Queens School has let an historic $2.5 million waterfront mansion with sweeping views of Little Neck Bay stand empty for 3 years after its present president selected to reside in his Westchester residence whereas getting a $5,000 month-to-month housing allowance.
Whereas Felix Matos Rodriguez collects $60,000 a yr to reside in his personal home, the CUNY-owned Douglaston manse collects mud, used solely sporadically for faculty capabilities.
“It’s like a Nice Gatsby type of mansion,” stated one visitor who had visited the official president’s residence previously.
Whereas CUNY bylaws require school presidents to reside in houses supplied by the general public college system, Matos Rodriguez was allowed to stay in his household residence after he was named the pinnacle of Queens School in August 2014.
He gave up residence within the arts and crafts/Colonial revival residence that was in-built 1915 and is sort of 5,000 sq. toes. The town bought the property in 1968 and it was transferred to CUNY possession in 1971.
James Muyskens, who retired as Queens School president on the finish of 2013, lived within the four-bedroom property whereas he headed the varsity, which is about seven miles south of the property.
“I discovered it a spactactular place for a president to reside,” Muyskens instructed The Put up. “We totally loved it and used it loads for numerous campus and outreach actions.”
Amongst Muyskens’ neighbors was restaurant proprietor and chef Lidia Bastianich who has owned a waterfront residence within the posh enclave for many years and used its kitchen to movie a few of her tv reveals.
CUNY contemplated promoting off the mansion in 2001 when it was evaluating what to do with eight houses for directors that had been then price greater than $10 million. It deliberate to place the proceeds towards boosting housing allowances for the honchos who might then reside the place they selected.
A college official on the time known as it “a cheaper strategy. We don’t must assist upkeep of the services.”
As CUNY held on to its properties, its tuition continued to rise. This yr it elevated by three p.c to $6,530 a yr at senior schools.
In 2009, CUNY did promote an Higher East Aspect city home that was purported to be the residence for Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, who lived elsewhere. It introduced in $three.four million.
It additionally offered one other residence it owned in Douglaston, a Colonial that was the residence for York School presidents. The present school president lives elsewhere and the six-bedroom property went for $1.four million in 2013.
Queens School spokeswoman Maria Matteo stated there have been no present plans to promote the Little Neck Bay property.
Matteo stated the home was used on common 10 to 11 occasions a yr for alumni or donor capabilities, workshops and retreats. She stated the cash raised in school occasions hosted on the residence exceeds the price of its maintenance.
She stated warmth and electrical energy got here to lower than $5,000 a yr and normal upkeep was lower than $10,000 yearly.