BEEP PROJECTS REAP BIZ BUCKS
By CHUCK BENNETT, NY Post
Big companies face strict limits on how much they can donate to politicians - but they can be as generous as they want to the politicians' pet charities.
Borough Presidents Scott Stringer of Manhattan and Marty Markowitz of Brooklyn both operate nonprofits that solicit cash from big companies.
Markowitz, a potential mayoral candidate, runs Best of Brooklyn, which took in $1.2 million in 2007 to fund some of his favorite causes, like sending kids to summer camp and finding teens jobs.
"BPs have no legislative role whatsoever, and The Post should applaud the fact that our office encourages public-private partnerships for the public good," Markowitz said.
Among the charity's donors are the Nets and Forest City Ratner - both owned by developer Bruce Ratner, who is building an arena project in Downtown Brooklyn that has benefited from Markowitz's cheerleading.
Both gave between $5,000 and $20,000, documents filed with the Conflicts of Interest Board show.
Stringer, who also harbors citywide office ambitions, made a splash last year with his "Go Green East Harlem" initiative to promote healthy eating.
The project, run by Stringer's Community Fund for Manhattan, was funded in part with a $15,000 gift from Forest City Ratner, $15,000 from Vornado Realty Trust and $10,000 from Commerce Bank.
"The solicitations are governed by rules promulgated by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board," said Stringer spokesman Dick Riley.