Sunday, October 03, 2010

Markowitz isn't "taking full-advantage of permissible perks to boost economic investment in the borough;” rather, he's doing Ratner's bidding

The more I think about it, the quote from Dick Dadey of the Citizens Union about Borough President Marty Markowitz's putative trip to China was way off, and in more ways than one.

The Post reported:
"[Markowitz] is clearly taking full-advantage of permissible perks to boost economic investment in the borough,” said Dick Dadey of the government-watchdog group Citizens Union.
Well, Citizens Union isn't much of a watchdog if it thinks that Markowitz's effort to get Forest City Ratner low-cost financing by flacking green cards will "boost economic investment in the borough."

It would more likely boost the developer.

More importantly, Markowitz, however much he may enjoy a foreign trip, would not be going in order to be "taking full-advantage of permissible perks."

Rather, he'd be doing Ratner's bidding, and the bidding of the New York City Regional Center funding the trip.

Answering to Bruce

We've seen this pattern before. Rebecca Mead's 4/25/05 piece in the New Yorker (Mr. Brooklyn), captured the dynamic:
In the car, Markowitz’s cell phone rang, and the voice of a female assistant announced that “Bruce” was on the line.

“Yes, sir, how are you doing, Bruce?” Markowitz said, picking up the handset and falling silent as he listened. Bruce Ratner, it appeared from Markowitz’s responses, had some urgent questions about the way discussions concerning waterfront development in Williamsburg and Greenpoint might affect his own project. Markowitz, whenever he could get a word in, tried to be both conciliatory and upbeat. “I understand,” he said; and then, “I wish I knew, but I don’t know”; and “It’s hard for me”; and “That’s absolutely right.” Finally, he told Ratner to call someone in his office—better yet, he would have that someone call Ratner.

2 comments:

  1. Dadey's comment is really disturbing.

    Even if the job figures were based in reality how is Markowitz's presence necessary to help Ratner sell one of the more desired pieces of paper on the planet?
    It's not.

    Sounds like a boondoggle or junket.

    Also, if Ratner's project was of interest to Chinese investors then presumably he'd avoid the red tape involved in the EB5 program and just get those investments. But there must not be much interest in the project and/or doubts about its feasibility, to such an extent that the only way to get foreign money is to employ an odd federal program to procure loans rather than real investments.

    Sure, Ratner would probably argue he doesn't want to give away more equity in the project, but one has reason to doubt there is much clamoring for that.

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  2. Citizen's Union is just about the most toothless watchdog there is. Its failure to take a vocal position against Atlantic Yards and the project's endless list of abuses is more than enough to disqualify it from any meaningful role as a "watchdog."

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