Friday, May 06, 2011

Even in a slow lobbying year, Forest City Ratner spent some $345,000 on array of lobbying firms, including Lipsky

In past years, state officials have released annual lobbying information in April; since no such document has been forthcoming, I've taken a look at Forest City Ratner's lobbying in 2010, which, understandably, was well below that in 2009, when the developer renegotiated deals with both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Empire State Development Corporaiton.

Indeed, the 2009 total of $1,127,598 in city and state lobbying, perhaps the largest sum for any real estate developer, was succeeded by a 2010 total of some $345,000, likely dwarfed by sums spent on public relations, such as the 3/11/10 groundbreaking ceremony.

The developer spread the money among nine firms, including the one-man show run by Richard Lipsky, who faces corruption charges.

The state database shows spending by Forest City Ratner Companies and the Atlantic Yards Development Company. The former lobbied on both Atlantic Yards and non-AY issues, according to the filing:
BUDGET REGULATORY AND LEGISLATIVE ISSUES PERTAINING TO REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT; ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, BROOKLYN ARENA, MULTIPLE APPROVALS TO ENABLE CONSTRUCTION OF A SHOPPING CENTER ON WHAT IS NOW CITY OWNED PROERTY IN BROOKLYM INCLUDING THE DISPOSITION OF CITY PROPERT, REZONING, MULTIPLE SPECIAL PERMITS AND POSSIBLE ZONING TEXT CHANGES
Lipsky was paid $10,000 over the course of the year, while Carl Andrews (an ex-state Senator who's faced his own ethical questions) was paid $36,000.

That's a total of $46,000, with some portion of it unrelated to Atlantic Yards. (I'm leaving out the in-house lobbyists, who were compensated nearly $7000.)

The AYDC

The Atlantic Yards Development Company (AYDC) spread the money around some of the state's top lobbying firms.

It paid $48,000 to LoCicero and Tan; $48,000 to State & Broadway; $38,160 to the law firm Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker; $18,000 to The Carey Group; $41,307 to the law firm Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; $50,000 to Park Strategies; $18,000 to Richard Lipsky; and $60,000 to Geto & DeMilly.

That's a total of $321,467.

Attribute in half the lobbying money spent by Forest City Ratner to Atlantic Yards and the total of AY-related spending nears $345,000.

The tasks for the lobbyists, according to the typo-riddled state filing.
LAND USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OFTHE ATLANTIC YARDS PROJECT IN BROOKLYN; ACQUISTION OF ATLANIC YARDS & CITY PROPERTY RELATED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF ATLANTIC YARDS, BROOKLYN, NY, BUDGET, REGULATORY & LEGISLATIVE ISSUES PERTAINING TO REAL ESTATE, CONSTRUCTION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TAX WAIVER, ATLANTIC YARD SPROJECT
Note the term "tax waiver." That suggests that the developer continues to seek new tax breaks.

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