Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Forest City's Atlantic Yards affiliate seventh in city lobbying; subject lobbied reported as "TBD"

They're back. After dropping out of the top ten lobbying spenders in the city in 2013, Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards Development Company (now presumably an affiliate of Greenland Forest City Partners as well) ranked as  the seventh biggest spender in 2014 city lobbying, according to a new report from the City Clerk.

Last year's total was $320,000, after spending $287,000 in 2013 and $448,000 in 2012.

The AYDC also tied for fourth with nine other clients as having retained four lobbying firms. (One other client retained six firms, and two retained five.)

And it tied with three other clients in having the seventh-largest single contract, with two others (like AYDC) paying $240,000 to heavyweight firm Kasirer Consulting.

What they got

A search on the city's lobby database is not too enlightening, since the forms are filled out incompletely and even those that seemingly fulfill the minimal requirements don't say much. But I'd guess that the lobbyists helped Forest City ensure that the next two "all affordable" towers would skew affordability to the middle-class and decrease the developer's risk.

As shown in the screenshot below--the target for Kasirer lobbyist Julie Greenberg was the mayor's office and the subject listed as "TBD." Can't they fill out the form correctly?

Similarly, the firm LoCicero & Tan Inc., which was paid $8,000 by AYDC to lobby "Attaches of the Council" reported "not known at this time" as the lobbying subject.

Al D'Amato's Park Strategies was paid $60,000 to lobby the Council on "real estate," while Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker was paid $12,000 to lobby the Council on "Assorted Issues."

By the way, as shown in the screenshot below, Forest City's own executives lobbied the Council on "budget" issues."

The coverage

The New York Post reported Lobbyist shoots to #1 in NYC after backing de Blasio for mayor"
A veteran lobbyist who was a major supporter of Bill de Blasio’s run for mayor in 2013 saw his business nearly double in 2014 after his pal was elected, records show.
Jim Capalino reported hauling in $8.2 million from 237 clients last year — up from the $4.6 million earned by his downtown Manhattan firm during the last year of the Bloomberg administration in 2013.
The firm also signed 69 new clients, according to records released Monday by the City Clerk.
Capalino’s surge was enough to dethrone the city’s perennial No. 1 lobbyist — Suri Kasirer, of Kasirer Consulting, whose billings also rose, from $6.6 million to $7.7 million.
The Daily News reported yesterday Record $71.9 million spent on lobbying New York City officials in 2014: report:
Power players are spending more cash than ever to influence city government officials through lobbying, a new city report shows.
Lobbyists brought in $71.9 million to target city government in 2014, a record high, according to the report by the city clerk’s office covering the first year since Mayor de Blasio and the new City Council took office.
It’s about a 15% jump from the year before, when $62.7 million was spent on lobbying city officials.
Before the report came out, The Real Deal reported 3/1/15, The influence traders, looking at some of the biggest lobbying firms representing real estate, including Kasirer, Geto & de Milly (which has worked for Forest City), and Wilson Elser, also "the go-to firm for the Real Estate Board of New York when it outsources its lobbying activities in Albany."

It also notes that many firms have in-house expertise with government experience:
At Forest City Ratner, for example, the person running the external affairs department is Ashley Cotton, a former campaigner for Andrew Cuomo’s attorney general bid who went on to work for the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the Bloomberg administration.

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