Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A profile in the Observer: "Brooklyn's Angry Man" (and the absence of the Times on the EB-5 story)

On September 21, when news that I was leaving my job to write a book about Atlantic Yards surfaced, the New York Observer covered it in their Real Estate blog.

They told me they wanted to run a piece in print, but that didn't happen, as Lockhart Steele, he of the nationwide Curbed ambitions (appropriately) merited precedence as The Player. (Moi?)

However, my coverage of the EB-5 controversy apparently was enough of a hook for them to return to the idea of a print article, so this week we have Brooklyn’s Angry Man: Norman Oder Plans to Keep Up the Fight.

I wouldn't say I'm keeping up the fight so much as continuing to dig.

In closing

The close of the piece references my expectation that news about the project would slow down, and how it hasn't:
That was before Mr. Oder broke one of his biggest scoops ever, a plan by Forest City Ratner, the developer of Atlantic Yards, to arrange thousands of green cards for Chinese investors to drum up $249 million for the project, using a program known as EB-5. Mr. Oder revealed how the numbers on the program do not add up, as well as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's planned trip to China to stump for it. Mr. Markowitz canceled after the Post re-reported Mr. Oder's findings. And yet the only other outlets to pick up on it were the Journal and the Daily News (and the story may have been leaked to the Journal before Mr. Oder's post to steal his thunder).

The Transom asked Mr. Oder to name his favorite restaurant. He arched his eyebrows and responded, "Totonno's, in Coney Island."

Really?

"Come on!" he declared, becoming momentarily exasperated. "You should be writing about the EB-5 scandal, not Norman's favorite fucking restaurants."
I'm not sure the Observer should accept that I "revealed" how the numbers don't add up. I'd rather they do some reporting and come to a conclusion.

But the piece should remind readers that the Times, which has expended significant metro resources on fluff (see Cocktail? Choices Vary on Rail Lines From the City, 9/27/10) should be covering the EB-5 story.

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