The claws are out.
The scandal-scarred state entity that governs Roosevelt Island is demanding a gaggle of beloved native cat sanctuaries begin paying the lease for the first time ever or be evicted.
Rossana Ceruzzi, head of the nonprofit Wildlife Freedom Foundation, knowledgeable The Post she was shocked when the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation simply currently despatched her a lease ordering her group to cough up $400 a month for the home the WFF makes use of inside the isle’s Southpoint Park house for its cat sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation coronary heart.
“It acquired right here out of the blue,’’ Ceruzzi acknowledged of RIOC’s “shameless and outrageous’’ demand after 10 years of not requiring the group to pay the lease.
“These are group cats. The WFF has been relentlessly engaged on the island to rescue, take away, relocate, administration, and so forth., abandoned pets and wildlife for free of charge to RIOC for innumerable years,’’ she acknowledged.
The lease acquired right here “with a risk spelled out: RIOC will shut down the cat sanctuaries and dismantle them if I don’t signal it as is,” acknowledged Ceruzzi, whose group is a state and federally licensed Wildlife Animal Rehabilitator and admired protector of cats and totally different animals and birds on the island.
Ceruzzi acknowledged Gretchen Robinson, vice chairman and chief counsel of RIOC, wrote in an e-mail to her and her lawyer that “since Ms. Ceruzzi is refusing to sign the settlement, we’ll switch forward with the closure of the cat sanctuaries the least bit current areas (Southpoint Park, Octagon, Pony Field, and Lighthouse Park).
“Ms. Ceruzzi can have 30 days from the date of this e mail (October 24th) by which to dismantle any personal property belonging to WFF, along with all wildlife and feral cats.
“If by that date Ms. Ceruzzi has not eliminated all private property and relocated the animals from these areas, RIOC will trigger the cat sanctuary areas to be closed; and also will trigger the removing and relocation of the animals by itself,” Robinson added.
The kitty battle is solely the latest controversy involving RIOC.
In June, RIOC President and CEO Susan Rosenthal have been fired after a probe by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office for allegedly making “racially and sexually offensive” remarks.
RIOC did not reply to a request for a comment from The Post over the feline dust-up.
Ceruzzi and others acknowledged RIOC is claiming the state requires it to price lease, although it wasn’t exactly clear why the corporate is making the switch to obtain this now.
State Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, who represents Roosevelt Island, and her Republican opponent, Louis Puliafito, blasted RIOC over the issue.
“This is the time we want to be suspending lease, not establishing it,’’ Seawright, who backs legal guidelines to droop or cancel the monthly-payment demand, wrote in a letter to RIOC.
“Our parks and amenities such as a result of the cat sanctuary provide necessary corporations that the parents can reap the advantages of all through the pandemic,’’ she acknowledged.
“While I perceive that RIOC is perhaps required to cost to be used of such house beneath the State’s pointers, a pandemic shouldn’t be the time to be establishing such a settlement.”
Puliafito claimed that the RIOC is charging lease to WFF as retaliation in opposition to Ceruzzi for collaborating in protests over the leveling of timber in Southpoint Park as part of the seawall restoration enterprise.