The New York Post reports, in Markowitz pulls out of controversial China trip to benefit Nets arena:
Bowing to pressure fueled in part by a Post story last week, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz confirmed today that he’s pulling out of an all-expenses-paid trip to China.Surely the pressure was fueled in part by the Post, but I have to think Atlantic Yards Report had a larger impact. And, actually, the trip would not benefit the Nets arena--that's the hype--but rather developer Forest City Ratner's search for low-cost financing for the railyard it's obligated to build.
The article notes that Markowitz was not, in fact, stymied by the New York City Conflicts of Interests Board:
He had planned to take the weeklong 7,000-mile trip this month to help his longtime pal -- developer Bruce Ratner -- peddle green cards to rich foreigners in exchange for investing in Ratner's cash-poor Atlantic Yards project.Did today's revelations drive decision?
The Beep won’t be accompanying Ratner, Peter Davidson, executive director of the Empire State Development Corp., and other officials on the trip -- even though the city Conflict of Interest Board earlier today green-lighted the trip for Markowitz by ruling it wouldn’t violate city ethics laws.
So why did Markowitz drop out of the trip?
Markowitz through a spokesman denied caving in to heavy criticism from project critics, including postings today by the blog Atlantic Yards Report claiming Ratner and his contingent have over-hyped the projects benefits -- such as job estimates -- to sway potential Chinese investors. The blog was also the first to report about the planned trip last week.
Btw, taxpayers will pay for Davidson's trip, while Markowitz's trip was to be funded by the New York City Regional Center, the private company promoting the investment in exchange for green cards.
He was unwilling to answer questions when I approached him on September 29. Earlier today, I called the willingness to flack green cards without answering questions an "abdication of government."
(Photo by Tracy Collins)
According to the Post, I am "claiming Ratner and his contingent have over-hyped the projects benefits -- such as job estimates -- to sway potential Chinese investors."
Actually, I'm not claiming that they've over-hyped benefits. I'm proving it.
Any promotion that uses a 2004 quote from Sen. Chuck Schumer about 10,000 office jobs--office jobs destined for no-longer-planned office towers--is an over-hyped promotion. There's no debate about that.