Friday, May 13, 2011
EDC, lies and videotape
From Willets Point United:
We have been discussing why the partial, segmented development of Willets Point is illegal. What we haven't yet discussed, however, is the extent to which city officials-and other supporters of the project-have made the full, comprehensive and complete development of the 62 acres of the Iron Triangle an absolute necessity.
In the above embedded video you will get to see just how strenuously the city argued against any partial development of the Willets Point area-with serial prevaricator Robert Lieber leading the charge claiming that, because of the flood plain nature of the land, the "high water table," and the years of soil contamination, the project could not be developed in a piece meal fashion. Lieber told the city council that developing Willets Point was a, "transformative exercise," that must be dealt with, "in its totality."
Not to be outdone, EDC's Senior Vice President Thomas McKnight told CB #7 that because of the extensive nature of the environmental clean up, "those kinds of comprehensive things can't really happen with the businesses there...We want to redevelop the entire Willets Point district."
Queens BP Helen Marshall, reading from the EDC script given to her, told the City Planning Commission that Willets Point, "must proceed comprehensively, and Not be phased in." Finally there's UpChuck Apelian, the chair of CB#7, who told his board that, "the site Must be remediated as one complete site."
Well what has changed, and why is EDC proceeding in a manner that it said was environmentally proscribed three years ago? The only possible answer to this is the fact that WPU's intervention on the ramps introduced a high level of uncertainty for the city's crack development team-and the new Phase I was and is a desperate attempt to end run, not only proper traffic reviews,but EDC's own prescriptions for an environmentally sound development plan.
It is hard to conceive of how this will all pass a legal challenge from WPU. In the end the city and EDC's own words will serve to convict them of a fraudulent attempt to rewrite history in order to promote an environmentally unsound development at the expense of small property owners.
From Willets Point United:
Given the fact that EDC has now issued its RFP for the illegal Phase 1 development of Willets Point, WPU is raising the issue of the legality of developers who are members of Shulman's LDC, and who financed illegal lobbying, participating in the RFP announced by NYCEDC.
This is not a minor point be any means. The NYS Attorney general is investigating the legality of using LDCs to lobby on behalf of city projects and if the office decides to chastise EDC for its funding efforts it would raise serious issues as to whether those firms who have partnered with Shulman’s group should be allowed to munch on fruit from their poisonous tree.
During testimony on October 17, 2008 before the New York City Council Subcommittee on the potential disqualification of LDC Members Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber could not rule out the possibility that "members of the board of the LDC" – presumably Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation ("FWPCLDC"), which unlawfully lobbied to influence legislation contrary to § 1411, and which also unlawfully concealed its lobbying activities – would be prohibited from bidding to become developers of the proposed Willets Point development, when NYCEDC would eventually issue its Request For Proposals ("RFP") pertaining to that development.
Hearing Transcript - Planning 101708
All of this was deliciously captured on video as a visibly perturbed Lieber answered the question from CM Monserrate. As those board members in part financed FWPCLDC activities which have been shown to be unlawful, the board members now must not be permitted to profit from any ill-gotten gains, especially by being awarded the developer contract for a project on behalf of which FWPCLDC unlawfully attempted to influence legislation which embodies the project's approval.
Of the 29 respondents to NYCEDC's prior RFQ concerning the Willets Point development -- which was a precursor to today's RFP, and from which NYCEDC was to select firm to receive the RFP -- the following respondents were full-fledged "Members" of Shulman's LDC:
(1) Ciampa Organization
(2) Muss Development LLC
(3) Sterling Equities (Mets)
(4) TDC Development (F&T Group)
In addition, the following RFQ respondents are identified as "Supporters" of Shulman's LDC, at the web site of Shulman's LDC:
(1) Albanese Organization, Inc.
(2) CPC Resources, Inc.
(3) Douglaston Development
The press needs to ask EDC who its select group of bidders may be, and if these colluders with the development corporation have been made eligible to bid in spite of their collusion. Our exit question: What would happen if all of this was subject to a RICO indictment?