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FCR consultant on Ridge Hill--a project still under investigation--now works for Senate Democrats

In the Daily Politics, Liz Benjamin suggests that State Senator Bill Perkins, who held a hearing on Atlantic Yards, might have reason to be wary of new Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) staffer Melvin Lowe.

Benjamin noted that Lowe "has provided consulting services to developer Bruce Ratner on the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn"--news to me--and that Perkins is concerned, given that he feels "more answers" are needed regarding AY.

Lowe, who's worked for several government officials and campaigns, "will be providing 'oversight' at the DSCC," Senate Democratic spokesman Paul Rivera told Benjamin. The DSCC wants to retain and build on a slim Democratic majority, a crucial priority for state Democrats in 2010.

The Ridge Hill connection

Perkins might have more reason for concern. In May 2008, word emerged that federal prosecutors were investigating Forest City Ratner's Ridge Hill project in Yonkers, notably the abrupt about-face of Sandy Annabi, once a fierce opponent of the project.

A 5/6/08 article in the Journal News, headlined Forest City Ratner lobbying campaign for Ridge Hill, described a somewhat limited role for Lowe:
The latest subpoenas sought... e-mails sent and received by Councilwoman Patricia McDow related to Ridge Hill, Forest City Ratner, consultant Melvin Lowe, and another development, the Longfellow project.

McDow, D-1st District, a supporter of Ridge Hill, described Lowe as a lobbyist for Forest City Ratner whom she had met with individually and with other representatives of the developer. McDow said she had assumed that Lowe had been assigned to lobby her because they are both black.

Several current council members and one former member yesterday said they either did not know Lowe or said he did not play a major role in their meetings with developers.

...McDow has said she does not believe she is a target of the investigation, and yesterday pointed out that she had always supported the project.


The Ridge Hill project has been delayed until 2011, reported the Journal News on August 24; the newspaper noted that the corruption investigation is continuing.

Also, FCR just announced a loan extension and new tenants.

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