Alvin & Friends Turned Public Parking Lot into Private Valet Lot in 2013

Written By: Robert Cox

Several days ago, I tweeted about the connection between special parking privileges obtained by Alvin & Friends after he gave money to the New Rochelle Police Foundation:

“Alvin gave $$ to NRPD Commish Carroll Foundation; NRPD Commish Carroll gave Alvin control over public parking lot for private valet parking.”

Gwen Clayton Alvin’s wife, replied:

“FAKE News!!!Stop this lie! There’s a long list who support our local commission. I have a folder thick of pa”

I replied:

“I appreciate that the in-thing these days is to shout “fake news” but that dog won’t hunt with @TalkoftheSound as readers and critics know.”

The New Rochelle Police  Foundation is influence peddling under the guise of a charitable organization, it should be dissolved – and will be”

She replied”

“Alvin&Friends Friends has no valet”

I replied:

“But you did, set up in the library lot. I have photos and video. Will post on Talk of the Sound.”

It was never my attention to run a story on the valet parking issue at Alvin & Friends. I was asked to document the situation and did. This is why the video has never seen the light of day, until now. I am running it now because Gwen Clayton is making knowingly false allegations and I have no choice but to rebut them.

So, here is the backstory with the video.

On the night of Saturday June 22, 2013 I received a phone call from Downtown BID Board Member James O’Toole. He was in Cape Cod on vacation. O’Toole told me that the weekend before there had been complaints from other restaurants and bars in the area that Alvin & Friends had set up the public parking lot next to the New Rochelle Public Library as a private, valet parking lot and that patrons of other restaurants were told they could not park in the public lot.

A complaint was made by downtown businesses to Ralph DiBart, Executive Director of the Downtown BID. Alvin Clayton was advised by DiBart that he could not use the library lot as a private valet lot.

As he was out of town, O’Toole asked me to go to the parking lot, observe, take photos and videos and advise him of the situation. I arrived on scene shortly before 9:00 p.m. I had my son with me and he shot video on his iPhone.

There are five video clips. One shows valet company workers taking cars from patrons of Alvin & Friends in exchange for a red claim check. Three other videos show vehicles parked throughout the library lot, including double-parked, parked in handicap spaces with blue striped lines and walkway areas marked with white striped lines. More vehicles were parked up and down Memorial Highway. All of the cars in the lot and most on the street have a red claim check under the windshield wiper. The fifth video includes an exchange with Alvin Clayton and my side of a phone call with Paul Vacca who is in charge of parking for the City of New Rochelle.

I compiled the video with a few edits for brevity into a single video and uploaded it to YouTube. It is about 20 minutes long but if Gwen Clayton or anyone else wants to confirm my reporting the video documents my reporting.

As the video shows, dozens of vehicles were stacked up in the library parking lot, all of them with red claim checks.

You will hear Alvin Clayton say he was contacted by Ralph DiBart about the complaints, claim that he was unaware of any basis for the complaints and knew that he was not supposed to valet in public parking lots.

You will hear Alvin say that patrons park their own cars and valets put the red claim checks on the cars after the patron parks so they can help the patron find the car after they leave his restaurant. The video shows otherwise.

At no point did the valets put money into the machine to pay the parking fee for a particular car and, in some cases, they had more than one car in a space.

The backstory to all of this is issues with parking due to the failure of New Rochelle Police Commissioner Patrick Carroll to enforce parking regulations in the areas around restaurants in New Rochelle for a favored few like Alvin & Friends, Posto 22, Don Coqui and other businesses that were members of the New Rochelle Police Foundation board or major contributors to it.

I attended the next Downtown BID meeting where the parking situation was on the agenda. When O’Toole raised the issue of Alvin & Friends using the public Library Lot for private valet parking board members roared with laughter at what one called “another Pat Carroll Special”. Senior city officials were at the meeting so this entire issue and Carroll’s role it was widely known.

At one moment in the video, rich with irony, Alvin says “it would seem to me that popular restaurant, the city probably makes more money on the taxes then probably (crosstalk) I am just saying in general it seems like that would be the thing.”

The City would make money from a restaurant if that restaurant paid sales tax, a portion of which is returned to the local municipality by the State of New York. Of course, Alvin & Friends has not been paying its sales tax for years.

Here is the tweet exchanges from that night: