Skip to main content

Was Forest City's Gilmartin appointed to WNYC board because of "passion for public radio" or fundraising help?

So, why was Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin appointed to the board of WNYC?

As shown in the press release cited by Noticing New York's Michael White, WNYC President and CEO Laura Walker, commenting on the appointment of Gilmartin and three others, said they "bring vast experience in business, media and non-profit governance that will advance both the work of the Board and the mission of New York Public Radio.”  

Meanwhile, Cynthia King Vance, Chair, Board of Trustees, New York Public Radio, said “These accomplished leaders bring a passion for public radio and new and valuable perspectives to a highly engaged Board of Trustees."

Well, now.

I bet it has more to do with raising money.

How much may this harm WNYC in credibility? The jury is still out.

Forest City has a passion for shaping perception--such as the erasing-history effort to rename Atlantic Yards as Pacific Park

So even the capsule biography of Gilmartin, surely supplied by her office for the press release, is part of that effort. According to the press release, Gilmartin "led the efforts to build Barclays Center and Pacific Park Brooklyn, a 22-acre mixed-use development."

Actually, Pacific Park Brooklyn hasn't been built yet. The first tower is stalled. The second break ground next month.

Impact on WNYC

White, who wrote, Is Forest City Ratner, As Victor, Writing Our History?, worries that talk show host Leonard Lopate "could likely be replaced by someone who, on the spectrum, is more more likely to be confused with a corporate lapdog than Brian Lehrer, perhaps friendlier to developers like Ratner than even Charlie Rose." 

He pointed out that, "while public radio has done better in the past to escape the influence of Ratner and the real estate industry, the same cannot be said of New York City’s WNET public television station where criticism of the city’s real estate is never heard, but Forest City Ratner has gotten great promotion on Charlie Rose."

I'm not as alarmed as White--after all, it's a big board--but I do think it's cause for concern. (And he does point to the oddly whimsical segment on Brian Lehrer that featured Gilmartin, Walker, and Ariana Huffington talking about sleep.) 

Community Advisory Board meeting today

White highlights tonight's WNYC Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting at 7:00 PM at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights:
The Community Advisory Board is supposed to take comment from the public about the station’s operations. At their last meeting the CAB groused that far too few members of the public come to their meetings. (With Gilmartin's appointment they may be on the verge of ironic solution.)
...it would seem that Ms. Gilmartin’s appointment to her policy-setting position on the WNYC board should be of vital concern to the CAB. To argue, contrarily, that it is only a board appointment and that the CAB should wait and be concerned only when station policy actually changes after enough board members of Ms. Gilmartin’s ilk have been appointed would be to say the CAB should react to close the barn door only after there has already been an irreversible escape of the horse.
He suggests that CAB members face a conundrum, because they are subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees,

Comments

  1. As acknowledged here, this a cause for concern, but then the question is how finely the appropriate level for that concern can be parsed, with you supposing that my level of alarm is greater than yours (which it probably is).

    But, as you pick up here, if we have already lost WNET as venue and forum to understand how the real estate industry dominates New York City to its detriment and if that happened silently and without public comment, hardly noticed at all, how can we feel at all assured that we won't soon arrive at the same outcome here?

    And when we lose all our public broadcasting stations doesn't that more or less emphasize that everything public is for sale and will be bought as wealth disparities accentuate further?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

So, Forest City has some property subject to the future Gowanus rezoning

Writing yesterday, MAP: Who Owns All the Property Along the Gowanus Canal, DNAinfo's Leslie Albrecht lays out the positioning of various real estate players along the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site:
As the city considers whether to rezone Gowanus and, perhaps, morph the gritty low-rise industrial area into a hot new neighborhood of residential towers (albeit at a fraction of the height of Manhattan's supertall buildings), DNAinfo reviewed property records along the canal to find out who stands to benefit most from the changes.
Investors have poured at least $440 million into buying land on the polluted waterway and more than a third of the properties have changed hands in the past decade, according to an examination of records for the nearly 130 properties along the 1.8-mile canal. While the single largest landowner is developer Property Markets Group, other landowners include Kushner Companies, Alloy Development, Two Trees, and Forest City New York.

Forest City's plans unc…

At 550 Vanderbilt, big chunk of apartments pitched to Chinese buyers as "international units"

One key to sales at the 550 Vanderbilt condo is the connection to China, thanks to Shanghai-based developer Greenland Holdings.

It's the parent of Greenland USA, which as part of Greenland Forest City Partners owns 70% of Pacific Park (except 461 Dean and the arena).

And sales in China may help explain how the developer was able to claim early momentum.
"Since 550 Vanderbilt launched pre-sales in June [2015], more than 80 residences have gone into contract, representing over 30% of the building’s 278 total residences," the developer said in a 9/25/15 press release announcing the opening of a sales gallery in Brooklyn. "The strong response from the marketplace indicates the high level of demand for well-designed new luxury homes in Brooklyn..."

Maybe. Or maybe it just meant a decent initial pipeline to Chinese buyers.

As lawyer Jay Neveloff, who represents Forest City, told the Real Deal in 2015, a project involving a Chinese firm "creates a huge market for…