Barclay’s Center builder Forest City Ratner has informed LandlordsNY, an organization comprising property owners and managers, that it can no longer host its property management symposium at the Brooklyn stadium. The reason? Tenant related groups planned to stage a protest against the symposium’s keynote speaker Bruce Ratner, the chairman of Forest City.Project defenders might say that the affordable housing is coming, eventually, with the first tower under construction, and that there's lots of luxury housing being built without any subsidized units.
LandlordsNY informed those scheduled to speak at the event, including Massey Knakal Realty Services broker James Nelson and The Real Deal’s publisher Amir Korangy, of the cancellation of the symposium in an email earlier this week, just six days before the February 11 conference.
“Barclays Center has called to let us know they can no longer host our event due to threats by one or two tenant related groups protesting Mr. Ratner, whom was slated to be our keynote speaker,” said J’Nell Simmons, executive director of LandlordsNY, in the note. “They are concerned of the negative press it will bring them and Mr. Ratner, and thus feel they can no longer host the property management symposium.”
Tenant groups including the Fifth Avenue Committee, Make the Road and Met Council on Housing were slated to protest outside the Barclay’s Center on the day of the event, Fifth Avenue Committee director of organizing and advocacy Jackie Del Valle told The Real Deal.
The protesters’ gripe: They disputed the idea that Ratner could be considered a “role model for landlords,” sources said, and wanted to draw attention to the lack of affordable housing built in accordance with Ratner’s mammoth Altantic Yards development in Prospect Heights.
...“The building of [Atlantic Yards] has caused extreme displacement and rising rents in the neighborhoods around it,” Del Valle said. “There’s been a ton of public money given to this but no government oversight and the promised affordable housing has not been built.”
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…