Skip to main content

Daily News profile of Prokhorov makes no attempt to clarify the Zimbabwe issue, lets Russian hoopster tell us everyone will like owner of Nets

A long profile of new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in the Sports section of the New York Daily News, headlined New Jersey Nets' new billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov is about to come in from the cold, makes the New York Times's shallow investigation look like a major effort.

Some excerpts:
Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey has asked the Treasury Department to scrutinize Prokhorov's investment empire for ties to Zimbabwe's notorious dictator Robert Mugabe, whose regime is subject to strict U.S. sanctions.

"I really encourage foreign investment in the United States of America," says Rep. Pascrell, "but I believe we have an obligation and responsibility to very carefully investigate the people and companies involved, and I believe we have not done that in this particular case."

Pascrell admits he's disappointed to see the Nets leaving home state New Jersey (after spending the coming two seasons in Newark). He is outraged by what he calls the lack of transparency in the background check the NBA says it conducted this spring.

...In 2008, Prokhorov bought half of Renaissance Capital, an investment bank with numerous interests in the former Soviet states and Africa. Stern vigorously disputes Rep. Pascrell's claims that the bank's business with Zimbabwe violates trade law.

"There have been allegations, but there have been no facts," says Stern. "We're satisfied on the issues that were raised."

...In another economic climate, this background would not fly with the NBA Board of Governors, says Dave Zirin, the author of the forthcoming book "Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love."

"There are numerous reports on the public record that Mikhail Prokhorov made a great deal of money in ways that might raise an eyebrow or two," says Zirin. "It's not a question of whether he was vetted, but of how much Stern was willing to overlook."

* * *

David Stern says that the firm the NBA hired to investigate Prokhorov's business background could find no reason why he shouldn't be an owner. He wouldn't name the firm because he worries that identifying it might compromise the firm's ability to conduct future investigations. Stern did say it was not a law firm, and that the league has used the group's services in the past.

"We retained a firm that has important investigative assets and contacts on a global basis," says Stern. "We made additional discrete inquiries of various agencies and departments that are not at liberty to talk to us on the record. We made a complete round of inquiries."
Well, it's a little more complicated, isn't it? Is Renaissance Capital's only presence in Zimbabwe stock research, as a spokesman for the firm, owned in significant part by Prokhorov, told the Times?

The Times whiffed, but the Zimbabwe government newspaper stated that Renaissance Capital was among several companies that "have confirmed their participation" in an investment summit in February.

Trust Andrei?

The conclusion to the article comes from Russian NBA star Andrei Kirilenko, who plays for the Utah Jazz:
"He's not just going to be good for the Russian community," says Kirilenko, who peruses the bookstores of the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach when he visits New York, "everyone in the area is going to like him."

Comments

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 …

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…

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

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…