Ithaca, N.Y. — Mayor Svante Myrick and Police Chief John Barber trumpeted a $12,000 donation from the corporation owned by former All-Star First Baseman Mo Vaughn in a statement released on Monday.
Vaughn’s Omni New York LLC runs the West Village Apartments, a troubled part of the city facing serious problems with drugs and crime. Vaughn retired from Major League Baseball in 2003.
The former New York Met will be funding $12,000 in extra patrols for the West Village for the second year in a row, the city announced Monday.
“Mayor Svante Myrick and Chief of Police John R. Barber are pleased to announce that Omni New York LLC, owned by former MLB All-Star Mo Vaughn and his business partner Eugene Schneur, have once again delivered bigtime for the City of Ithaca,” the statement said.
Vaughn, the 1995 American League MVP, made $47 million in a six-year contract with the NY Mets at the end of his career, according to Syracuse.com.
Still, he has had “some post career money difficulties,” Forbes reported last summer.
A glowing New York Times profile from 2010 said Vaughn’s money had brought “a dose of glamour to the decidedly unsexy world of low-income housing:”
(Vaughn’s) six-year-old company, Omni New York LLC, is on its way to becoming a major player in the low-income housing world. It has acquired 4,000 apartments, most of them in New York State’s scrappiest neighborhoods, housing the poorest of tenants (98 percent of them qualify for Section 8 rent subsidies).
In a city obsessed with the gilded cocoons of the rich, the company has forged a reputation for turning around properties once deemed untouchable in the caste system of New York real estate — like the Plaza, where drug dealers once openly sold their own brand of heroin, guarded by pit bulls whose food was laced with gunpowder.
In Monday’s statement Myrick acknowledged that the added patrols wouldn’t fix the West Village.
“If we are to keep West Hill as a beautiful, desirable place to live we will have to work with each property owner, the police, and the residents. This donation won’t solve every challenge we face – but it will help us keep community oriented police officers on the streets in West Hill in high numbers,” Myrick said.