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North Shore Towers group fights board over free speech

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The North Shore Towers Shareholders' Association - a group comprised of some 400 shareholders and is separate from the board of directors - said they were granted access to the station on one occasion in 2001 but were not broadcast after that because the group "had been critical of management," according to a letter of inquiry dated Jan. 6 and written to the co-op's Board of Directors by Arthur Eisenberg, the legal director of the NYCLU. Eisenberg noted that other groups within North Shore Towers were allowed to air on the station and the fact that the Shareholders' Association was denied access is against the property law. He is asking for the co-op to look into the allegations. "It's the war on free speech. According to the [NYCLU], what's good for the geese is good for the gander" said Shareholders' Association President Morris Feuer. "We pay for the in-house channel. It's our television station. It's all paid for by the shareholders." But Errol Brett, the attorney for North Shore Towers, said the Shareholders' Association complaint has no merit. "The in-house station is for entertainment and it's not for (co-op) politics," Brett said. "I don't see any legal right. The channel belongs to North Shore Towers Inc. I think it's a tempest in a teapot."He likened the situation to a private citizen suggesting what content a local television station should air."You cannot tell Channel 2 what you'd like to be aired on their station," Brett said. But Fred Hadley, a North Shore Towers resident who wrote letters to the NYCLU on the association's behalf, said the in-house station does broadcast events that would include co-op politics, including Meet the Candidates sessions. Hadley, who was a videographer for North Shore Towers from 2001 to 2003 and videotaped the 2001 Shareholders' Association meeting, is not himself a shareholder.According to Eisenberg's letter of inquiry, the Shareholders' Association has also been "denied the opportunity to communicate directly with tenants" because they have not been allowed to leave "organizational materials" on the doorsteps of North Shore Towers residents, which "impedes the association's ability to communicate with tenants in connection with an upcoming shareholder's election." Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

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