You are reading

Assembly Candidate Who Advocates for Street Safety Drives Vehicle With Dozens of Violations

Juan Ardila speaking during a candidate forum at Sunnyside Community Services last month (L). The illegally parked Audi that he was seen getting into on Caldwell Ave in Middle Village on May 25, 2021 (R) (Photos: Michael Dorgan, Queens Post (L) and Daniel Kurzyna, who worked on the 2021 Bob Holden reelection campaign (R))

June 16, 2022 By Christian Murray

Juan Ardila, a candidate running to represent western Queens in the state Assembly and a crusader against car culture, drives a compact sports utility vehicle that has racked up nearly 30 traffic violations since 2019.

The black Audi Q3 has been hit with multiple speed camera violations in school zones in the vicinity of Queens Boulevard and 55th Street. The vehicle has been ticketed for blocking crosswalks, parking in front of fire hydrants to obstructing driveways. There is also a bus lane violation, and a violation for blocking a pedestrian ramp.

Multiple people have told the Queens Post that he drives the vehicle and have provided photos and videos of him in it. He is often seen driving through western Queens as he campaigns to represent the 37th Assembly District, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Ridgewood and Maspeth.

His critics argue that his violations undermine his campaign, since he is a staunch advocate for street safety. His platform calls for conflict-free protected bicycle lanes, pedestrian safety measures and an end to car culture. He was endorsed by StreetsPAC today, which he announced via twitter.

Ardila, when questioned about the violations, told the Queens Post “I don’t have a car.” In a short unannounced phone interview, he refused to say who the vehicle belonged to, nor did he address the violations. He said he had to get off the phone but would call back in 5 minutes.

He didn’t call back, and after the Queens Post reached out again, he sent a text asking for the questions to be e-mailed. The questions were e-mailed but there has been no response.

The DMV did not provide the name of the registered owner of the vehicle. Tim O’Brien, a spokesperson for the state DMV, said the agency typically does not share private registration information citing the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA).

Violations against the Audi since 2019 (source: https://www.howsmydrivingny.nyc)

The Audi has been hit with 41 violations since 2017, although the limited public records available show that the vehicle was sold to an unnamed party in Queens in 2018. Since then, the vehicle appears to have remained in the name of one owner and has generated 29 violations.

Multiple people have said that they have seen Ardila driving the vehicle in recent years. In fact, video was taken of him in the car prior to a candidate forum held at the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church on Thursday June 9.

“I heard that he had a lot of traffic violations, so when I saw him in the car I took photos,” said Stefan Smetko, who was at the forum working on behalf of Brent O’Leary who is also vying for the Assembly seat.

Smetko also captured video of Ardila getting out of the vehicle.

Ardila was also captured on tape on May 11, 2021, getting into the Audi when it was illegally parked in a crosswalk in Middle Village. The footage was taken on Caldwell Avenue by Dan Kurzyna, who worked on Councilmember Bob Holden’s 2021 re-election campaign, when the councilmember defeated Ardila.

Kurzyna and Kevin Ryan, who also worked on Holden campaign, both say they often see Ardila in the vehicle. They said that these sightings are what led them to get the video.

 

Ardila getting into the illegally parked Audi on Caldwell Avenue in Middle Village on May 25, 2021 (Photo courtesy of Dan Kurzyna)

Councilmember Holden, in an interview Wednesday, said that he sees Ardila driving the vehicle all the time. The councilmember, who lives on Caldwell Avenue, says he often sees Ardila in the Audi from the window of his house.

In fact, according to public records, the vehicle has been written up for six violations in the vicinity of Caldwell Avenue and 72nd Street, hit with offenses such as blocking a crosswalk, parking in front of a driveway to obstructing a driveway.

“I’ve seen him a lot,” Holden said. “He has no regard for traffic and parking regulations. He parks it wherever he wants. He parks it in crosswalks, in front of hydrants, people’s driveways—wherever he pleases.”

“If Ardila denies that he drives it, then he is a liar,” Holden added.

Holden called Ardila a hypocrite.

“He wants us out of our cars, yet he drives around in a late model car and parks it anywhere he wants and endangers the public. That should disqualify him from holding any elected office and so should his past racial and ethnic slurs he made on social media.”

Holden was referring to a series of derogatory comments Ardila reportedly made on Facebook from 2009 to 2011 about Asians, gays, women and Jews while he was a teenager. The NYPost reported the story last year.

When the Queens Post asked Ardila, 28, about the Facebook posts during a candidate forum on May 24, he didn’t directly answer the question and instead told the audience that he had been endorsed by several progressive leaders and is running on a campaign of inclusivity.

“I am running on a campaign that focuses on inclusivity, diversity and progressive politics for western and central Queens,” he said. He then went on to say: “I am honored to be supported by city council member Tiffany Cabán. I am honored to be supported by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and I have been endorsed by the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens … all champions of the progressive space and all champions fighting for an inclusive Queens that works for everyone.”

email the author: [email protected]

84 Comments

Click for Comments 
Gardens Watcher

I received three anti-Juan mailers in my mailbox this weekend. Pretty effective campaign, using this Audi story and his own self-incriminating words. Please DO NOT vote for this guy.

Reply
Fellow streets advocate

Not sure what the story is here. As a safe streets advocate who drives on the same streets as Juan, I have also been hit with similar violations. It’s not nearly as many and it seems clear that Audi is shared among many drivers (in Juan’s family? In the Democratic Party?) but the reason is unsafe street design.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s very frustrating to get a speed camera ticket when the street next to a school is identically designed to every other street in the neighborhood. You often don’t even see the school until you already broke the posted limit.

All streets near schools and all roads with speed cameras should be redesigned to accommodate the speed the city wants you to travel. Having a street designed for 40mph with a sign that says 15mph and a camera that tickets you is not enough. Just narrow the street, take away a lane, put in angled parking, put in a bike lane, raise the crosswalk, pave it differently, do anything to design safe driving instead of punishing people for driving unsafely on unsafely designed roads.

Juan is the only candidate that gets this. So he’s maybe responsible for a few of those tickets. The bigger story is whether he or others who use it are on the owners insurance policy. Doesn’t change a thing for me. I voted early!

3
5
Reply
Anonymous

Not even in office yet and already he’s an entitled jackass.

Can’t wait to see him abuse real power when he has it.

Unfortunately, NYers are dumb enough to vote for the jerk.

11
1
Reply
Say No to Ardila

Let’s hope people wake up in the good way and see what a bigot he is as well as a fraud.

9
1
Reply
Nothing says working class champion more than driving an Audi

Was there a follow up to this story? Does Juan own this car? He said he does not, so then who does?

11
3
Reply
Dexy

How many of you right-wing a-holes drive exactly the same way and are suddenly shocked, shocked, that someone could drive like this?

12
24
Reply
But whaddabout blah blah blah

So you are ok with this behaviour as long as it’s done by left wing a-holes?

26
3
Reply
A Rational Voter

He is 28 years old – practically a baby in politics/policy years – and he has already defamed Asian-Americans, gay folks, women, and Jewish people, and he drives in an Audi and parks like an entitled fool. If he were in his 50s and in “his teenage years” he posted such messages, there would be enough time to trust a true change and remorse. This guy is seven years past the legal age to drink, and people who vote for him are already forgiving what he said a few years ago and his entitled shenanigans. Why? Because AOC selected him? Give me a break. Electing someone that young is risky enough — and to elect a bigot and jerk, that is just insane.

35
3
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Spot on comment. AOC is only interested in building her DSA empire, and could care less about our district.

13
3
Reply
We should cancel Juan because Facebook

Well said, because he made comments on social media as a teen he should be cancelled.

So you didn’t vote for president “grab em by the” Trump did you? 😂

2
3
Reply
A Rational Voter

No, I am a lifelong Democrat. I also think Al Franken’s forced resignation was ridiculous. But Juan’s actions and words have been hypocritical and repulsive, and there are viable alternatives to him. I find his comments reprehensible and his remorse unconvincing. And the fact that he drives an SUV, that it’s an Audi, and that he has no concern for public safety by parking it where he damn-well pleases demonstrates his true character. Whether AOC likes him because of whatever does not a well-received candidate make.

4
3
Reply
A Rational Voter

And if AOC and her followers had any integrity, and really cared about the Green New Deal, respect for NYC’s diversity, and the like, she would withdraw her endorsement immediately.

Reply
Rational Voter

It’s not a question of cancelling — it’s a question of voting for someone. I could care less about him otherwise.

Reply
Gardens Watcher

As a registered Democrat for decades, I voted for Biden in the general and the primary. So how does that grab you?

Reply
Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

Should he be cancelled for a Facebook post he made as a teen?

4
3
Reply
Vote for a Democrat, just not him

Cancelled? That’s irrelevant, and something his friends and family can decide. But I need not elect someone (or nominate a Democrat, which basically means elect) who has a record of saying offensive things a few years ago and who drives around in an expensive Audi, an SUV at that, and parks it illegally. Your odd accusation of people who are wary of him as “radical right” if “right” is ridiculous, and your use of the term “cancel” wrong.

3
2
Reply
" used the N-word."

So does this Muslim girl in my class.

And she’s black. Your point???

1
5
Reply
Bo

As a handyman trying to get by i had my share of parking tickets and violations that i am not so proud of. But that doesn’t mean i don’t want the streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I have a grand child on the way. And i want to make a choice to protect the present and future of this great city and borough. I have lived in Queens all my life and love how diverse Queens has become. My vote will be for Juan.

7
27
Reply
Alejandro

I am sure he will be more careful now. We all learn from our mistakes. And sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. I got tickets because i needed to be at work on time or risk being docked or fired. But i risked getting a ticket which is better than giving my boss a reason to fire me. Being a male latino and working for a white man you are constantly at risk of losing your job for the smallest things and i got children to feed.

6
25
Reply
Gullible Republicans believe in myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

Nothing says conservative like autos and not paying the government

10
15
Reply
A vote for lucky number 7 train is a vote for justice

That kid is a scumbag just like his fellow progressive colleagues. They help themselves. If you really want to help do the work for 40k. I will do it for 40k, take a massive pay cut and fight like hell for the neighborhood.

26
6
Reply
That was a different Brent O’Leary

Because of rank choice voting in the city council all candidates including Brent shifted from a rile the base strategy to a please everyone strategy. That was admittedly not Brent’s strength and he looked a moron showing up with contradictory positions and a wink and a nod to conservatives that he was their guy. It was clear from the outset that without rank choice this would be a far different, more divisive, more nimby, less progressive Brent. But this ugliness is shocking, even for him. For shame.

While it is true that this district skews more conservative than D26, Magee should siphon enough votes from Brent to make this Juan’s race to lose. Maybe that’ll be time for Brent the perennial candidate to hang up his clipboards and stop embarrassing himself.

3
5
Reply
Jim Magee

I am not trying to siphon votes from anybody. I am trying to give the district a chance to weigh in on the bail reform law that it had no say in. It SHOULD be a scandal. I am the only candidate against it.

Brent doesn’t have a position. There is nothing sturdy to siphon from. His main claim is that he is running for the third time so people know who he is. Nevermind that he is saying the complete opposite of what he said last year.

There are worse ambitions in the world than using your own money so that you can get into politics and fulfill a dream of yours. And Brent DOES give up a lot of his free time.

But Brent and I should not be competing for the same votes. He supports the bail reform and wants to defund the police. I was opposed to those changes and support funding the police.

5
4
Reply
Lol

Brent Running around debates with his “this is the end of my career” phrases. IF ITS THE END OF YOUR CAREER THEN WHY ARE YOU STILL RUNNING?

1
1
Reply
Brent was simply not meant to hold elected office

Look, it’s one thing to really want something. But when it’s not meant to be it’s just not meant to be. Brent simply is not meant to hold elected office.

He kind of reminds me of a subject on one of those Kitchen Rescue shows where it’s quite clear they should be doing anything but run a restaurant.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an NBA All-Star that would lead the Knicks to a dynastic run like the Warriors are currently on. It didn’t pan out. I’m over it instead of going to tryouts every year.

Brent ran as a completely different candidate in 2021. It’s mind boggling how he is still trying against all the odds. But a stunt like this is disqualifying. It’s like me going to tryouts and putting Vaseline on everyone else’s sneakers. Yeah I’ll play better than everyone else, but it’ll be so dead obvious it was me that I’ll probably be banned for life.

Wait for it....

It’s almost guranteed he will accuse anyone making an issue of this of being racist.

23
4
Reply
Angela

Cuomo had to resign because of sexual harassment allegations which were later dropped after he left office. Juan is in this for the win. Still voting for Juan unless AOC withdraws her endorsement.

2
31
Reply
Mike

People are always trying to smear someone in the lead or projected to win. Same thing happened with Adams. But Adams managed to overcome the haters and racists. Hope Juan pulls through. He has my vote. Minority men have it so hard in this city. I have plenty of parking tickets but i am all for conflict-free protected bicycle lanes, pedestrian safety measures and an end to car culture.

3
32
Reply
Gardens Watcher

I don’t recall Adams getting caught making racist and homophobic comments.

11
Reply
Gardens Watcher

I don’t either, and agree that Juan Ardila’s not-so-distant racist and homophobic public comments are disqualifying.

But as the real Gardens Watcher, I have to say this squabbling over who is the man with the least-bad behavior is tiring and misses the point. Clearly the best candidate to represent our district is Johanna Carmona. She is the adult in the room. Read her SSP Op-Ed and spare us the schoolyard brawls.

7
3
Reply
Fan of Dough Boy Park

Actually Adams was caught on tape referring to all his fellow white police officers as ” crackers” but the media immediately buried the story.

2
3
Reply
smh

Fan – The story was far from buried. Pat Lynch head is the PBA, said it was a non issue and threw support behind the mayor at a public press conference.

5
2
Reply
Fan of Dough Boy Park

He said it was a non issue for him, I know a lot of police officers who very much had an issue with it. It happened Feb 4,by February 6, it was out of the papers. People speak their “truths “ when they think no one is recording.

socialist behavior

sounds like typical behavior from a socialist who supports bail reform and closing prisons. & dont forget Caban endorsed him. roll on november and vote these clown out

31
5
Reply
JaimeB

Western Queens will get what it deserves if it elects this unqualified joke of a candidate.

28
1
Reply
Takes one to know one

Imagine what O’Leary and Magee are doing as they advocate against street safety. Until their records are posted I believe they are far worse drivers, not to mention candidates! Nice try to bring down the front runner though!

4
23
Reply
Jessica

AOC was seen partying in miami with no mask while cases in NYC were climbing and there was a mask mandate during Christmas break. Her supporters didn’t care and neither do Juan’s about these violations. That is because many are doing the same thing. Plus we do not know who that car belongs to. QP should reach out to the people like AOC who endorsed him.

23
2
Reply
If you have faith in your ideology you don’t need to tell lies

Jessica- The photo of AOC was taken outdoors.

6
14
Reply
Tiffany

Yes …while nyers were being told to wear masks indoors and outside when attending gatherings. People in her district were suffering while she was partying in a Republican state. She came back and tweeted she had covid. Again..do as i say and not as i do when i think no one will record it.

8
1
Reply
Bandwagon hypocrites

Tiffany- But you’re fine with Ted Cruz fleeing to Mexico during a state of emergency.

2
1
Reply
Diane

Their supporters don’t seem to care for his racist and homophobic remarks either.

7
1
Reply
working class hero

Haha so the working class champion drives an Audi. Wonder how this fits into his 5 point plan?

39
1
Reply
Gullible Republicans believe myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

Just like his comments about certain types of people, this is all in the past. People need to get over it.

1
37
Reply
Gardens Watcher

Sorry, but Democrats are paying attention and this is the present, not the past. Hypocrisy much? Every picture tells a story, don’t it, Juan?

18
5
Reply
Good point, he shouldn't be cancelled

I agree, everyone should be held to the same standard, regardless of party affiliation.

4
1
Reply
We should cancel Juan because Facebook

Well said, because he made comments on social media as a teen he should be cancelled.

So you didn’t vote for president “grab em by the” Trump did you? 😂

2
1
Reply
Gardens Watcher

I voted for Biden in the general 😻 and in the primary. 😻 How does that grab you?

2
2
Reply
Jim

The guy you simp for couldn’t even address the issue when asked about it last month.

Reply
Jasmine

If you grew up in the 80s 90s or even 2000s most youngsters used the n word or the f word when speaking to friends or sometimes rivals. At least that is how it was in NYC on a daily basis. Few cared. Race was not an issue for that generation. This was partly due to a push to mainstream hip hop and rap music and youngsters learned them from listening to lyrics. Ghetto life and gangs were trendy. Who cared if he posted something online when he was a teen. Do not judge people based on today’s standards.

11
Reply
Edd

well well what do we have here, slim ball politician JVB puppet Juan out here breaking rules and not adhering to the law. What a shock, like I’ve said in the past this toy of a politician will not represent the district only care about lining his pockets from real estate developers. This guy is not even from the neighborhood he does not and will not have the best interest of the constituents of this community. He’s probably already looking at the bigger picture and try to run for AOC seat if and when she decides to leave Congress. If he want my vote he needs to prove to himself and be a man and talk about his past actions and explain to why did he say those things???

16
1
Reply
Assembly salary: $110,000

Watch the debate. Juan Ardila answered crime wave with only “root causes” answer. Johanna Cardona said she takes real estate donations.

15
2
Reply
Anonymous

Juan took money from a real estate broker and is supported by a pro-development group open NY. Brent also took money from a real estate developer/company.

14
1
Reply
Casey

He was probably targeted by the police and given tickets and violations because he is a person of color. Happens all the time!! Tome to end police bias and racial targeting.

4
26
Reply
The race card. Don't leave home without it!

Yeah, because white people never get tickets.

10
3
Reply
Calling transportation alternatives

Looks like a Limousine/latte liberal to me. Where is transportation alternatives on this? Hope they speak out.

33
1
Reply
Juno

I support the policy idea AND condemn his apparent hypocrisy.

I’ll still vote for him and hope he suffers the consequences of his actions, if borne out.

9
33
Reply
JaimeB

Seems like some people will vote for anyone with a hammer and a sickle next to the name, regardless of how, you know, actually qualified or honest.

15
5
Reply
Let them eat parking tickets

He’s the perfect liberal elitist. Rules for thee, not for me.

46
3
Reply
Gullible Republicans believe in myths fairytales and conspiracy theories

@let- As elite as people who lose elections but still feel they have a right to the office?

1
6
Reply
Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

I’m sorry you were upset about his parking tickets. Should he have gotten something else instead that wouldn’t have offended you so much?

1
5
Reply
Trump Is a Traitor. And so are you if you support him.

You mean like that orange huckster? “Law and order, except when my cult of morons storms the capitol.”

3
2
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News