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August 24, 2010

Following up (or not) on the ESDC and Arana Hankin; former CBN co-chair recalls getting stonewalled by Hankin

Atlantic Yards Report

So, after I yesterday broke the (anonymously sourced) news that Arana Hankin would be named the Empire State Development Corporation's (ESDC) Atlantic Yards project manager after, a job that apparently wasn't advertised, did anyone follow up?

Nah.

Yes, the story was linked yesterday by the New York Observer, The Real Deal, and Curbed.

But the ESDC issued no statement, and no one chose to follow up. Perhaps, they think, the Atlantic Yards story is ovah. Except it's not.

Hankin's AY history

It turns out that Hankin has intersected with Atlantic Yards, though not in a way that gave assurance to project critics and opponents.

After David Paterson became governor in early 2008, the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN) and other groups pressed to meet with him, Terry Urban, former CBN co-chair, told me.

Paterson promised that Tim Gilchrist, who was in charge of economic development for his office, would attend that August 2008 meeting. "[Architect] Marshall Brown flew in from Chicago to present the UNITY plan, and several representatives from the larger community groups were there to show the extent of support for it, and to put a reasonable face on our suggestions for changing the proposed project, and demonstrate our willingness to work with the new leadership," Urban recounted.

"Gilchrist was a no-show. Ms. Hankin, as a Paterson aide, explained that she worked in the city office, and so chaired the meeting in his absence," Urban stated. "With the low-level staff on hand, she listened politely, and said she'd re-schedule with Gilchrist. She never did. Unfortunately for us, it was a competent stonewalling maneuver, merely another of many to which we were accustomed."

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Posted by eric at August 24, 2010 11:00 AM