Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Following up on Jim Stuckey's mysterious resignation: the widespread rumors; questions about FCR's role; and more apparent board departures

The New York Post scoop Saturday contending that the mysterious departure of Jim Stuckey from two jobs (and subsequently the city's Public Design Commission) was because of alleged sexual harassment--he and New York University say it was health reasons--deserves more attention.

The issue is not merely the salacious allegations, but because of what it says about how power operates in the city.

Notably, it reminds us how Forest City Ratner managed to lock down the press when it booted its Atlantic Yards point man in 2007, and reveals that company CEO Bruce Ratner later helped Stuckey get a new job at NYU. And it leaves some lingering questions about that process.

The rumors reach print

It was a widespread rumor that Stuckey had been forced out of his job at Forest City Ratner in 2007 because of sexual harassment allegations. I heard it from three different people--though I had no idea whether all rumors traced back to one not-so-credible source or multiple credible sources.

(Who might be the source the Post described as "one former ranking city official with deep knowledge of Stuckey’s alleged history of harassing female subordinates"? I can't be sure, but at least one Forest City Ratner executive is a "former ranking city official" and whose "deep knowledge" would thus derive not from that city position but from work at the same company. Then again, Stuckey did serve at the New York City Public Development Commission for 12 years, until 1989--and headed the organization for three years--so he interacted with a lot of city officials.)

The rumors were apparently so widespread that someone--I don't know who--posted an anonymous comment on the website of The Real Deal, when it reported the news of Stuckey leaving NYU. The comment was quickly removed, but I made a screenshot:

Passing on a problem to NYU?

It's unclear what occurred at NYU, but if it rises to the level of a legal claim against the university, the plaintiff(s) would have reason to ask, as Eric McClure commented, "who knew what, and when did they know it?"

He likened former boss Bruce Ratner's influence in getting Stuckey a new job to a pope transferring a priest rather than banishing him or getting him treatment. The Post, again using unnamed sources, quoted a Forest City official as claiming "the reasons for [Stuckey's] sudden departure" were shared with potential employers.

That's a lingering question and, as I wrote, the issue may be the subject of an internal inquiry at NYU.

More apparent board departures: St. John's

Not only has Stuckey left the the Public Design Commission, as the Post reported, he's also left the Board of Trustees of St. John's University, his alma mater.

As of Saturday, his name was included on the board list, but yesterday, two days later, that list didn't include him. A Google search yesterday delivered a summary result that suggested Stuckey was recently a member.

I queried St. John's yesterday in the late afternoon. (Updated 11 am Oct. 18) This morning I received a response: “James Stuckey has resigned from St. John’s University’s Board of Trustees for health reasons.”

Stuckey's presence was listed in a Google summary of the board list for the St. John's Annual President's Dinner, to be held October 27, but his name no longer appears on that page.

More apparent board departures

Stuckey's LinkedIn profile, as of October 16, listed him not only as a member of the St. John's Board of Trustees, since May 2009, but also as holding two other positions: Member at Clinton Global Initiative, beginning in August 2010, and Fellow and Member of the Disaster Management Commission at Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, beginning in June 2010.

Two days later, those positions are absent from his profile.

1 comment:

  1. Norman, was it prescient of you to get those screen shots... or is that what one learns after years of covering FCR? Either way, thanks!

    ReplyDelete