Monday, March 28, 2011

So, the Prospect Park Alliance actually welcomed Bruce Bender's help to get state funding via Carl Kruger for a new skating rink

In a letter to the New York Post headlined Above board, Emily Lloyd, President/Administrator, Prospect Park Alliance, Prospect Park, writes:
“Kruger Crony Leaned on Me for Vote,” (March 17) states that Forest City Ratner Vice President Bruce Bender sought funding for the construction of a new skating rink in Prospect Park without having been requested to do so by the Prospect Park Alliance.

Alliance staff did ask Board Member Amy Bender to help advance our request for state funding for the skating rink, which is currently under construction. Bender’s husband, Bruce, was trying to assist the alliance in obtaining state-funding toward a major public project.

Alliance staff who are involved in public fundraising were informed about those efforts. All proposals for public funding are requested in an appropriate and transparent way.
Wiggle room

I'd point out that there's a little wiggle room there. Alliance staff asked Amy Bender for help. They didn't necessarily ask her to ask her husband. But perhaps that was implied. And it certainly was welcomed, according to Lloyd's letter.

Also note that the article cited, “Kruger Crony Leaned on Me for Vote”, doesn't actually say anything about the Prospect Park Alliance. Rather, a March 16 Post article, headlined Prospect Park group rage at 'Kruger' exec, began:
A top Atlantic Yards executive who requested state funds for Prospect Park's skating rink from embattled state Sen. Carl Kruger was never asked to do so by the park's fund-raising group -- and now park advocates are furious at being linked to the corruption scandal, sources told The Post.

"He has dragged our name through the mud," fumed a Prospect Park Alliance source about Forest City Ratner Vice President Bruce Bender, whose conversation with Kruger was featured in a federal criminal complaint against the Brooklyn Democrat.
The claim that Bruce Bender wasn't asked is not inconsistent with Lloyd's statement. Prospect Park Alliance board members may not have agreed to have Bruce Bender raise funds for them, though some might have recognized that asking Amy Bender would involve her husband.

Alliance looking bad?

No Land Grab's Eric McClure comments on Lloyd's letter:
We're not sure whether this makes it better or worse. The fact that the Alliance would ask the developer of New York City's most-controversial real estate boondoggle, which is soaking up hundreds of millions in those precious state funds, to lobby on their behalf doesn't show particularly good judgment.
I'd add that the Alliance might not want to be involved in dialogues like these, as described in federal charges.

"The Vice President said he needed a 'combo of two projects... the park and Carlton Avenue Bridge." Kruger said "the bridge is out," and asked Bender to choose:
The Vice President said that he did not know and that "this" was "bad." KRUGER said, "I guess the park, fuck the bridge." The Vice President said that "my dilemma is as you know, I don't mind fucking the bridge, I can't fuck it right now, I've got to leverage that bridge, what's my value?"

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