Thursday, May 13, 2010

Conflict of interest evident at Queens Borough Board meeting


Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was not feeling well, and as a result she was not present at Monday evening's meeting of the Queens Borough Board. So:

In one of the great New York City ironies, former Parkside lobbyist (and present Deputy Borough President) Barry Grodenchick personally presided over the Queens Borough Board meeting, the agenda of which required the Board to consider the disposition of College Point properties to three Willets Point businesses. This agenda item is in furtherance of NYCEDC's proposed Willets Point redevelopment plan -- a project for which Grodenchik lobbied during 2007, 2008, and 2009 as a representative of Claire Shulman's local development corporation (LDC). Readers may recall that Shulman's LDC ultimately was fined the record sum of $59,090.00 by the Office of the City Clerk for lobbying without registering to do so, thus evading all accountability while the lobbying occurred. Still unresolved is that Shulman's LDC was fundamentally prohibited from engaging in any lobbying (and also from hiring The Parkside Group, LLC to lobby on its behalf), by Section 1411 of the New York State Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. It seems that Grodenchik left Parkside's employ at about the same time the record fine became public. He then resurfaced this year as Marshall's new Deputy Borough President.

Given that Grodenchik is a nexus between The Parkside Group, LLC and Claire Shulman -- having served as Shulman's chief of administration from 1991 to 2002 -- Grodenchik should explain his role, if any, in advising Shulman regarding the LDC's own lobbying; the LDC's hiring of Parkside as its additional lobbyist; the lack of timely lobbyist registrations by Shulman's LDC; and the lobbying both done and contracted by Shulman's LDC, despite the clear prohibition on all such lobbying, that is contained within Section 1411 of the New York State Not-For-Profit Corporation Law.

Even better than lobbying in support of an issue is to personally preside over a Board meeting that considers an element of that same issue. This evening, former lobbyist Grodenchik did so. It might be legal, but it does not look good.

In the second-greatest irony, the Borough Board's consideration of the College Point property disposition immediately followed a presentation by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, which touched on the notion that a former elected official is obligated to wait a period of time, before offering his or her services as a lobbyist. But evidently, when a former lobbyist such as Barry Grodenchik is hired as a Deputy Borough President, he is permitted to preside over Board meetings that include agenda items that had concerned him last year as a lobbyist.


Omar the Tentmaker said...

Claire-You're custom-made oversized orange jumpsuit is ready. Call me.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are right. The people that run Queens do look like postal clerks.

Anonymous said...

Yo Berry, how is Bowne House?

Anonymous said...

A pol having a conflict of interest. How rare!

Anonymous said...

Postal clerk?


You guys are sick.

Anonymous said...

This weasel Grodenchik is dangerous, and must not be allowed to become Queens Borough President. Already, he has assumed the position of Deputy BP with his record not being the least bit scrutinized by the media. It is about time that he account for his involvement with Shulman's LDC at the time that it engaged in lobbying that was both unregistered and in plain violation of state law.

Surely, there must be other people eligible to fill the slot of Deputy BP. Why did Marshall resort to hiring Grodenchik, with his liabilities? Grodenchik's lack of humility and Marshall's selection of him as her Deputy are insults to all residents of Queens, who deserve and should demand better.

Anonymous said...

Conflict of interest? Isn't that the norm in Queens???

Anonymous said...

In this photo, "baldy" Barry looks like the top third of a baloney loaf wearing a clown's wig and eyeglasses.

What a loser!

When he ran against Gennaro in a primarily Jewish nabe he couldn't even win there!

But alas...clubhouse losers always wind up with some cushy patronage job somewhere.