The lobbying firm where former Borough President James Molinaro works was paid $65,000 over the past two years to lobby the city on behalf of the controversial Mount Manresa project, records show.
The Savo Brothers — under the name Mount Builders LLC — hired Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin LLC, of which Molinaro is a senior managing director, in 2014 to lobby the Department of Buildings, according to the Office of the City Clerk.
Molinaro, who was borough president when the 103-year-old Jesuit retreat house was sold for $15 million to be turned into townhouses despite huge protest, said he doesn't directly lobby for the Savo Brothers and didn't think there was anything wrong with his group working for them.
"I was the borough president. It was a piece of land for sale. It was legit. What should I be ashamed of?" Molinaro said.
"People are mad at me for a lot reasons. You can't be loved from everyone, you can't be hated from everywhere."
Conflicts of Interest Board rules require elected officials not to give up confidential information and not to communicate with the executive branch of government for one year after leaving office.
Officials are also not allowed to directly work on any matter that was dealt with while they were in office — but that does not stop their firms from being involved.
Molinaro is not mentioned by name as a principal or additional lobbyist in city records for Mount Builders LLC.
He served as borough president from 2002 until 2013, during the time the controversial plans to redevelop Mount Manresa were approved.
While other elected officials spoke out against the project at the time, Molinaro said that the deal was completely legitimate and nothing improper was done, to his knowledge.
He left office in December 2013 and a month later took a job at the high-powered Pitta Bishop Del Giorno and Giblin LLC, which has been one of the city's top 10 lobby firms for the past several years.