Saturday, March 12, 2011

An imaginary dialogue between Bruce Ratner and Bruce Bender: "What did you mean when you told Carl Kruger 'I don't mind fucking the bridge'?"

We don't have a listening device on Forest City Ratner executive Bruce Bender's phone calls, as apparently the FBI did--at least when he spoke with Carl Kruger--but if we did, perhaps yesterday we could have heard a conversation with Bruce Ratner, his boss at Forest City Ratner.

BR: What were you thinking?

BB: Bruce, Bruce. We didn't get indicted. We didn't get touched.

BR: It doesn't look good.

BB: It's way better than Ridge Hill.

BR: True, but it doesn't look good.

BB: It doesn't look great, but, c'mon, whatever looks not-great is a lot better than what else made the news: Kruger, Boyland, Lipsky--they're toast.

BR: We fired Lipsky quick, true.

BB: He was doing it for the kids!

BR: For the kids!

BB: Youth sports!

(Chortles)

(Pause)

BR: Why'd you let Kruger choose?

BB: Bruce--

BR: You let Kruger choose one of three projects to give the last of his money, and he picked that Lakeside Center project in Prospect Park. It's not our project.

BB: It's a nice project.

BR: It's your wife's project.

BB: Bruce, c'mon, people love the park--

BR: We needed that money for the Carlton Avenue Bridge

BB: It wasn't enough.

BR: Every little bit helps. We asked for nine million, we'll take four. We'll get there.

BB: OK.

BR: And you said, "I don't mind fucking the bridge." And then you said, "I've got to leverage that bridge, what's my value?" What did you mean?

BB: Aw, I was just talking.

BR: "What's my value?" It doesn't make much sense, unless you're talking about some kind of arrangement.

BB: We didn't have an arrangement. We just go way back.

BR: We still need to pay for that damn bridge. We need $16 million and we need it by next year.

BB: I have an idea.

BR: Which is?

BB: Let's go back to the Chinese.

BR: The Chinese?

BB: Yeah, the green cards for investments thingie. I have to say, it's really our best boodle ever.

BR: We already told the Chinese they were investing in the Carlton Avenue Bridge--

BB: Not the next round of Chinese.

BR: --And the arena. And the railyard. And instead we'll just refinance our land loan. (Pause) You think we can go back to China?

BB: Sure. They have tons of people who want to emigrate.

BR: But we have to get some paperwork that claims they're creating jobs.

BB: Don't worry. Nobody checks.

(Chortles)

BR: We could probably raise more than $16 million, right?

BB: As long as we have the city and state on board.

BR: I noticed the ESDC wouldn't say we're still a good corporate citizen.

BB: Bruce. In for a dime, in for a dollar. They're in. They can't not be in.

BR: Which means...

BB: We're Teflon.

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