Thursday, September 30, 2010

Updated: Yes, Markowitz will go to China to flack green cards for Ratner's project (if he can get past Conflict of Interests Board)

(Also see coverage of the curious disconnect between the actual plans for the money and the NBA.)

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has often gone that extra mile for Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner--who can forget Markowitz's praise of the Ellerbe Becket "hangar" arena design?--but now he's willing to fly to China.

Yes, even though Markowitz isn't talking, a spokeswoman confirmed that the Borough President plans to join the developer on a trip to China next month to sell Chinese investors on the EB-5 visa program, which offers green cards to investors who put $500,000 into a fund that creates ten direct or indirect jobs, or retains ten jobs.

(Markowitz's picture, along with that of other project principals, appears at right on a website flacking the project set up by Kunpeng International.)

COIB ruling

However, the trip is not certain, as a ruling from the city's Conflicts of Interests Board is awaited, spokeswoman Laura Sinagra told me tonight, after a meeting at Borough Hall regarding the Barclays Center arena plaza.

Who's paying Marty's way?

Would taxpayers pay Markowitz's way? Would Forest City Ratner? Would Markowitz's Best of Brooklyn charity?

(Updated 4:18 pm Sept. 30) No, it would be the entrepreneurs behind the New York City Regional Center, who include Paul Levinsohn, once known as one of the "Billboard Boys" for his involvement in a sketchy but legal scheme.

Either way, I've raised questions about whether the "jobs for green cards" program would actually create jobs or simply help out a developer seeking low-cost financing.

Sinagra, though reluctant to talk about the issue, was more forthcoming than Markowitz, who refused to answer any questions about the trip or his support for the EB-5 program.

(When I posed questions last week, Markowitz's office responded with a "no comment.")

A nine-city tour to potential investors begins October 11 and ends November 5.

(Updated) The Post reports:
[T]he beep will spent a week abroad -- – five days in China and two days traveling, sources told the Post. He also intends to pay out-of-pocket for his wife, Jamie, to accompany him.

...Markowitz and Ratner would be in China to help promote investing in the arena and the perks of living in America while the Nets play exhibition games there Oct. 13 in Beijing and Oct. 16 in Guangzhou.
ESDC role

(Updated) The Post reports:
A spokeswoman for Peter Davidson, Gov. Paterson’s economic development czar, confirmed Davidson is heading to the China-based recruiting sessions on the state’s behalf, saying that “there has been developing interest from China” in helping fund Atlantic Yards.
Actually, Davidson is a deputy.

1 comment:

  1. "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown". . . "Go home."

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008
    Remembering; Not Forgetting in Chinatown

    Is this Chinatown?

    http://noticingnewyork.blogspot.com/2008/11/remembering-not-forgetting-in-chinatown.html

    ReplyDelete