Skip to main content

Boyland's $100 mystery campaign and the state's weak campaign finance laws

If you've gotten Tracy Boyland fliers in the mail or have seen posters up in the 18th Senatorial District, you know that the candidate challenging incumbent Velmanette Montgomery (who opposes the Atlantic Yards project) must be spending some serious money.

Just yesterday, I received three different Boyland mailings--one with the not-so-subtle message of "Progress for us," accompanied by three photo-ops at housing projects.

However, according to Boyland's filing with the New York State Board of Elections (BOE), Boyland has only $100 to spend--from herself. (See below, and click to enlarge.)

That was from her required 32-day pre-primary report, due in early August. Her 11 day pre-primary report was due September 1. She hasn't filed yet. And if she doesn't tell the public who's funding her before the primary election in September 12, well, she'll get away with a slap on the wrist: a fine of $500.

Ratner's role?

Is Forest City Ratner backing Boyland, who supports Atlantic Yards (though doesn't say so in her mailings)? The Crain's Insider last month quoted sources saying Boyland was using the same consulting firm--Knickerbocker SKD--that FCR uses for its deceptive Atlantic Yards mailers. Boyland told the Brooklyn Papers that she's friends with FCR's Bruce Bender.

I've reported on how a push poll from Pacific Crest Research--likely a client of Forest City Ratner--attempted to sway voters to Boyland, an Atlantic Yards supporter. Forest City Ratner wouldn't comment on the company's role in Boyland campaign, according to the Courier-Life chain.

Boyland herself has been elusive. She didn't fill out a candidate's questionnaire from the Brooklyn Papers, nor return phone calls. And, as the Village Voice reported in 2004, she has a history of playing fast and loose with campaign finance regulations.

Losing endorsements

Boyland's lack of transparency has driven even pro-AY editorial pages at the Daily News and the Courier-Life chain to endorse Montgomery.

(The Courier-Life calls Boyland "a phantom" and hails Montgomery for not being "afraid to challenge the status quo" in opposing Atlantic Yards. Still, the editorial page endorses 57th Assembly District candidate Hakeem Jeffries while claiming that anti-AY candidate Bill Batson is backed by what is mischaracterized as the "NIMBY" crowd. Isn't Montgomery also backed by some of the same people? The Brooklyn Papers endorsed both Batson and Montgomery.)

Weak state penalties

Can Boyland get away with this? The sanctions for flouting state campaign finance laws pale in comparison to those regarding city or federal campaign laws. Candidates who fail to file their state reports on time get a letter sent five business days later warning that they face a judgment with a maximum amount of $500, plus court costs and interest.

"That's the only thing we can do," Lee Daghlian, director of public information for BOE, told me. "We can't civilly fine."

While candidates miss deadlines frequently, it's often because they're new to the process. That's not the case with Boyland, however, a former term-limited City Councilwoman from a Brooklyn political dynasty.

"We pursue them all who should file. It takes a couple of months to get a judgment," Daghlian said. Given that there are six filing deadlines for each race, there could be six separate fines if a candidate missed each deadline.

It's tougher elsewhere

"We've asked for years to be able to levy civil fines, like the city campaign finance board or the FEC [Federal Election Commission] does, but the legislature hasn't responded," he said.

In New York City, candidates who fail to file see the penalties grow each day, plus a multiplier depending on how much they've raised. The FEC also adds a base fine linked to the amount of money raised, plus daily penalties, as well as a multiplier based on the number of previous violations.

Boyland's empty promises

Boyland, despite her entrenched status in Brooklyn politics, was described in the push-poll as "a candidate who would be new to Albany and try to shake things up." One of her mailings promises "a new era of understanding."

Apparently neither applies to campaign finance laws.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …