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.