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January 28, 2011

Ken Adams, former head of Brooklyn Chamber and MetroTech BID, named new CEO of ESDC

Atlantic Yards Report

Well, in naming Kenneth Adams as president and CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen as reaching out to business.

And, despite some gubernatorial concern about the top-down growth model, I wouldn't bet on any changed course on Atlantic Yards.

After all, Adams in 2006, as president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, testified in favor of the project, on behalf of the organization. And he previously headed the MetroTech Business Improvement District, of which Forest City Ratner is a major member.

Still, give the guy a chance; maybe Adams has the integrity to recognize that the ESDC's support of Forest City Ratner's effort to get immigrant investor funding is a tad unseemly.

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NoLandGrab: Adams also headed the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce during a shameful episode in 2005, when the public and owners of businesses opposed to the Atlantic Yards project were barred from a Chamber luncheon sponsored by Forest City Ratner, at which the project was discussed. Members of the press attending the function had to agree to a gag order, and opponents were relegated to protesting outside Gargiulo's locked doors.

Related coverage...

The Brooklyn Blog [NYPost.com], Cuomo appoints CEO of state’s top business association to head ESDC

Adams’ proud father, longtime Cobble Hill civic leader Murray Adams, told the Post he believes his son “will do a great job” and hopes “he’ll end ESDC’s long history of being pretty arrogant.”

The elder Adams -- who in 2006 was part of a group that took on ESDC during a failed legal fight to keep condos out of Brooklyn Bridge Park – said, “I think Kenneth will listen to local concerns.” He cited both the park and the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn as two examples of ESDC ignoring residents' concerns.

NLG: Hmm, maybe Cuomo should've appointed Ken Adams's dad.

The Brooklyn Paper, Brooklyn man — Ken Adams — to run state economic agency

Adams’s reputation as a bridge-builder could help put a positive face on the Empire State Development Corporation, which has drawn fire for rubber-stamping the Atlantic Yards project, and for approving housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The agency finances and operates state projects by issuing tax-exempt bonds — and often avoids the city’s usual public review process for its projects.

“The Empire State Development Corporation was used in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Atlantic Yards to skirt all public scrutiny and evade community input,” [Cobble Hill Association President Roy] Sloane charged.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not willing to give Adams — a Brooklyn Friends graduate, after all — a chance.

“Do I have issues with the Empire State development Corporation? Yes. Do I have issues with Ken Adams? No,” he stated.

Posted by eric at January 28, 2011 11:19 AM