Sunday, March 20, 2011

New York Post notices contributions from Michael Ratner and wife to Kruger, discovers other Nets investors who gave

When, in September 2006, I first wrote about lawyer Michael Ratner's campaign contribution in apparent furtherance of the goals of Forest City Ratner (run by his brother Bruce), nobody in the press seemed to care.

When news of corruption charges against state Senator Carl Kruger first surfaced this month, I mentioned that Kruger had received FCR-related campaign contributions, and on Friday I wrote again about Michael Ratner.

Exclusive?

Today, in an article labeled "Exclusive," the New York Post offers Kruger's campaigns see big 'Net' gains:
State Sen. Carl Kruger -- who, the feds charge, directed state money to the Atlantic Yards project, which includes a new Nets arena -- took thousands of dollars in campaign cash from deep-pocketed donors connected to its developer, the team and the arena.
(Actually, he directed state money toward a Prospect Park project pushed by Forest City executive Bruce Bender.)

Nets investor Michael Ratner and his wife, Karen Ranucci, are cited first, with no reference to my coverage.

New findings

The others listed advance the story:
  • Richard Lipsky, a former Ratner lobbyist, and his wife, Dorothy (Lipsky's also been charged, for illegal gifts, as well)
  • Vincent Viola, a Wall Street mogul and former chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange
  • Ahron Hersh, a former CEO of a handbag company
  • Martin Rostowsky, president of a Sunset Park electric-supply company
Hersh said his gift thanked Kruger for helping Russian Jews, while no one else, including reps for the developer and the Nets, would comment.

The numbers are not so great as to suggest a massively organized plan; still, it's notable that so few would comment.

Surely Michael Ratner's pattern of contributions deserves further scrutiny, as well.

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