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February 10, 2010

The CBA angle to the Seabrook indictment, Liu's effort to reform CBAs, and the lingering clouds over the AY CBA

Atlantic Yards Report

It is no coincidence that today, a day after news of the indictment of Bronx City Council Member Larry Seabrook for money laundering, extortion and fraud, City Comptroller John Liu issued a statement calling Community Benefits Agreements an "embarrassment" and urging more standards.

While a contract associated with the Yankee Stadium CBA was but a part of the Seabrook indictment (press release [PDF]), it was another questionable episode in the saga of CBAs, which Mayor Mike Bloomberg--once an enthusiastic witness to the Atlantic Yards CBA--now calls "extortion."

And given the allegedly criminal behavior, it raises a question as to why a convicted criminal ($500,000 in fraudulent billing), Darryl Greene--the subject of huge controversy regarding the deal for an Aqueduct video casino--has played a key role in the Atlantic Yards CBA.

According to the indictment, Seabrook lobbied the Yankees to award the Yankee Stadium boiler contract to a Bronx boiler manufacturer which was not among the four previously-identified bidders.

A developer serving as a representative of the Yankees asked the team for authorization to award the boiler subcontract to Seabrook's choice, noting that there was a $13,000 premium because the firm was "a Local Business Enterprise and heavily supported by a local politician."

The Contractor paid the Bronx Boiler Manufacturer in excess of $283,000 for the boiler subcontract. Seabrook allegedly got $50,000.


NoLandGrab: When Larry Seabcrook pushes for the Yankees to choose the politically connected high bidder for new boilers, it ends up in a Federal indictment. When the MTA sells publicly owned property to the politically connected low bidder — that's Atlantic Yards.

Posted by eric at February 10, 2010 10:08 PM