Sunday, March 13, 2011

The cognitive dissonance of the Daily News: cheering Atlantic Yards, slamming Albany corruption, giving slack to Kruger's partner Forest City Ratner

It wasn't so long ago that the New York Daily News, on 12/17/09, was cheering the Atlantic Yards arena:
Even more important, the Atlantic Yards plan calls for building 6,400 housing units, a third of them affordable, on a tract that has been fallow for half a century. Those will take time. Right now, it's enough that we end the dark half-century that began with the defection of the borough's Dodgers and enjoy all the jobs that building the arena will create.
That contained a big lie ("fallow" tract), a medium lie ("all the jobs"), and a ridiculous claim (that the half-century had been "dark").

A corrupt capital

Today, the Daily News is shocked, shocked at the political shenanigans behind the project, in an editorial headlined Crooked Carl Kruger wallowed in Albany's corrupt pork-barrel slush-fund ways:
The million-dollar corruption case lodged against Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger did more than depict him as the personification of sleaze. It also shed invaluable light on the Legislature's cavalier slush-fund culture.

An FBI listening device showed just how much money an individual lawmaker can control - and just how routinely a legislator can dole it out, without accountability or sound judgment, to special friends.

This particular transaction unfolded in December, when Kruger fielded a call from Forest City Ratner honcho Bruce Bender - a client of lobbyist Richard Lipsky, who had allegedly bribed Kruger for help on other matters.

Bender was seeking an amazing $15 million: $9 million for a bridge related to his company's Atlantic Yards project, $2 million for a retail center in Mill Basin and $4 million to renovate a skating rink in Prospect Park.

As it happens, Bender's wife sits on the board of the Prospect Park Alliance.

Kruger laments that he has but $4 million to offer and asks, "What do you want done?" adding, "I guess the park. F--- the bridge."

But Bender prods Kruger for more. You're the Finance Committee chairman, he says. Can't you squeeze something additional out of Senate Democratic leader John Sampson?

Kruger replies that other community groups "would take $10,000 and kiss somebody's a--."

Not exactly the stuff of civics textbooks, is it?
But it takes two (or three) to tango--aren't Kruger's partners deserving of criticism? Wasn't it Bender who said "I don't mind fucking the bridge"?

Blame the legislature?

The editorial concludes:
But this is slimy business as usual in Albany, where pork accounts are so numerous that Senate officials couldn't be quite sure on Friday which account the $4 million came from or where it ended up.

Prosecutors have warned for years that this secretive, unaccountable spending is guaranteed to breed corruption. They were right. Individual lawmakers have no business grabbing and doling out slices of pork. So, from now on, for as long as the Legislature insists on gorging, these grants will be known as Kruger Money.
Shouldn't the Daily News stress that part of the "slimy business" is Forest City Ratner's effort to evade a $14 million obligation it assumed to rebuild the Carlton Avenue Bridge?

1 comment:

  1. "Shouldn't the Daily News stress that part of the 'slimy business' is Forest City Ratner's effort to evade a $14 million obligation it assumed to rebuild the Carlton Avenue Bridge?"

    Only if Mort let's 'em.

    ReplyDelete