Payback or just the best deal? de Blasio rents campaign HQ in Brooklyn from campaign supporter Ratner
Democratic mayoral nominee de Blasio is paying developer Forest City Ratner--whose executives have raised campaign funds for him and co-hosted a fundraiser--$5,000 to rent his campaign headquarters in Brooklyn.
The location is 345 Jay Street in MetroTech, a space occupied by Sid's Hardware until early 2010.
(Since then, the raw space hasn't had a long-term tenant, which means it has not been easy to lease--a Sid's store manager said in 2010 that "the rents are too high, there’s no parking, and this dead scene isn’t a place to run a business." It has been used--in two if not all three cases donated--for a bone marrow drive in May 2013, the Brooklyn Folk Festival in May 2012 and a Guggenheim pop-up gallery in May 2011.)
MeetUp announcement at left, as "campaign headquarters."
I suspect there's a plausible explanation for the lease, that it was better-priced, better-located space than the alternatives, and it might well be. (I submitted questions, including the term of the lease, to a campaign rep earlier this morning.)
But it's also somewhat unseemly, a bit of you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours.
Note that de Blasio has been unwilling, for example, to criticize Forest City regarding Atlantic Yards--he reserves criticism for the "process" and repeats Forest City talking points.
So this business relationship suggests another sign of coziness between the candidate--sometimes "elastic and opportunistic" (to quote NY magazine's Chris Smith)--and the developer.
The lease is disclosed in de Blasio's campaign finance report: