Thursday, August 25, 2016

In Queens, another developer uses weasel words like "our intention"

One of the lessons from the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park saga is that weasel words like "intend" or "aim" leave those using them a lot of leeway not to fulfill what some hear as promises.

Remember how, when asked in July 2009 if Forest City Ratner expected to ask for more subsidies, executive MaryAnne Gilmartin responded, “Forest City does not expect to ask for more subsidy”?
The Queens Courier yesterday reported, Some say 5Pointz developer broke promise to use all union labor for Long Island City project
Several hundred union workers joined Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) President Gary LaBarbera and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in Long Island City on Tuesday to rally against developer G&M Realty, which they say broke a promise to use all union labor for an upcoming project.
G&M Realty will turn the former 5Pointz graffiti mecca at 45-46 Davis St. into two residential buildings. According to Van Bramer, owner Jerry Wolkoff pledged to use all union labor when building the towers....
But he didn't. He just left an impression that he would:
In a letter signed by Wolkoff, he wrote, “it is our intention to engage contractors which employ individuals represented by labor unions that are affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York for construction … as well as members of 32BJ operating the building.”
He also wrote that the construction will create 800 “good paying construction jobs” and 200 full-time jobs on site.
In a phone interview, Wolkoff said that he didn’t lie and that he still intends to use some union labor, including 32BJ if the contract is “reasonable.”
The lesson: get it in writing, ironclad.

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