Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thanks in part to Forest City Ratner influence, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership takes over MetroTech BID

So, what does the news about the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's controversial takeover of the MetroTech Business Improvement District (BID) have to do with Atlantic Yards? A bunch.

The DBP, a reliable cheerleader for Atlantic Yards, and was once (and perhaps still) under investigation for improper lobbying, has support from political leaders and Forest City Ratner. Consider Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's statement yesterday, as reported by the New York Post:

Borough President Marty Markowitz called the Partnership deal “an important step in the ongoing transformation of Downtown Brooklyn into a vibrant, 24/7, live-work urban center -- and soon, home of the Brooklyn Nets.”

The summary

As reported by the Post:

A development corporation created by Bloomberg to spur economic development in Downtown Brooklyn was awarded a $216,667-a-year contract to run daily operations of a striving Business Improvement District representing 25 square blocks in and around Metro Tech Center.

The decision today by Metro Tech BID to hire Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to manage the business improvement district’s daily operations -- and a $2.6 million budget raised through a neighborhood property tax -- ends more than two years of bickering by BID board members split over the plan.

The Partnership was granted the new responsibilities despite Monday’s release of an audit by Comptroller John Liu that ripped it for keeping shoddy payroll records, poorly documenting private donations and snubbing competitive-bidding laws.

The BID board voted 21-9 in favor of the Partnership contract, with Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn) abstaining....

A faction, including top BID brass, had fought the Partnership plan despite pressure from City Hall and developer Forest City Ratner, which built Metro Tech’s office complex in the 1980s.

BID President Victoria Aviles and her group failed several attempts to delay the vote, claiming the merger is a blatant conflict of interest because many board members pushing it represent Forest City and other developers with seats on the partnership’s boards, too.

It may well be a blatant conflict, but that doesn't always prove meaningful.

More links from NLG.

Did Levin have any choice other than to abstain? He's got to work with these people.

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