Wednesday, July 4, 2018
It's all so convenient
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $300,000 debt to his outside law firm is starting to cast a huge shadow over his staff’s decisions.
As The Post reports Tuesday, opponents of plans to expand the Frick Museum have gone to court, claiming in part that the Frick’s use of the firm — Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel — to represent it before the city creates a conflict of interest.
They’re right: Frick hired Kramer Levin to push its plans before the Board of Standards and Appeals and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. But the mayor chooses their members, and they’re all surely aware that he owes the firm 300 grand.
The BSA will also decide Tuesday whether to OK a 64-story East Side apartment tower. Who’s repping its developer, Jonathan Kalikow? Yep: Kramer Levin.
The firm reportedly lobbied two key mayoral aides, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and City Planning Commissioner Marisa Lago, to let the building reach its planned 64-story height — and the planning commission obliged.
The City Council later nixed that decision, but the BSA will now decide whether enough of the tower was built by then to shield it from the council’s action.
Even if de Blasio hasn’t tried to pay off his debt with political favors, his debt creates an appearance that the firm will be treated well by the city. What company lets a client not pay a bill (or even work out a payment plan, as de Blasio has yet to do) unless it’s getting something in return?