Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cuomo has apparently put on back burner investigations of Willets Point, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership lobbying

There's a very intriguing passage within a New York Times article today about Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, likely to win election as Governor next Tuesday, headlined Mixed Views on Cuomo as Attorney General:
But the praise is neither universal nor complete, and there are many who assert that Mr. Cuomo has, not unlike his predecessor, been more interested in headlines than in undertaking the tedious chores needed to bring lasting reform, and that he has mishandled, sidestepped or prolonged some public integrity cases.

For example, an investigation into whether the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and some public officials violated lobbying laws in their redevelopment efforts is still unresolved after two years. (Mr. Bloomberg last month endorsed Mr. Cuomo’s campaign for governor.)
What might that refer to? It's time to repeat my post from 12/12/09, adding that I never got a response to my queries from Cuomo's office:

Learning from Willets Point, Part 2: is the Attorney General still investigating lobbying by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership?

Just this past week we were reminded of an investigation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo into the questionable lobbying by the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation (FWPCLDC), paid by the city to lobby for the Willets Point urban renewal plan before the City Council.

Willets Point United, a group of business owners fighting the plan and the prospect of eminent domain, noted that, despite an the investigation, the LDC, led by former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, "has not only continued its unlawful operations with impunity, but has been awarded an additional state grant in excess of $1.5 million."

The New York Times reported that the Bloomberg administration was not merely resistant to the investigation, it was downright hostile, threatening Cuomo's likely run for governor. Willets Point United warned:
If the Mayor's administration has resorted to using such tactics against AG Cuomo, there should be no doubt that it has used similarly despicable tactics against the people of Willets Point throughout the attempt to acquire their property.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

In August, after a Times story on the FWPCLDC, I suggested that the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), also funded in part by the city, had similarly tried to "influence legislation by propaganda or otherwise." I cited testimony by DBP representatives before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Empire State Development Corporation.

I have no reason to think my post alerted the Attorney General's office, but, on 10/29/09, the Times reported that the investigation had in fact gone beyond the FWPCLDC:
That investigation has expanded into the activities of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which the city helped create in 2006 to help push through development plans following a broad rezoning of the area.
So, is that investigation still going on? Has it been dismissed? To what extent does/did it involve the Partnership's work lobbying for Atlantic Yards?

I tried to get an answer from the Attorney General's office, but haven't heard back yet. I also tried the DBP, which told me to ask the AG's office.

That's hardly conclusive, but if they knew that there was no investigation, or if it had been dismissed, they would have said so, right?

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