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May 26, 2010

For 48 Hours, an Oligarch Turns on the Charm

The New York Observer
By Irina Aleksander

This piece follows Prokhorov on his whirlwind media tour while in New York. Totally missing is any real analysis as statements are presented at face value.

For example, the following says that there may be "misinformation" regarding Prokhorov, but doesn't say what that information might be, unless it's the impression made by someone who is supposed to be endearing despite some less-than-wholesome interests.

Mr. Prokhorov was in town for 48 hours that, if spent properly and efficiently, would warm the press and thereby the public to the mysterious Russian who just a week prior to his visit was approved as the principal owner of the Brooklyn-bound New Jersey Nets. There was also, perhaps, some misinformation out there. In March, 60 Minutes aired a segment in which Mr. Prokhorov showed off his Kalashnikov rifles, his bars of solid gold and his dancing nightclub girls to an overwhelmed Steve Kroft.

"He is a macho man in Russia, and that is how macho men show off," said Janna Bullock, the prominent, Russian-born Manhattan real estate developer. Ms. Bullock and Mr. Prokhorov belong to the same social clubs back in Mocow. "No one told him how to behave, that America is not as aggressive, not as sexual. But it is very endearing, actually. It's like a child showing off his toys."

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz also makes an appearance with the oligarch.

... At 4 p.m., he joined Mr. Ratner and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in the Atlantic Center mall in Brooklyn, overlooking the stadium construction site that would become his "favorite place in New York." "I asked him just one important thing, that he bring a winning team to Brooklyn," Mr. Markowitz said. "He looked me in the eye and said he would try his best and was confident he could do so-which sounds to me like the Brooklyn attitude right there!"

link

NoLandGrab: This "I intend to" attitude seems much more like an ESDC attitude than a Brooklyn attitude.

Related coverage...

Atlantic Yards Report, Prokhorov's modern blueprint: "brilliant, premeditated publicity move[s]" get saluted, without analysis

A New York Observer reporter gives a thumbs-up to the Mikhail Prokhorov show. From a piece headlined For 48 Hours, an Oligarch Turns on the Charm:

Mr. Prokhorov was in town for 48 hours that, if spent properly and efficiently, would warm the press and thereby the public to the mysterious Russian who just a week prior to his visit was approved as the principal owner of the Brooklyn-bound New Jersey Nets.

...During the press conference, [p.r. consultant] Ms. [Ellen] Pinchuk pursed her lips and picked at her fingers each time her client was asked tough questions: his business dealings in Zimbabwe; the team's unfortunate record (12-70); will it continue to bleed money ($42.2 million in the recent fiscal year)? By the end, her water glass was empty. Mr. Prokhorov, however, performed expertly, answering each question with a joke and giving the sort of show that kept the reporters busy taking notes.

Next came an unexpected afternoon meeting with a 28-year-old Brooklyn resident named Vinnie Rotondaro. Vinnie had just graduated from Columbia J-school, with five bylines at a blog called the Brooklyn Ink.

...It was, in other words, another brilliant, premeditated publicity move that neatly tied up Mr. Prokhorov's two-day charm offensive.

My comment:

Um, Prokhorov's "brilliant, premeditated publicity move[s]" would not have succeeded had the press considered that the money he can spend on the team and arena (and p.r.) is money he didn't have to spend on the arena, thanks to significant public subsidies, tax-exempt bonds, and the giveaway of arena naming rights.

...

The episode--in which the press pronounces on public relations efforts instead of analyzing the issues at hand--recalls the New York Times's infamous "modern blueprint" article from 10/14/05, headlined To Build Arena in Brooklyn, Developer First Builds Bridges:

But from whatever viewpoint, the project's seemingly inexorable movement suggests that Mr. Ratner is creating a new and finely detailed modern blueprint for how to nourish - and then harvest - public and community backing for a hugely ambitious development that is expected to provide more than nine million square feet of apartments, offices, stores and hotel rooms, as well as the arena, in the middle of a populous, cantankerous and often sharply divided city.

Posted by steve at May 26, 2010 9:47 AM