Skip to main content

Two more (Atlantic Yards-supporting) Carpenters Union officials step down, as they avoid signing declarations regarding organized crime

In January, I reported that two Carpenters Union cheerleaders for the Atlantic Yards project have come into severe criticism and sanction for suspected and confirmed improprieties, according to a report by a court-appointed monitor.

Now there's more, as additional Atlantic Yards supporters have found themselves under a cloud as they've avoided statements about mafia ties, including Anthony Pugliese, left in photo, with Sal Zarzana, center.

(At right in the photo, from the 7/22/09 informational meeting organized by the Empire State Development Corporation, is Atlantic Yards opponent Robert Puca. Photo by Adrian Kinloch.)

The earlier report

The January report by Dennis M. Walsh was filed in federal court, and noted more than "$30,000 of inappropriate expenditures made by Salvester Zarzana, the business manager of Local 926 [in Brooklyn]."

Also, Walsh concluded that Local 926 business representative John Holt knowingly violated Job Referral Rules, obstructed an investigation, and gave false answers to an investigator. Walsh thus vetoed Holt's employment as a business representative.

The latest: mob influence?

Local 157's John Musumeci, whose blog offers a forum for regular union members to learn what's going on and to push for reforms, reported 3/16/11:
Local 157 Vice President/Representative Anthony Pugliese was pushed into retirement because he refused to cooperate and sign a declaration under penalty of perjury pertaining to mob influence over the affairs of the District Council, an informed source said.

Pugliese 57, a 35-year UBC member, and for the past 12 years, a Council Representative reportedly making $158,069 and collecting a tools pension, before he unexpectedly retired last week amid a zealous investigation by Review Officer Dennis Walsh, pertaining to organized crime influence over the affairs of the District Council, its affiliated local unions and members.
As Musumeci reports, District Council employees are supposed to sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they they have no information beyond that already publicized regarding mob ties:
Pugliese invoked his privilege against self-incrimination and decided to retire instead of sign the declaration an informed source said.
Note that these are anonymous sources, but no one has posted a response accusing Musumeci of inaccurate information.

He also wrote 8/24/10 that, on the night before the leader of the New York City District Council of Carpenters pleaded guilty to taking bribes from contractors, Pugliese declared that the leader, Michael Forde, was innocent.

Brugueras also resigns

Another Local Union 926 official, Ray Brugueras, "also suddenly resigned last week," Musumeci reported 3/12/11, again using anonymous sources.

Brugueras testified several times in favor of Atlantic Yards. The testimony below, offered to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Finance Committee on 6/22/09 in support of the developer's effort to sweeten its deal with the MTA, is a bit poignant, given Forest City Ratner would cut on-site construction jobs severely if it proceeds with a modular construction plan:
If there's any contractor that can basically get through these economic bad times, its Forest City Ratner. He has the monies available, he has the knowledgeable people, and he has the reputation... He definitely would put a lot more people to work and generate a lot more income for Brooklyn.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…

Is Barclays Center dumping the Islanders, or are they renegotiating? Evidence varies (bond doc, cash receipts); NHL attendance biggest variable

The Internet has been abuzz since Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick reported 1/30/17, using an overly conclusory headline, that Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Is Dumping the Islanders.

That would end an unusual arrangement in which the arena agrees to pay the team a fixed sum (minus certain expenses), in exchange for keeping tickets, suite, and sponsorship revenue.

The arena would earn more without the hockey team, according to Bloomberg, which cited “a financial projection shared with potential investors showed the Islanders won’t contribute any revenue after the 2018-19 season--a clear signal that the team won’t play there, the people said."

That "signal," however, is hardly definitive, as are the media leaks about a prospective new arena in Queens, as shown in the screenshot below from Newsday. Both sides are surely pushing for advantage, if not bluffing.

Consider: the arena and the Islanders can't even formally begin their opt-out talks until after this season. The disc…

Skanska says it "expected to assemble a properly designed modular building, not engage in an iterative R&D experiment"

On 12/10/16, I noted that FastCo.Design's Prefab's Moment of Reckoning article dialed back the gush on the 461 Dean modular tower compared to the publication's previous coverage.

Still, I noted that the article relied on developer Forest City Ratner and architect SHoP to put the best possible spin on what was clearly a failure. From the article: At the project's outset, it took the factory (managed by Skanska at the time) two to three weeks to build a module. By the end, under FCRC's management, the builders cut that down to six days. "The project took a little longer than expected and cost a little bit more than expected because we started the project with the wrong contractor," [Forest City's Adam] Greene says.Skanska jabs back
Well, Forest City's estranged partner Skanska later weighed in--not sure whether they weren't asked or just missed a deadline--and their article was updated 12/13/16. Here's Skanska's statement, which shows th…

Not just logistics: bypassing Brooklyn for DNC 2016 also saved on optics (role of Russian oligarch, Shanghai government)

Surely the logistical challenges of holding a national presidential nominating convention in Brooklyn were the main (and stated) reasons for the Democratic National Committee's choice of Philadelphia.

And, as I wrote in NY Slant, the huge security cordon in Philadelphia would have been impossible in Brooklyn.

But consider also the optics. As I wrote in my 1/21/15 op-ed in the Times arguing that the choice of Brooklyn was a bad idea:
The arena also raises ethically sticky questions for the Democrats. While the Barclays Center is owned primarily by Forest City Ratner, 45 percent of it is owned by the Russian billionaire Mikhail D. Prokhorov (who also owns 80 percent of the Brooklyn Nets). Mr. Prokhorov has a necessarily cordial relationship with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — though he has been critical of Mr. Putin in the past, last year, at the Russian president’s request, he tried to transfer ownership of the Nets to one of his Moscow-based companies. An oligarch-owned a…