Thursday, November 30, 2006

Michael Ratner offers contributions (Lopez, etc.), office for meeting

As I reported in September, Greenwich Village resident Michael Ratner, eminent constitutional lawyer and brother of Forest City Ratner (FCR) CEO Bruce Ratner, has given campaign contributions to several candidates from Brooklyn and beyond apparently favored by the developer. So has his wife, Karen Ranucci.

But I missed a few. After my article appeared, Ratner gave further contributions to Brooklyn candidates who might have an impact on the Atlantic Yards plan.

Maximum gifts to Lopez

On 9/8/06, Ratner and Ranucci each gave $3100 (the contribution limit) to the campaign of Brooklyn Democratic Chair Vito Lopez, who has a lock on his Assembly seat. Lopez had no primary and token opposition in the general election.

But Lopez can have influence with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Forest City Ratner certainly wants Silver to greenlight Atlantic Yards when it reaches the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB), where Silver has one of three votes. (Ratner and Ranucci had previously contributed the maximum to Silver, as well.)

Lopez, interestingly, was not on the list of public officials supporting AY announced at the 8/23/06 press event. Still, he has ties to several project supporters.

Gifts to Parker and Camara

Ranucci, on 8/29/06, gave $3500 to the campaign of State Senator Kevin Parker, an Atlantic Yards supporter.

Ratner gave $1000 on 9/11/06 to Karim Camara, another supporter, who beat Jesse Hamilton to retain his Assembly seat. (Ratner's wife Karen Ranucci gave $2500.)

A contribution to Adams

On 10/9/06, Ratner gave $1500 to the State Senate campaign of Eric Adams, who had already crushed Anthony Alexis in the primary and faced token opposition in the general election.

Adams in May declared himself opposed to the Atlantic Yards project, according to a 5/13/06 report on NoLandGrab from Democracy for NYC's Brooklyn Candidate Forum:
I cannot support that project as it stands. [reasons: terrorism, asthma, sewer, traffic, evacuation] I would never be supportive of any project that deals with eminent domain. Until we answer all of those questions, it's difficult to move ahead with any project of that magnitude.


At one point, he apparently stepped back from that. According to an 8/14/06 article on the Gotham Gazette web site:
Eric Adams, the co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, has not taken a position on the Atlantic Yards plan. He says he wants to look at the issues of environment, affordable housing and labor before reaching a decision.

Still, in a 9/1/06 message to NoLandGrab, Adams reiterated his previous opposition, though he left open the option to modify his views:
I am opposed to the project as it is currently proposed. Some of my concerns regarding the Atlantic Yards include the size of the project, infrastructure needs (schools, sewage, etc.), terrorist threats, and traffic plans. I will base my actions as a Senator on sound information from the recently released Environmental Impact Statement, public hearings, and canvassing the neighborhoods within the 20th Senatorial District.

Michael Ratner's office

As I’d been told, Michael Ratner does indeed have an office at FCR’s headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn.

He’s obviously not there very often, since he’s got another job. So city and FCR officials can hold meetings in his office, as shown by a 4/18/06 memo (right) I acquired a Freedom of Information Law request from the Department of City Planning.
(Click to enlarge)

No comments:

Post a Comment