Friday, March 04, 2016

Elusive accountability: despite claimed consultants on site, neighbors must provide "oversight of the oversight"

"We feel [the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park site is] very well monitored," Empire State Development (ESD) project manager Sam Filler said at the Community Update meeting last month, listing seven full-time consultants/staffers purportedly on-site full time, with another there part of the week.

The record then suggested accountability was elusive, and the most recent flurry of Instagram posts and YouTube videos from yesterday (directly below and further below) confirms that.

2014 warnings

It recalled for me an exchange in June 2014, upon the announcement of a settlement that produced a new 2025 timetable for the project affordable housing, the new, advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC) and a general but distinctly incomplete air of agreement.

At that ESD board meeting, members of the Dean Street Block Association explained why they had left the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, a signatory of the settlement, because they felt the oversight would be insufficient.

"The history of Atlantic Yards is that the devil is in the details," declared Peter Krashes. "What is delivered is rarely more than what is spelled out in written agreements and often is less.” He noted that "neighbor after neighbor has already detailed the noncompliance with environmental commitments," but they still have oversight to themselves.

He read a statement by a neighbor, Wayne Bailey, who lamented that the agreement had specific penalties regarding delays and affordable housing but not for violations of construction protocols. he cited violations of hours of construction just in the past 12 hours.

Kenneth Adams, the ESD's CEO, pledged to do better and quipped, with both friendliness and a bit of condescension, "Peter, I expect you to provide oversight of the oversight.” 

Adams, a Brooklynite relatively familiar with Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, has departed, succeeded by a Buffalo developer. Krashes and Bailey, as shown below, continue to provide oversight of the oversight, with no government or developer hotline for real-time accountability. And the lack of penalties for illegal parking, blocking traffic, and more continue.


  1. My comments in entirety:

    I have been characterized as “reasonable” by the ESD and FCRC; I hope that the ESD allows Peter to read my statement on my behalf, because I AM NOT VERY REASONABLE at the moment or have been since I learned about the signed settlement in the middle of the night. I will be HIGHLY disappointed and more upset if the ESD prevents Peter from reading my statement for me! THIS IS NOT MAKING PEACE with the residents!

    Peter, please read this for me if you can. I JUST CAN’T attend I am so upset!

    I am truly at a loss that any agreement has been negotiated and signed in secret without the MOST IMPACTED residents getting any notice of the LACK of any ENFORCEMENT mechanism, remedies or fines for the continual violations from construction or environmental impacts (none cited from news articles released in the middle of the night) but has “grave specific monetary penalties” for not delivering affordable housing! The groups that negotiated and signed the agreement did so with the full knowledge that an enforcement element was required to any agreement signed on the impacted residents behalf, it matters less to them, they don’t live with construction or 24/7 Barclays arena operations! AGAIN demonstrated last night at 1am during an arena event and at 6 in the morning, FCRC contractors appear to have violated the hours of operation code!

    While an entity is formed it is just another “advisory” board!

    N Wayne BAILEY

    1. These were comments at the June 2014 meeting, first directed to Derek Lynch, then of ESDC, who's now gone.