Crain’s New York Business has an eye-opening article, reproduced below, questioning the propriety of Claire Shulman’s local development corporation (LDC) instigating the re-zoning of 60 acres of Flushing waterfront property, and the LDC hiring the NYC Department of City Planning as a subcontractor.
However, nowhere does Crain’s mention that this isn’t the first time that Shulman’s LDC has attempted to influence a re-zoning – and its prior attempt was deemed unlawful by the NYS Attorney General.
You wouldn’t know it from the Crain’s article, but Shulman’s LDC has already illegally attempted to influence the re-zoning of Willets Point property. Re-zoning is legislation, and all local development corporations are prohibited by law from attempting to influence legislation. After a 3-year investigation, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced in 2012 that Shulman’s LDC had “flouted the law” in the Willets Point re-zoning, and Shulman’s LDC signed a stipulation that it would never do it again. The NY Times reported that Shulman’s LDC admitted its illegal activity, as did the NY Daily News:
Crain’s does not report that history, or mention AG Schneiderman's prior finding of illegality by the LDC – instead giving the mistaken impression that the LDC’s rezoning of Flushing waterfront property is an isolated case. But it isn’t. It’s the LDC’s second re-zoning attempt – after the first has already been deemed illegal.
If, as AG Schneiderman has already determined, it was unlawful for Shulman’s LDC to attempt to influence the re-zoning of Willets Point, then it must be no less unlawful for Shulman’s LDC to now attempt to influence the re-zoning of the Flushing waterfront.
All of which begs the question: If AG Schneiderman was satisfied in 2012 with a wrist-slap for Shulman’s LDC, what will he do now if he finds a repeat offense? As the saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”