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June 14, 2007

Sayonara Stuckey

News that Jim Stuckey got canned took many Brooklynites by surprise, during what otherwise started as a quiet week in Ratnerville.

Just a year ago Stuckey was promoted from Executive Vice President to "President of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards Development Group." Many in the community speculated that Stuckey's star was being hitched to Atlantic Yards — his career and fortunes would rise or fall with this project.

Without an inside source, we have no way of knowing why "Plucky Stuckey" was given the axe, and an opportunity to "pursue new challenges." Isn't that sort of like resigning to "spend time with your family," unless of course you don't have a family?

The timing is curious, since, from Forest City's perspective, things are going pretty well.

The new Empire State Development Corporation was supposed to take a "hard look" at the project at the behest of the community. All the community has gotten for its trouble is the appointment of an "ombuddy" and a temporary suspension of demolition while things get sorted out in the wake of the Ward Bakery parapet collapse.

Forest City must've also felt pretty confident when a Federal Judge dismissed the main eminent domain suit on the merits — in other words, not based on some minor technical legal mumbo jumbo, but based on the fact that the judge was confident that the property owners would not be able to prove their case [Note: Part of the appeal will be based on the fact that the judge mischaracterized some of the plaintiffs' main arguments, but that's for another day.]

So why was Stuckey shown the door? He was Bruce's right-hand man, after all.

It certainly wasn't the wild exaggeration in his online bio that he was an accomplished musician who plays ten instruments. That bio, by the way, quickly disappeared as news of Stuckey's firing spread (archived copy). Though it wasn't an offense that would demand that the "Prez" get fired, the claim neatly characterized Forest City's penchant for exaggeration and casually "bendering" the truth, even when it didn't have to.

Stuckey's sayonara may have had nothing to do with the project, though on these pages, everything is about Atlantic Yards. So, we can only wonder why the Capo was canned, even though Forest City is on track with Atlantic Yards, though two years behind schedule.

These days, it seems that only sexual shenanigans or serious financial impropriety garner such a quick invitation to the exit door, which would be ironic since Stuckey was fond of reminding anyone who would listen that at one time he was studying to be a priest.

Whatever the case, one thing is clear: homeowner and lead plaintiff Dan Goldstein has, perhaps miraculously, outlasted James P. Stuckey, former Forest City Ratner Atlantic Yards Development Group President.

Posted by lumi at June 14, 2007 1:02 AM