Saturday, March 26, 2016

A new Atlantic Yards CDC board member (and the departure of a CBA partner)

This is among multiple articles covering issues raised at the March 15 Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) meeting.

Several board members were absent from the 3/15/16 meeting of the AY CDC, the first meeting in five months, but it was a bit surprising to see a new face on the board.

Without any public announcement or explanation, attorney Daniel Kummer, former chairperson (and current member) of Brooklyn Community Board 6 appeared as a board member. Given the lack of public announcement, I'm assuming the other board members were informed ahead of time. Still, it was confusing to onlookers in the know.

After I inquired, I learned that Kummer was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to replace board member Sharon Daughtry, who, after attending the first of five board meetings last year, missed the next four.

Two days ago, I followed up by asking why Daughtry left, but haven't heard back yet, but it seems clear it didn't fit her schedule and/or wasn't a priority. The governor appoints nine of 14 board members, and most are governmental employees.

Daughtry runs the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA), which has long been funded by original project developer Forest City Ratner, and manages an arena tickets giveaway to nonprofit organization and participates in a developer/arena-funded foundation that supports local nonprofits.

Daughtry, daughter of DBNA chair Rev. Herbert Daughtry, was one of two board members who also represented Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) partners of Forest City. That struck me and others as a glaring conflict of interest (but apparently is not).

The other CBA partner is Bertha Lewis, formerly of ACORN and now head of the Black Institute. At AY CDC meetings, she's asked a few questions that might challenge the state/developer, though she has not raised criticisms of the not-always-affordable "affordable housing," which was the subject of ACORN's participation in the CBA.

The original press release, 2/6/15

Below is the original press release for the AY CDC, which I didn't see last year (and, obviously, was not sent to me). Board members are supposed to serve three-year terms.

Note that Kenneth Adams has departed, as he no longer heads Empire State Development, and has been replaced by Buffalo resident Howard Zemsky, for whom the AY CDC rules had to be changed to allow a non-NYC resident.

Interestingly enough, beyond the name Atlantic Yards Community Development, which was established in June 2014 before the project's name was changed by new owner Greenland Forest City Partners, the press release makes reference to "Atlantic Yards" rather than "Pacific Park."

EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT ANNOUNCES BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR ATLANTIC YARDS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
AYCDC Board Members Will Provide Input On Development, Housing, And Community Impact, As Well As Enhance Oversight And Monitoring Throughout Completion Of The Atlantic Yards Project

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the Board of Directors (Board) for the Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AYCDC) to provide input on development, housing, and community impact, as well as enhance oversight and monitoring, throughout the completion of the Atlantic Yards project. A new subsidiary of ESD, the AYCDC was created in conjunction with a comprehensive plan to accelerate the development of Atlantic Yards and fast track the timeline for the project’s delivery of affordable housing. The plan shortened the completion timeframe to build 2,250 affordable apartments by ten years from 2035 to 2025. The first meeting of the AYCDC Board Members occurred Friday, February 6.
The Board, which will govern the AYCDC and be responsible for the delivery of public commitments related to the project by making policy recommendations to ESD, will consist of fourteen total Members, nine of whom are appointed by the Governor, and five of whom are appointed respectively by the President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate, Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Mayor of New York City, Borough President of Brooklyn, and Speaker of the New York City Council. The fourteenth Board Member is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation will enable local elected officials and community members to provide key input throughout the duration of this project,” said Kenneth Adams, President, CEO & Commissioner of ESD and Chair of the AYCDC Board of Directors. “I look forward to the good work of the Board of Directors and to the meaningful and continued engagement of the community.”
All AYCDC Board Members are appointed to serve three year terms and must reside in New York City. The list of AYCDC Board Members and their biographies follow below.

Board Members Appointed by the Governor
Kenneth Adams (Chair) is President, CEO & Commissioner of ESD. Mr. Adams came to ESD from The Business Council of New York State, the State’s leading business association, where he served as President and CEO from 2006 to 2011. Prior to leading the Business Council, Mr. Adams was President of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District. He was the founding Executive Director of New York Cares.
Julene Beckford is Associate Counsel at Empire State Development. Previously, she served as Counsel for the Law Office of Gary M. Reign, Esq. Prior to serving as Counsel for the Law Office of Gary M. Reign, Esq., she served as Pro Bono Law Clerk for the New York State Bar Association.
Joe Chan is the Executive Vice President for Real Estate Development at Empire State Development. Previously, he was President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Prior to serving as President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, he was Senior Advisor to the New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding.
Rachel Gold is the Deputy Commissioner for Legislation, Policy, and Federal Affairs and Special Counsel at New York State Department of Labor. Previously, she was Assistant Attorney General for the New York State Attorney General. Prior to serving as Assistant Attorney General, she was an Account Executive for Yoswein New York.
Elizabeth Harris is the Assistant Secretary for Agriculture and Markets to the Governor. Previously, she was Director of Heart of Brooklyn. Prior to serving as Director of Heart of Brooklyn, she was Executive Vice President for UNC Partners, Inc.
Shawn Austin is the Chief Marketing Officer for Liberty Mutual’s Accident and Health group. Previously, he was Global Head for Group and Specialty, Accident and Health, at American International Group (AIG). Prior to serving as Global Head for Group and Specialty, Accident and Health, he was Senior Vice President for AIG @Work.
Sharon Daughtry is the Executive Director of the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance. Previously, she was Executive Director of Sister-to-Sister. Prior to serving as Executive Director of Sister-to-Sister, she was Associate Director of Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement Community Center.
Tamara McCaw is the Director of Government and Community Affairs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Previously, she was Community Affairs and Audience Development Manager at BAM. Prior to serving as Community Affairs and Audience Development Manager, she was Audience Development Manager at BAM.

Board Member Appointed by the President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate
The Reverend Monsignor Kieran E. Harrington is Vicar for Communications at the Diocese of Brooklyn. He also is President and Chairman of DeSales Media Group and serves as Rector of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights.

Board Member Appointed by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Linda Reardon is Vice President of the RBA Group. She began her career at the New York City Department of Transportation.

Board Member Appointed by the Mayor of New York City
Jaime Stein is a Visiting Professor of Urban Environmental Systems Management at Pratt University. Previously, she was an Environmental Policy Analyst for Sustainable South Bronx. Prior to serving as an Environmental Policy Analyst, she was the Coordinator of Environmental Education and Policy for the New York City Soil & Water Conservation District.

Board Member Appointed by the Borough President of Brooklyn
Bertha Lewis is the Founder and President of The Black Institute. Previously, she was Chief Executive Officer and Chief Organizer of ACORN. Prior to serving as the CEO of ACORN, she was the Executive Director of affiliate for ACORN.

Board Member Appointed by the Speaker of the New York City Council
Barika X. Williams is the Policy Director for Association for Neighborhood Housing and Development. Previously, she was Project Associate for NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. Prior to serving as Project Associate, she was Research Associate at the Urban Institute.
In addition to the Board Members, ESD today announced that Marion Phillips, III, will serve as President of the AYCDC. Tobi Jaiyesimi will serve as Director of the AYCDC.

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