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August 21, 2009

NYC pays to lobby itself--not just in Queens but in Brooklyn, too

Atlantic Yards Report

Some lobbying for Atlantic Yards isn't much different--in degree and in kind--from that criticized in a major New York Times story today. And the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, while not mentioned in the story, also hires lobbyists, apparently in violation of state law.

The Times article has the delicious headline New York Paid to Lobby Itself, Group Claims. The Times reports how the city formed the nonprofit Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which "eventually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in public and private money, and spent much of it to help push through the plan through the City Council."

The problem: "state law says local development corporations are not permitted to 'influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise.'"

Half the group’s funding came from the Economic Development Corporation, which is also barred from lobbying, and the rest came from the Mets and other corporate sponsors.

What about the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership?

In Brooklyn, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has taken on a somewhat similar role regarding Atlantic Yards.

The Times may have to publish a sequel.


Here's the original story from The Times:

New York Paid to Lobby Itself, Group Claims

In late 2006, as the Bloomberg administration girded for what promised to be a bruising rezoning fight over the Willets Point section of Queens, it enlisted the help of Claire Shulman, the former Queens borough president.

At a meeting in City Hall that December, Ms. Shulman and Daniel L. Doctoroff, then a deputy mayor, agreed to form a nonprofit group with city and private money. Its primary purpose, Ms. Shulman said, would be to lobby on behalf of the mayor’s plan to turn the long-neglected area near the New York Mets stadium into a thriving hub of shops, hotels, condominiums and a convention center.

NoLandGrab: And this is on top of the eminent domain abuse. Obviously, cleaning up Albany is only half the battle. There's another cesspool in City Hall.

Posted by eric at August 21, 2009 11:49 AM