Monday, February 20, 2012

Developers buying politicians

From the NY Times:

...the trial is tantalizing for where its tentacles extend — linking political corruption in Westchester to that in Brooklyn, and touching on the curious fashion in which real estate developers pursue their chosen game.

Important details are shadowed in pretrial murk. Ms. Annabi stands accused of taking bribes to cast deciding votes for two large developments in Yonkers. But in the largest of these developments, Bruce Ratner’s 81-acre Ridge Hill project, prosecutors have not said how much money was forked over.

All of which brings us to the role of the politically wired developer, whose projects are catnip to politicians. No prosecutor has implied that Mr. Ratner or his aides played a corrupt role. In Brooklyn, where he has a 22-acre development known as the Atlantic Yards, he was mentioned in the corruption case last year that toppled a Brooklyn Democratic power, State Senator Carl Kruger. Prosecutors called Mr. Ratner “Developer No. 1.” In Yonkers, he appears in Ms. Annabi’s indictment as “Developer No. 2.”

After I wrote last month of Mr. Ratner’s entanglements, several left-liberal sorts, not least former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, wrote to object that I had besmirched a fine fellow. The developer is a patron of liberal causes. He has set aside a significant number of apartments in his Atlantic Yards project for working-class tenants.

Much of this is true, as is this: Mr. Ratner wrangled $726 million in subsidies and benefits from the city and state, and he fights for even more by the week. (He was the developer of The New York Times building.) His willingness to tuck affordable apartments into his gleaming towers is perhaps a reasonable political tradeoff rather than a testament to his character.

Mr. Ratner relies, too, on phalanxes of former top officials to make his case. The less polite might call them fixers. So he hired Bruce Bender, a former top City Council aide and south Brooklyn Democratic power, as his senior vice president, and put Scott Cantone, a former Giuliani aide, in another post.


Anonymous said...

Let's bring it all home more locally...FLUSHING!

Didn't Congressman Gary Ackerman (and many others) take bribes from convicted criminal developer Tommy Huang?

How come our Representative is still parking his fat ass in Congress instead of in a jail cell?

Anonymous said...

Then there's Wellington Z. Chen:
former CB#7 member; former BSA Commissioner; currently the leader of the Chinatown Partnership.

And, of course, he's "granny" Claire Shulman's close associate in the Willets Point boondoggle.

Might he a middleman-kingpin for bribe passing?

He's been around Flushing's corrupt scene long enough and is in a perfect position to speed the flow of laundered cash from China.

Though he tries to maintain an extremely low profile, we believe he's highly suspect!

Steve Behar said...

I'm shocked, shocked that developers are buying politicians!

Thank God that doesn't happen in Northeast Queens!

Anonymous said...

What can I get with the purchase of a Peter Koo?

Anonymous said...

Would we ever see the headline "Politician says NO to a developer?"

Anonymous said...

Would we ever see the headline "Politician says NO to a developer?"

In Queens? We have a better chance of watching a flying saucer land in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park---for real!!!

Anonymous said...

you can check the past campaign finance board's data base to see which of the queens reps.,NYS,NYC and Fed., are heavily campaign financed by BIG DEVELOPMENT.
some of Q.C favored sons might be on the lists ?

Anonymous said...

What a mug.