Monday, February 17, 2014

Rev. Findlayter won't answer press questions in wake of BdB intervention; if he does, he should be asked about Atlantic Yards role

From the Daily News
The tabloids especially have been piling on Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to intervene in the case of supporter the Rev. Orlando Findlayter, who, after being stopped for a traffic violation, was found to have two outstanding warrants.

The cops say the decision to release Findlayter was based on his community stature, not de Blasio's call.

As I wrote, it seems like improper interference, but it also seems like throwing someone in jail for nonviolent offenses, who has community ties, is unwise as well, especially since those warrants were soon vacated.

("If Rudy Giuliani is saying it ain't no big deal, and if Rudy and Al Sharpton can agree on something then you all need to go on to the next thing," Sharpton said, according to the Wall Street Journal.)
What's especially interesting--given that Findlayter won't talk to the press--is how the tabloids have uncovered some less flattering aspects of the clergyman's professional and business life.

No Atlantic Yards scrutiny

And that suggests that had Findlayter been subject to press scrutiny when he signed the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement in June 2005, there might have been more reasons for suspicion of that CBA.

As I wrote, before he was useful to de Blasio, was useful to Forest City Ratner, though his presence was barely noticeable. He offered a canned quote (oddly, and mistakenly, attributed to "the Reverence") in the press release:
The Reverence [sic] Orlando Findlayter, the other All-Faith Council of Brooklyn Co-Chair, added, "When a developer says 'help make this a better project,' we say yes. This process was open and thorough and the results speak volumes about the developer and we believe the end result."
Of course, the CBA is widely discredited. And Findlayter's not doing so well, either.

Not only did he sign the CBA, he appeared twice in the list of supporters of Forest City's bid to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in July 2005, as a representative of both New Hope Christian Fellowship and Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH).

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.

It's worth asking why he joined, and left, and whether and how much Forest City supported his work. Later, executive MaryAnne Gilmartin acknowledged in July 2009, “Forest City has funding obligations and commitments to each of the organizations."

Findlayter's Atlantic Yards role was so minor it does not appear in the summary of his professional life in his LinkedIn profile.

Questions about Findlayter

On 2/13/14, the New York Post offered De Blasio’s reverend can’t pay bills, keep roof over congregation:
Findlayter — who was instrumental in delivering the black vote for Mayor de Blasio — was booted three years ago from the East Flatbush building that housed his New Hope Christian Fellowship church and the nonprofit Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH) after falling more than $45,000 behind in rent, records show.
Findlayter’s homes have been foreclosed on twice, he has filed for bankruptcy, and has racked up thousands in court judgments, according to public documents.
And the IRS yanked CUSH’s tax-exempt status last May after the Findlayter-led advocacy coalition failed to file required tax returns for three consecutive years.
He doesn't even live in Brooklyn:
Findlatyer, who now lives in a $600,000 home in Lynbrook, LI, was hauled into the 67th Precinct station house Monday because of open warrants for allegedly failing to show up for court after being arrested at a protest.
The preacher has missed court dates before.
He didn’t respond after a woman fell down stairs in his building and sued his church in 2009, records show. The woman was subsequently awarded $100,000, said her lawyer, Mitchell Proner.
On 2/14/14, the Daily News published Bishop Orlando Findlayter’s finances in question after being spared a night in jail:
Bishop Orlando Findlayter, spared a night in jail earlier this week after Hizzoner called to inquire about his status after a traffic stop, has $214,000 in city and state funds sitting in limbo, the Daily News has learned.
Findlayter, 50, who hobnobs with politicians from City Council members to state senators to President Obama, didn’t pick up the cash. The stalled money is just a piece of the murky financial picture of a man who owns a nearly $600,000 Long Island home, but needed a Legal Aid Society attorney when he answered a pair of outstanding warrants in court on Tuesday.
...Both the state and city require paperwork to be submitted to release funds — taxes, budgets, expense accounts for each nonprofit.
Nor, according to the Daily News, does the organization Guidestar, which tracks records regarding nonprofit organizations, have any record of tax returns from either of Findlayter’s groups.

Yesterday, the New York Post published Bishop Findlayter was a Brooklyn slumlord: ex-tenant:
Bishop Orlando Findlayter owned two apartment buildings, in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights — and evicted at least 10 people, one for failing to pay a measly $950, public records show.
Jason Brewster, 42, lived in a three-unit building at 726A Quincy St. with his two young children and fiancée until he was sent packing over a $3,800 court judgment in 2002.
But Brewster says he had a good reason not to pay Findlayter — the bishop allegedly refused to fix a loose railing at the entrance that the dad feared might send his two kids tumbling down the stairs.
“He was a slumlord,” Brewster, who now lives in East New York, told The Post. “Bottom line was he didn’t want to fix anything. We owed money because we refused to pay any more.
Maybe these cases are all more complicated than reported. But until and unless Findlayter talks to the press, we won't know.

And if/when he does, maybe he can be asked about his minor but helpful role in the Atlantic Yards CBA.

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