Halloran blows lid at Star Nissan

The Star Nissan service center was the scene of a tirade by City Councilman Dan Halloran last week. Photo by Rich Bockmann
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Auto-owners bringing their Maximas and Muranos in for service at Auburndale’s Star Nissan service center were privy to a spectacle last week as City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) stopped by to confront management on a litany of quality-of-life complaints neighbors have registered against the company — and ended up delivering a verbal lashing that left employees slack-jawed.

Teddy Neofitos, the body shop manager at the center on 172nd Street, said that when Halloran first showed up about two weeks earlier yelling about open doors and off-hour deliveries, he assumed he was an irate customer screaming at employees.

So when the councilman came in again last week, Neofitos took out his phone and shot a video of the riled Republican.

“I’m not f---ing joking,” Halloran can be heard saying as a car alarm sounds in the background. “Either these doors stay closed, top to bottom, all the f---ing time, or we’re going to have a problem! This is the last time we have this conversati­on!”

Halloran has said he inherited about a dozen boxes from former Councilman Tony Avella and former state Sen. Frank Padavan filled with 10 years’ worth of complaints from neighboring residents, which run the gamut from noise complaints to violating its certificate of occupancy to early morning deliveries.

He said he shot video of garage doors being left open, emitting noise from the shop inside and had received complaints about deliveries being made at 4 a.m.

Service Manager Elliot Rothman, who received the direct brunt of the councilman’s anger on two occasions, said that all garage doors, except the one in the front of the service center, are automatic and close about 30 seconds after a vehicle passes through.

He said the door Halloran taped as being open was new and malfunctioning but has since been repaired, and that deliveries are not accepted until 7 a.m.

Rhea O’Gorman, president of the Station Road Civic Association, said her neighborhood’s relationship with the service center has been “acrimonious” for a decade and that her chief complaint is the noise emitted through open doors, especially during the summer.

“Fixing the noise would go a long way to making it a tenable relationsh­ip,” she said.

Halloran told TimesLedger Newspapers that he has made Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) aware of the issue and had set a deadline of Nov. 15 for all the center’s doors to remain closed while not in use.

If Star Nissan does not comply, he said, he would schedule a news conference outside the building with city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Rothman said all the doors were in working order but that the front door needed to remain open for the 60 to 100 cars the busy station services each day.

“It’s our main entrance. We have to let people in. We have no way of knowing whether or not they’re out there,” he said.

Rothman said the center employs about 200 people and that it was hypocritical of Halloran, who says he supports small businesses, to come in and scream at employees.

“Our main concern was that he was venting and cursing out our employees. You can’t do that,” he said.

O’Gorman said she understood the councilman’s frustration but that the community’s outrage should be directed at the Koufakis family, which owns the company.

“They’re trying to pit the neighbors against the workers,” she said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

Posted 8:40 pm, November 2, 2011
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Reader feedback

hashadenuf from Auburndale says:
Star's statements in the article attest to the fact that they are operating contrary to their certificate of occupancy. They have too many cars and do not provide any employee parking as mandated by the NYC zoning resolution. The doors only seem to "malfuncition" in warmer weather.
STAR, you are a lousy, disrepectful business, the neighbor from hell and your lies are finally going to get the best of you as you are not the only one who can take video.
Today (11/4) your TRACTOR TRAILER delivery truck was unloading at 5:40AM with the bay doors wide open. Get over your pity party about being yelled at. You've heard worse from you unhappy clients. How do we know? Well, we can hear it too.

Nov. 4, 2011, 8:01 pm
Upset Resident from Flushing says:
Tribune - thank you for exposing this "Creep of Queens." The Koufakis family might be rich millionaires but they certainly are not successful businessmen. A successful businessman has respect for the neighborhood they work in. Star Corp. uses and abuses Flushing and Bayside, Queens while the rich owners go back to their ritzy, quiet, noise free, pollution free neighborhood. Shame on you Queens Courier! How could you nominate this Creep as "King of Queens?" You don't care about Queens, you only care about how much advertising revenue you generate.
Nov. 6, 2011, 12:31 pm

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