Skip to main content

The Kolben chronicles: more likely it was her reports for the Brooklyn Paper, not the Daily News, that alarmed Ratner

So, if the scoop in last night's IFC Media Project report on Atlantic Yards was that Forest City Ratner executives--according to an unnamed source, Bruce Ratner himself--got Daily News reporter Deborah Kolben kicked off the Atlantic Yards beat, what exactly were her transgressions?

The answer: likely none committed while writing for the Daily News.

A review of Kolben's Daily News work shows exactly two articles, both co-bylines, concerning Atlantic Yards. A 6/24/05 article was headlined HOMES UP FOR GRABS Ruling ramps up anxiety in city. A 7/6/05 article was headlined A VISION SOARS IN B'KLYN. Yeas, nays over plan for Nets.

While the former article was--like much other initial coverage--somewhat alarmist about the effects of the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision, the latter was essentially balanced.

(Update: I'm told Kolben also contributed to the Daily News as a non-staff stringer, though those articles are not accessible via a database search. Here's one, and another.)

Was it the past work?

So, perhaps Forest City Ratner had gotten wind of tougher coverage in the works at the Daily News.

More likely, however, they were peeved by Kolben's record at the Brooklyn Paper, where she wrote skeptical articles like the 7/17/04 SILENT PARTNERS, about an attempt to find out who was buying the New Jersey Nets; the 7/3/04 RATNER’S MONEY PIT, a sympathetic account of a critical report on alleged tax benefits from Atlantic Yards; and the 6/26/04 Watchdog calls for arena ‘ULURP’, about the importance of putting the project through the city's land use review procedures.

Comments

  1. I've since found, through the Internet Archive, another article that surely antagonized the Ratner camp:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20061217135755/http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/303811p-260025c.html

    Ratner's generous to a fault
    And some wonder: Just buying support?
    BY DEBORAH KOLBEN
    DAILY NEWS WRITER
    Call him the Bill Gates of Brooklyn.
    As developer Bruce Ratner plows ahead with plans to build a controversial $2.5 billion arena and residential complex in Prospect Heights, he's also doling out checks to local groups.

    "That's what we are, a helping hand," Ratner said yesterday as he gave $50,000 to the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, which works to combat baby deaths in Fort Greene, the neighborhood with the highest infant mortality rate in the city.

    "I think it's a good thing, but I also note the difference between what they're doing and public relations; they're trying to get public support by any means necessary," said Clinton Miller, pastor of Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Fort Greene.

    "There's a difference between public relations and [Ratner] really wanting to have a sincere impact on the infant mortality rate," Miller said.

    Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said the developer gives money to many Brooklyn institutions, including the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the New York Aquarium in Coney Island and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

    "Forest City Ratner [Ratner's development company] believes that it has an obligation to support important community programs," DePlasco said. "Are they committed to even more programs because of the Atlantic Yards development? Fortunately, yes."

    Ngozi Moses, director of Brooklyn Perinatal Network, said she reached out to Ratner in the hopes that he would donate to her organization, which has lost federal funding.

    Ratner "benefits from our community and needs to give back," said Moses, who is not taking a stand on the arena project proposed for neighboring Prospect Heights.

    Ratner also recently footed the bill for a children's basketball camp run by former Knicks star Bernard King, who was a consultant for the project until he was arrested on spousal abuse charges.

    Last month, Ratner opened a $1 million account with Carver Federal Savings Bank, the nation's largest African- and Caribbean-American bank.

    The bank has a branch in Ratner's new Atlantic Terminal Mall. The mall abuts the Atlantic Yards site, where Ratner envisions building an arena that would house the NBA's New Jersey Nets, which he recently purchased and wants to move to Brooklyn.

    The proposed Atlantic Yards project includes 17 office and residential towers and would require the state to condemn nearby private residences. Ratner also would have to purchase 10 acres of Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned land.

    "I'm happy for Brooklyn Perinatal, but he certainly can do better," said City Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Fort Greene) of Ratner's $50,000 donation. "That's pocket change."

    Originally published on April 27, 2005

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming + FAQ (post-dated pinned post)

This graphic, posted in January 2018, is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. Note the unbuilt B1 and the proposed shift in bulk to the unbuilt Site 5.

The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change. The project is already well behind that tentative timetable.

How many people are expected?

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park has a projected 6,430 apartments housing 2.1 persons per unit (as per Chapter 4 of the 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement), which would mean 13,503 new residents, with 1,890 among them in low-income affordable rentals, and 2,835 in moderate- and middle-income affordable rentals.

That leaves 8,778 people in market-rate rentals and condos, though let's call it 8,358 after subtracting 420 who may live in 200 promised below-market condos. So that's 5,145 in below-market units, though many of them won't be so cheap.

As …

The passing of David Sheets, Dean Street renter, former Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality

David Sheets, longtime Dean Street renter, Freddy's bartender, eminent domain plaintiff, and singular personality, died 1/17/18 in HCA Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green, KY. He was 56.

There are obituary notices in the Bowling Green Daily News and the Wichita Eagle, which state:
He was born in Wichita, KS where he attended public Schools and Wichita State University. He lived for many years in Brooklyn, NY, and was employed as a legal assistant. David's hobby was cartography and had an avid interest in Mass Transit Systems of the world. David was predeceased by his father, Kenneth E. Sheets. He is survived by his mother, Wilma Smith, step-brother, Billy Ray Smith and his wife, Jane all of Bowling Green; step-sister, Ellen Smith Alexander and her husband, Jerry of Bella Vista, AR; several cousins and step-nieces and step-nephews also survive. Memorial Services will be on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 1:00 pm with visitation from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday at Johnson-Vaughn-Phe…

Some skepticism on Belmont hockey deal: lease value seems far below Aqueduct racino; unclear (but large?) cost for LIRR service

As I wrote for The Bridge 12/20/1, The Islanders Say Bye to Brooklyn, But Where Next?, the press conference announcing a new arena at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders was "long on pomp... but short on specifics."

Notably, a lease valued at $40 million "upfront to lease up to 43 acres over 49 years... seems like a good deal on rent for the state-controlled property." Also, the Long Island Rail Road will expand service to Belmont.

That indicates public support for an arena widely described as "privately financed," but how much? We don't know yet, but some more details--or at least questions--have emerged.

An Aqueduct comparable?

Well, we don't know what the other bid was, and there aren't exactly parcels that large offering direct comparables.

But consider: Genting New York LLC in September 2010 was granted a franchise to operate a video lottery terminal under a 30 year lease on 67 acres at Aqueduct Park (as noted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo).

As…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…