June 1, By Bill Parry
Long Island City, Queens: The owner of The Cliffs at LIC does not believe that his recent arrest will affect the success of his facility and is pressing ahead with opening his massive rock climbing complex.
Mike Wolfert, who was arrested on May 16 on charges relating to bribing a building inspector to lift a stop work order, views the arrest as a “bump in the road.”
He said the arrest will not hurt his business long term. “The quality of the facility and the quality of the staff is what counts not an alleged transgression against one individual.”
Wolfert, whose business is located near the Court Square subway station, said he has received a lot of ‘positive” support from Long Island City business owners. “They are looking forward to all the young and affluent people The Cliffs at LIC will draw to the area,” he said.
Wolfert said that the government’s case is against him and not The Cliffs at LIC. He did not comment on the allegations, under the advice of his counsel, nor what followed after the stop work order was issued.
Wolfert faces third degree bribery charges and a misdemeanor charge of “unlawful” continuance—for allegedly working on the premises while the stop-work order had been issued.
Wolfert is converting a former warehouse located at 11-11 44th Drive into one of the largest climbing facilities in North America, with walls towering up to 60-feet high. He said there is a month of construction left and said The Cliffs at LIC will still open this summer.
He said the community is excited by jobs the facility will bring. He said there will be more than one hundred jobs available, a large portion being full time jobs with benefits.
“We’ll provide fulltime jobs for adults as staff instructors and a marketing department,” Wolfert said. “There will be plenty of part time work for young people aged 16-18 to run our children’s after school programs.”