Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Even in 1997, some in the press were questioning Ratner's use of political donations and influence

On May 3, I pointed to a 11/1/2000 City Limits article that cast a critical perspective on Forest City Ratner--evidence that, despite claims in the Real Deal that developer Bruce Ratner "enjoyed largely favorable PR" before Atlantic Yards, less favorable PR was hardly insignificant.

Consider this 12//28/97 article from the New York Post, headlined King of the Retail Deals:
Ask megadeveloper Bruce Ratner why questions of political donations and connections dog virtually every development his hugely successful Forest City Ratner Companies builds - or even vies for - and he snaps, "It's just silly."

The 52-year-old developer, lawyer and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs angrily dismisses the persistent notion that his heavy contributions at the city, state and federal level get Forest City favored treatment - and even allow him to make special deals.
Peter Slatin's article does give Ratner his due:
In other words, Ratner has been the city's most prolific developer over the past decade. But has he accomplished that through back-room politicking, or even by buying his way to the top? Or has he made his mark by taking risks that other, more established builders have shied away from?

The answer may indeed be both.... His supporters note that he has focused almost exclusively on deals and on districts that his rivals dismissed as not worth the headaches.

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