Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rosen, Kasirer, Ratner part of Observer's Political Power 50 list

The New York Observer’s Political Power 50 wisely excludes Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, two staunch Atlantic Yards supporters, as well as New York's two U.S. senators. (Senator Chuck Schumer is a big supporter.)

Still, along with numerous de Blasio aides and deputy mayors involved with Atlantic Yards in some ways, such as Emma Wolfe or Alicia Glen, it's notable how many of those listed have AY ties.

Consider in the top ten:
8. Jonathan Rosen, Co-Founder, BerlinRosen
The consulting firm he co-founded, BerlinRosen, serves as the mouthpiece of Mr. de Blasio’s political operation, and is tightly intertwined with the forces of progressive politics in New York City—from the Working Families Party to labor unions to Ms. Mark-Viverito to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. But his client list also includes some of the biggest real estate firms in city, like Two Trees and Forest City Ratner. His wife, Debbie, served as deputy chief of staff to the indicted Mr. Silver and now works under the city’s budget director, Dean Fuleihan. His relationship with the mayor is raising eyebrows and questions among some advocates about the largely unregulated interactions between consultants and government.
Indeed, the relationship is raising eyebrows.

A top lobbyist

The second lobbyist, after John Banks of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), works for Forest City, among many others:
28. Suri Kasirer, Founder, Kasirer Consulting
The founder of Kasirer Consulting has been the city’s best-paid lobbyist for nearly a decade. A Democrat married to Bruce Teitelbaum, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s chief-of-staff, Ms. Kasirer is known as both an effective advocate-for-hire for real estate interests and as a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential effort, former Comptroller William Thompson’s 2009 mayoral campaign and Mr. de Blasio’s 2013 bid for City Hall. She also sits on the ABNY [Association for a Better New York] steering committee.
Among the moguls

Two real estate moguls, William Rudin (23), Chairman, Association for a Better New York, and Rob Speyer (25), President, Co-CEO, Tishman Speyer and Chairperson, REBNY, are listed at least in part because of their industry group affiliations.

The first real estate mogul outright is Hudson Yards developer Stephen Ross (26), Chairman, Related Companies, who "worked hand-in-hand with [Deputy Mayor] Ms. [Alicia] Glen and [City Planning Chairman] Mr. [Carl] Weisbrod in coming up with an equation for below-market units in Related’s massive Hunter’s Point South development in Queens."

Below market but mostly middle-income, actually.

Then comes the Atlantic Yards developer:
37. Bruce Ratner, Founder, Forest City Ratner
The controversial stadium he erected in Brooklyn won’t host next year’s Democratic Party convention, but the Forest City Ratner founder remains a major player on the city’s political scene. One of Mr. de Blasio’s closest friends and fundraisers in the real estate community, with ties stretching back to the latter’s days in the City Council, Mr. Ratner recently saw the mayor install one of his company’s vice presidents on the Rent Guidelines Board—which controls price increases on the city’s roughly 1 million stabilized apartments.
There are lots of reasons to include Ratner, but the VP on the Rent Guidelines Board, I think, is fairly minor.

Just below top 50

Among the runners-up:
Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute
Ms. Lewis is a loud progressive with close ties to Mr. de Blasio—and she is unafraid to call him out when she feels he’s straying from the left wing that elected him.
Lewis of course is a partner with Forest City Ratner as signatory of the Community Benefits Agreement.

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