Skip to main content

The Kolben chronicles: more likely it was her reports for the Brooklyn Paper, not the Daily News, that alarmed Ratner

So, if the scoop in last night's IFC Media Project report on Atlantic Yards was that Forest City Ratner executives--according to an unnamed source, Bruce Ratner himself--got Daily News reporter Deborah Kolben kicked off the Atlantic Yards beat, what exactly were her transgressions?

The answer: likely none committed while writing for the Daily News.

A review of Kolben's Daily News work shows exactly two articles, both co-bylines, concerning Atlantic Yards. A 6/24/05 article was headlined HOMES UP FOR GRABS Ruling ramps up anxiety in city. A 7/6/05 article was headlined A VISION SOARS IN B'KLYN. Yeas, nays over plan for Nets.

While the former article was--like much other initial coverage--somewhat alarmist about the effects of the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision, the latter was essentially balanced.

(Update: I'm told Kolben also contributed to the Daily News as a non-staff stringer, though those articles are not accessible via a database search. Here's one, and another.)

Was it the past work?

So, perhaps Forest City Ratner had gotten wind of tougher coverage in the works at the Daily News.

More likely, however, they were peeved by Kolben's record at the Brooklyn Paper, where she wrote skeptical articles like the 7/17/04 SILENT PARTNERS, about an attempt to find out who was buying the New Jersey Nets; the 7/3/04 RATNER’S MONEY PIT, a sympathetic account of a critical report on alleged tax benefits from Atlantic Yards; and the 6/26/04 Watchdog calls for arena ‘ULURP’, about the importance of putting the project through the city's land use review procedures.

Comments

  1. I've since found, through the Internet Archive, another article that surely antagonized the Ratner camp:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20061217135755/http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/303811p-260025c.html

    Ratner's generous to a fault
    And some wonder: Just buying support?
    BY DEBORAH KOLBEN
    DAILY NEWS WRITER
    Call him the Bill Gates of Brooklyn.
    As developer Bruce Ratner plows ahead with plans to build a controversial $2.5 billion arena and residential complex in Prospect Heights, he's also doling out checks to local groups.

    "That's what we are, a helping hand," Ratner said yesterday as he gave $50,000 to the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, which works to combat baby deaths in Fort Greene, the neighborhood with the highest infant mortality rate in the city.

    "I think it's a good thing, but I also note the difference between what they're doing and public relations; they're trying to get public support by any means necessary," said Clinton Miller, pastor of Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Fort Greene.

    "There's a difference between public relations and [Ratner] really wanting to have a sincere impact on the infant mortality rate," Miller said.

    Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said the developer gives money to many Brooklyn institutions, including the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    "Forest City Ratner [Ratner's development company] believes that it has an obligation to support important community programs," DePlasco said. "Are they committed to even more programs because of the Atlantic Yards development? Fortunately, yes."

    Ngozi Moses, director of Brooklyn Perinatal Network, said she reached out to Ratner in the hopes that he would donate to her organization, which has lost federal funding.

    Ratner "benefits from our community and needs to give back," said Moses, who is not taking a stand on the arena project proposed for neighboring Prospect Heights.

    Ratner also recently footed the bill for a children's basketball camp run by former Knicks star Bernard King, who was a consultant for the project until he was arrested on spousal abuse charges.

    Last month, Ratner opened a $1 million account with Carver Federal Savings Bank, the nation's largest African- and Caribbean-American bank.

    The bank has a branch in Ratner's new Atlantic Terminal Mall. The mall abuts the Atlantic Yards site, where Ratner envisions building an arena that would house the NBA's New Jersey Nets, which he recently purchased and wants to move to Brooklyn.

    The proposed Atlantic Yards project includes 17 office and residential towers and would require the state to condemn nearby private residences. Ratner also would have to purchase 10 acres of Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned land.

    "I'm happy for Brooklyn Perinatal, but he certainly can do better," said City Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Fort Greene) of Ratner's $50,000 donation. "That's pocket change."

    Originally published on April 27, 2005

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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 …