen,” said Bryan. “Serving on jury duty, voting and running for office is my right.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose