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Board of Directors

West Harlem Development Corporation’s Board of Directors

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Judge Milton Tingling


Judge Milton Tingling is the County Clerk of New York County. Previously he was a New York Supreme Court Justice. He has worked in New York County’s state courts since 2000. Before then, he was elected as Judge of Civil Court for the city’s 7th Municipal District and has also served as judge in the district’s criminal part. He has also worked as a law clerk and as a solo practitioner since 1983. His community service includes holding the position of Trustee for the Yvonne Schrouder Brown Foundation, Inc. and serving on the Board of Visitors for the Children’s Aid Society’s Milbank Center. He is also the Chair of Community League of the Heights. He is the founder and was lead counsel for the Martin Luther King Democratic Club Free Legal Clinic. Judge Tingling is a lifetime resident of West Harlem.

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Armond Adams


Armond Adams is a licensed Real Estate Salesperson with the Corcoran Group. Before the Corcoran group, he was a founding member of Skyward Real Estate, located in New York City. In his first year with the firm, he received the Transaction of the Year award. Prior to his career change into real estate, Armond worked in Digital Media Sales for over 10 years with several companies such as NBC Universal, Disney, and Facebook.

Armond graduated from Columbia College in 2006 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Studies. Armond is a former board member of the Columbia Alumni Association, and former Vice Chair of the Associations and Clubs Committee. Armond is also President Emeritus of the Black Alumni Council of Columbia University. Most recently, he founded and is now the Co-Chair of the Real Estate Network of the Columbia Alumni Association (RENCAA), a group of alumni with careers with a focus in real estate. Armond recently received the Columbia Alumni Medal award, Columbia’s highest award for alumni of the university. He currently resides in East Harlem, and coaches little league baseball for Harlem and East Harlem.

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Darlene Grant Bruce, Esq.


Darlene Grant Bruce is an attorney’s attorney, practicing law for thirty five (35) years. Attorney Bruce has the distinction of being appointed by the federal court as the first black woman to serve as a Special Master over the prisons. As a native New Yorker, Darlene has a deep and long commitment to serving the village of Harlem. Darlene is a member of the historic Abyssinian Baptist church, Jack and Jill of America and a golden life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Attorney Bruce is no stranger to serving her community whether as counsel to Assembly Member Al Taylor, West Harlem Group Assistance or as a Director for West Harlem Development Corporation. Attorney Bruce is the founder HDFC Empowered group and Sisters in Politics (SIP). Attorney Bruce received her juris doctorate from Georgetown Law Center and her Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University with a double major in Afro and African American Studies and Political Science. Attorney Bruce has been sworn into several levels of both state and federal Courts in New York and Washington, D.C., including the US Supreme Court. Attorney Bruce is a member of various Bar associations in New York, including the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the NYC Women’s Bar Association.

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Gregory O. Watson


Gregory O. Watson is the Assistant Commissioner/NYC Regional Director in the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Office of Community Development. Mr. Watson has more than 25 years of experience of executive and managerial experience providing oversight in the day to day management of government agencies and community development corporations. Mr. Watson was the Chief Operating Officer of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, Inc. and the Executive Director of the New York State Assembly’s Tenant Takeover Team. Mr. Watson has two master’s degrees in city and regional planning and social work.

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Geoffrey Eric Eaton

Representing NYS Assembly Member for the 70th District- Hon. Inez Dickens

Geoffrey E. Eaton was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Rangel, overseeing the day-to-day management of the New York Office. He has also represented the Congressman on a number of important boards, including the New York Empowerment Zone, The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the Harlem Community Development Corporation. Mr. Eaton is the president of the New York City NAACP.

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Theodore P. Kovaleff, Ph.D.

Dr. Theodore Kovaleff, a former assistant dean of Columbia University’s School of Law with a Ph.D. in History, has extensive community service extending back to 1971, including six terms as chair of Community Board 9, President of the Council of the Silver Bay Association and Chair of the Manhattan Borough President’s Public Safety Committee. He has received several awards for his work in the community, including a proclamation from former Borough President Ruth Messinger, naming January 18 “Ted Kovaleff Day.” Dr. Kovaleff is an analyst with Horwitz & Associates and has worked as a financial analyst for several firms, including Sky Capital. Dr. Kovaleff has been long-time resident of West Harlem.

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Jalissa Quigley

Representing the NYC Council Member for the 7th District – Shaun Abreu

Jalissa Quigley serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy and Budget Director for the Hon. Shaun Abreu, Council Member for the 7th City Council District. Before her tenure with Council Member Abreu, she served as Director of Communications to I. Daneek Miller, where she worked extensively on the revitalization of Downtown Jamaica, the creation of a unified business improvement district, and the development of a K-12 Black Studies curriculum for NYC public schools. A proud CUNY alumnus, Jalissa graduated from Macaulay Honors College in 2018, majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies with a focus on New York City politics.

As a result of her experience in government in both policy and public engagement roles, Jalissa brings a wealth of knowledge to her new role in supporting the Hon. Shaun Abreu in uplifting and engaging the communities of the Upper West Side through Morningside Heights, West Harlem, Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights.

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Marianne Camille Spraggins, Esq.

Marianne Spraggins is an attorney and real estate broker who spent most of her career in investment banking where she developed extensive experience in municipal and mortgage finance, private equity and asset management. She began her Wall Street career at Salomon Brothers where she was part of the team that created residential mortgage securities and marketed this new product to institutional and public pension fund investors. Later, while at Smith Barney, she became the first African American female Managing Director on Wall Street. She also served as Senior Counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel, a body created by Congress to oversee the U.S. Treasury’s implementation of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). She has been part of several entrepreneurial ventures including BondFactor, a company that developed a new approach to municipal bond insurance.

Ms. Spraggins is a former director of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (S.I.P.C.), where she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the agency that protects investors in the event of broker/dealer failure. A native New Yorker and Harlemite, Ms. Spraggins received an LL.M. in International Law from Harvard Law School, a J.D. from the New York Law School and a B.A. in English Literature from Boston University. She is a member of the Bar of the State of New York and is a member of the federal bar in the Southern District of New York. She currently is a board member of GrowNYC, the not-for-profit corporation that is instrumental in the “greening” of New York City, including running the city’s greenmarkets.

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Patricia Watler-Johnson

Representing Manhattan Community Board 9

Patricia Watler Johnson has been a resident of the West Harlem Community for over 30 years and held property management positions in the private sector before serving in NYS Government as a housing and communications professional. Ms. Watler Johnson previously served as a Division Director in the NYS OTDA Division of Shelter Oversight and Compliance. In addition to representing CB9M on the WHDC Board, she serves as Co-Chair of MCB9’s Uniform Services & Transportation Committee.

Ms. Watler Johnson’s leadership history includes board service on Manhattan’s Community School Board 6, the Harlem Community Development Corporation, NYS Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Memorial Observance Committee, Paul E. Paris Jr. Chapter of Blacks in Government, and the Public Employees Federation Region 10 Women’s Committee. She has earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Real Estate from Pace University, Master of Public Administration Degree in Policy Analysis from Walden University, and is a graduate of the NYPD Citizens Police Academy.

Ms. Watler Johnson is also a published writer whose story “No More Drama” was featured in the internationally acclaimed book Chicken Soup for the African-American Woman’s Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Lisa Nichols. Her contribution was one of 73 stories selected for this book from over 5,500 entries worldwide.


Meet the dedicated employees of West Harlem Development Corporation.

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Zead Ramadan

Executive Director

Zead Ramadan’s experience includes over twenty years in community leadership, advocacy, nonprofit governance and development, community outreach and organization, policy development and implementation, small business planning and management. His passion is working with other stakeholders to widen the scale of prosperity across all sectors including Affordable Housing, the Arts, Economic and Workforce Development, Older Adults and Youth Services, Education, and Job Creation and Training in Northern Manhattan while utilizing collaborative and creative cross sector strategies. His community service includes sitting on the boards of UMEZ, Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, CB12M, ARC XVI Senior Center, CAIR-NY, and WHDC.

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Vincent S. Morgan

HDFC Resource Center

Vince Morgan is a seasoned management professional with experience across several industry sectors. Vincent most recently worked as a consultant on a variety of projects ranging from transportation infrastructure, film production and technology start-ups. Prior to this time as a consultant, he served as Vice President/Community Development Manager for New York State with TD Bank. He facilitated real estate investments and commercial development projects primarily in the housing and healthcare sectors.

Vincent holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University.

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Joanna Castro

Director of Programs

Joanna E. Castro is a native New Yorker with over fifteen years of nonprofit executive experience working and consulting with Northern Manhattan community stakeholders to fortify their organizations, community spaces, and access to public resources. As Executive Director of NoMAA (Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance), Joanna expanded the reach, visibility, and funding to one of New York’s leading arts service orgs by raising the profile of Uptown arts orgs and artists, as well as local businesses by forging alliances, grants opportunities, and cultivating public engagement around issues affecting the Northern Manhattan community. She also developed and implemented innovative year-around technical assistance workshops and annual Institute addressing community-wide needs.

Joanna earned a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies cum laude from Dickinson College. She lived and worked in Spain for seven years receiving her M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management from the Universidad Carlos III (Madrid). Joanna has received fellowships from Coro/Neighborhood Leadership, Hispanic Federation, among others. She is an Advisor for the Emerging Leaders Program at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

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Yverose Charles

Manager of Accounting & HR

Coming soon

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Frank Nibbs

Office Coordinator

Coming soon

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John Betancourt

Chief Compliance Officer and Information Technology Director

Born and raised in Upper Manhattan, John leads overall information technology strategy and compliance. Working with companies and not-for-profits for over 40 years, John focuses on ensuring that information technology serves the needs of all stakeholders while meeting regulatory and other compliance requirements. John is a graduate of Hunter College High School and Princeton University and a former member of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Board. He is a certified Sun Microsystems Software Architect.

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