Wednesday, February 18, 2015

At ESD meeting tomorrow, change planned to allow agency CEO to serve on Atlantic Yards CDC

From the agenda for the meeting tomorrow of the Empire State Development board:
C. Brooklyn (Kings County) - Atlantic Yards Land Use Improvement and Civic Project – Modification of Authorization to Create Subsidiary
As I wrote last week, because ESD CEO Kenneth Adams, a Brooklyn resident, is moving to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax and finance office, and will be replaced by Buffalo developer Howard Zemsky, the ESD will change the language of the authorization to create the new Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) to say the New York City residency requirement is lifted in the case of the agency CEO.


"That seems like an issue," commented Peter Krashes of the Dean Street Block Association at a public meeting. "The board is designed to create accountability to the public, and the community, he said, suggesting it “was about having people here who have knowledge of the project... a developer from Buffalo is not going to have knowledge of the project.”

The ESD CEO, Krashes observed, is “still the ultimate decision maker…. to be blunt, he’s not necessary on the [CDC] board.”

Others pushed further. “It's a conflict of interest, frankly, somebody who's a decision maker on the oversight board,” commented Fort Greene resident Susan Lerner, who was speaking personally but is a governmental ethics expert in her role heading Common Cause/NY.

(As noted, Gib Veconi pointed out that it is typical to have state officials on subsidiaries, though I suggested that it seems different, since the board is advisory.)

Votes on the agency board are usually unanimous, but we'll see if any member of the public brings up the issue.

Attending the meeting

The meeting will be webcast; those attending must RSVP today:
** MEDIA ADVISORY **
What: Meeting of the Directors of the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development.
When: Thursday, February 19, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.
Where: Empire State Development
633 Third Avenue – 37th Floor Conference Room
New York, New York 10017
Due to 633 Third Avenue building procedures, those attending in New York City please RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
Members of the press should please call (800) 260-7313; Members of the public should please call (212) 803-3794.

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