Skip to main content

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee shuns Montgomery (among few incumbents); could Sampson's Atlantic Yards support be the reason?

There was a unexplored angle to a City Hall News article yesterday headlined DSCC Spends On Consultants, WFP, But Not Espada.

The main news was that the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee was not helping scandal-tinged Majority Leader Pedro Espada but helping incumbents with safe seats as well as incumbents faced with primaries but in districts that will remain in Democratic hands. (Shouldn't the DSCC be stressing seats that could be lost to the Republicans? Not in New York.)

However, if Senate Democrats are spending on "nearly every incumbent facing a primary," it was notable that Espada was joined on a very short list of the "outs" by his Bronx ally Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. and 18th District Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who represents Central Brooklyn.

The AY connection

I haven't been able to learn why Montgomery got the short end of the stick--there could be internal political dynamics at work--but it's worth noting that Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, some major contributors, and the Senate Democratic Conference's prime strategist are supporters of Atlantic Yards or have ties to Forest City Ratner.

Sampson, notably, was the beneficiary of a fundraiser held at Forest City Ratner offices and signed a letter to Bruce Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov calling Atlantic Yards "a major economic development venture that is vital to the economy and the future of Brooklyn."

He didn't attend the arena groundbreaking in March but sent his regrets.

Forget charter schools

The issue can't be Montgomery's opposition to charter schools, since Senators Bill Perkins and Shirley Huntley, the other two legislators targeted by charter school proponents, are getting DSCC help for the primary, even though the districts are in safe Democratic hands.

Crain's Insider reported (as noted in this comment) that Montgomery did ask for help:
Insiders say Sampson must bend to members' campaign requests because he needs every one of their votes to pass bills in the narrowly divided Senate.
So if he's ignored Montgomery, that's telling.

The Melvin Lowe connection

City Hall News reported on the DSCC's spending:
The money includes a total of $59,000 paid to G&L consulting, one of the two companies of Melvin Lowe, the consultant who also received $20,000 into Prestige Strategic Consulting from Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson’s personal campaign committee.

According to a DSCC source, this money—which brings Lowe’s total to about $375,000 since he was brought on in the wake of last year’s Senate coup—is to pay for Lowe’s work as a principal advisor, guiding the conference’s political activities.
The shadowy Lowe--whose work was a mystery to several people connected to the DSCC, as City Hall News reported--is a former lobbyist for Forest City Ratner and worked for Montgomery's last opponent, Tracy Boyland, in 2006.

Sampson has own ethics cloud, as the Times reported August 18:
Now it appears that Mr. Sampson also used a Senate staff member on at least one occasion to aid in his representation of Mr. Ahmad, potentially running afoul of state ethics laws.
Montgomery and her rival

Even though she asked the DSCC for money, Montgomery's doing all right; she's got the advantage of incumbency. She's been able to raise $90,000 since the beginning of 2009 and spent nearly $66,250 in that period.

Meanwhile, her rival Mark Pollard has raised $100,730, more than 80% from outside Brooklyn (primarily charter school supporters) and spent $52,405.

A few people involved in Pollard's campaign have AY connections. Pollard paid $160 to Community Benefits Agreement Chair Delia Hunley-Adossa (who last year ran against Council Member Letitia James, a Montgomery ally) for campaign work.

He paid $3000 to BUILD co-founder, Fort Greene activist, and noted public threat-maker Darnell Canada for petitioning.

(Why hasn't there been a debate in this race? You'd think Pollard--who, beyond the policy differences on issues like AY and charter schools, has the legitimate argument that veteran incumbents deserve challenge--would be calling for one, or that some local institution or media outlet would sponsor one.)

McKissack and other construction supporters


Various entities associated with the McKissack Group, the Philadelphia-based construction firm that worked on the railyard for Atlantic Yards, have contributed, in the past year, $2000 to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and $5000 to its Republican counterpart, as well as $300 to the Associated General Contractors PAC.

The DSCC has received steady funding from groups like the Association of General Contractors of New York State ($1500), consultant KPMG ($6250), the New York State Laborers PAC ($60,000), the New York City District Council of Carpenters ($20,000), and the Real Estate Board ($20,000).

All might have reason to look askance at Montgomery's anti-AY stance.

Comments

  1. Good. Now when Senator Montgomery wins her primary she won't owe a thing to the DSCC slush fund managers.

    If you live in Senator Montgomery's district (the 18th, map here: http://www.nysenate.gov/district/18) don't forget to go out and vote for her in the primary on September 14th.

    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…

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…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…