The Times article has the delicious headline New York Paid to Lobby Itself, Group Claims. The Times reports how the city formed the nonprofit Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which "eventually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in public and private money, and spent much of it to help push through [sic] the plan through the City Council."
The problem: "state law says local development corporations are not permitted to 'influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise.'"
Half the group’s funding came from the Economic Development Corporation, which is also barred from lobbying, and the rest came from the Mets and other corporate sponsors.
What about the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership?
In Brooklyn, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has taken on a somewhat similar role regarding Atlantic Yards:
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) is a not-for-profit local development corporation incorporated in the summer of 2006 in an effort to coordinate economic development activities in Downtown Brooklyn and ensure implementation of public and private development projects in the area. The DBP works in close partnership with the City of New York to:
expedite design and construction of public capital projects
facilitate the development of commercial and residential real estate projects
create strategies for corporate recruitment and the reuse of undercapitalized properties
advance the development of cultural venues and public space within the BAM Cultural District
coordinate transportation planning initiatives
spearhead an area-wide branding and marketing campaign
improve area business conditions and quality of life.
The DBP incorporates the functions of four existing not-for-profit organizations providing economic development services within Downtown Brooklyn (Downtown Brooklyn Council, BAM Local Development Corporation, MetroTech Business Improvement District and Fulton Mall Improvement Association) and has an annual operating budget of approximately $8 million.
Ok, so the DBP is also a local development corporation.
Does the DBP lobby? Yes it does, according to the city's lobbyist search web site. (Click to enlarge graphic below.)
It's unclear if DBP lobbyists have specifically discussed Atlantic Yards.
That may not be legislation, but the approval votes taken by the MTA in June and the ESDC (upcoming) seem to me as differing little in impact from the City Council vote on Willets Point cited in today's Times.