Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Executive departures from Forest City pile up: four of five listed as key lobbyists in 2006 are gone

Sure, CEO Bruce Ratner's still around, as is Senior VP Jane Marshall, and Executive VP MaryAnne Gilmartin surely has stepped up to run Atlantic Yards, but it's remarkable how four of Forest City Ratner's key executives working on the project have left, and under not-always-clear circumstances.

The screenshot below, from the city's lobbying database, shows Forest City's in-house lobbyists in 2005 and 2006, the years leading up to the project's initial approval. (Yes, the company mostly works with external lobbyists, and on both the city and state levels.)


Jim Stuckey, the company's Atlantic Yards point man, left abruptly in June 2007 "to pursue new challenges." Last year, the New York Post reported that the departure, as with a more recent one from NYU was spurred by allegations of sexual harassment. Stuckey and NYU have since been sued regarding such allegations.

In March 2011, FCR president and Chief Operating Officer Joanne Minieri left for her own consulting venture, and was not replaced. Was she nudged out in an effort to save on personnel costs?

Now we've learned that government relations officials Bruce Bender and Scott Cantone are apparently leaving to start their own consulting venture. Though a source asserted it was simply “time to go,” that seems odd, given that they'd presumably want to celebrate the opening of the Barclays Center later this year. I suspect that the upcoming Ridge Hill corruption trial, in which Bender is likely to be mentioned, might have been the spur.

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