Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A footnote on de Blasio pal Findlayter: he was an original signer of the Atlantic Yards CBA (then vanished)

I'm not sure what to make of Mayor Bill de Blasio's allteged intervention in the arrest of the Rev. Orlando Findlayter, a political ally who faced a night in jail after being stopped for a traffic violation and having outstanding warrants for not showing up in court after being arrested at two protests.

On the one hand, it seems like special treatment. Then again, it also seems unwise to put people in jail if they pose no threat, and a precinct commander does have discretion. And those warrants were quickly vacated.

But I do want to point out that Findlayter, before he was useful to de Blasio, was useful to Forest City Ratner. He was an original signer of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement in June 2005, though his presence was barely noticeable.

The All-Faith Council of Brooklyn, a purported organization of clergy that Findlayter co-chaired, never met publicly, to my knowledge. It was replaced as a CBA signatory as of early 2008 (if not sooner) by a group called Faith in Action, led by the equally under-the-radar Rev. Lydia Sloley. No explanation was offered, and Findlayter left the scene.

Recent coverage

Here's some tough coverage in the New York Post, which noted:
City Hall aides insist the mayor did not ask that Findlayter be kept out of jail, and that the NYPD’s decision to spring the preacher was made before the mayor got involved.
Findlayter, who lives in Nassau County, did not return calls.
He played a key role in de Blasio’s mayoral win, endorsing him on June 12 and rallying the black vote when he was running fourth in the polls.
The bishop performed the invocation at the City Council’s first public meeting Jan. 22.
A woman at his home defended him, shouting, “So what? He didn’t do anything wrong!”
Monday’s arrest wasn’t the bishop’s his first run-in with the court system.
Public records show he has a string of court judgments against him, was foreclosed on by a mortgage lender and also declared bankruptcy.
The Times reported:
Ms. Royster said the mayor knew her from events they had both attended during his first weeks in office. Mr. Findlayter delivered an important early endorsement to Mr. de Blasio in last year’s Democratic primary. Mr. de Blasio later campaigned at Mr. Findlayter’s church and appointed the bishop to his transition team and inaugural committee.

Last month, Mr. Findlayter appeared at a round-table discussion introduced by Chirlane McCray, Mr. de Blasio’s wife.

On Tuesday, Mr. Findlayter appeared in criminal court and had his warrants vacated, a court spokesman, David Bookstaver, said.

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