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April 23, 2010

FCR spent $1.13 million on New York lobbying in 2009, including the second-largest (or likely largest) single contract

Atlantic Yards Report

Developer Forest City Ratner spent $1,127,598 in 2009 on city and state lobbying, just outside the top ten spenders in the state and perhaps the largest sum for any real estate developer.

Forest City Ratner's spending, almost exclusively through the Atlantic Yards Development Co., includes what the New York State Commission on Public Integrity calls the second-largest lobbying contract in the state, $466,421 with the law firm Fried Frank.

However, my analysis of the underlying data shows that AYDC actually paid $812,528 to Fried Frank for lobbying, with nearly $690,000 in the second half of the year.

That would make it easily the largest contract. (I'll contact the Commission and see if they revise their data.)
...

Why so much in the second half of the year? Some of the heaviest lifting came in the late spring, when Forest City Ratner managed to get the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to revise the Vanderbilt Yard deal and to get the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to issue a revised Modified General Project Plan (MGPP).

So it's possible some of the second-half payments went to earlier work. Or maybe they had more to do with the ESDC's September 2009 passage of the MGPP or the December 2009 "arm's length" negotiation of the Development Agreement.

According to state lobby data, Fried Frank lobbied both the MTA and the ESDC, as well as the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Law Department, and the New York City Transit Authority.

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Posted by eric at April 23, 2010 10:49 AM