RATNER MAKES THE CUT — “McCray picks developers, donors for Mayor’s Fund board,” by Capital’s Sally Goldenberg: “A mix of real estate executives, union representatives and celebrities comprise the new board of advisors to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, according to a full roster provided by a spokeswoman… Among the 58 board members are several of the city's high-profile real estate developers, including Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner, Bill Rudin of Rudin Management, and Jerry Speyer and Rob Speyer, both of Tishman Speyer.” http://bit.ly/TKgb5j (subscription required)
—That’s interesting because when Mayor Bill de Blasio was a Park Slope councilman, he was a staunch supporter of Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. Ratner, in turn, raised a good deal of money on de Blasio’s behalf. Chirlane McCray, de Blasio’s wife, now heads the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which raises money from private citizens for public ends and, not incidentally, helps private citizens curry favor with elected ones. Last week, the mayor hailed a deal that his administration helped negotiate that expedites some of the project’s long-delayed “affordable housing” component, while making most of that housing available only to families earning at least $100,000 a year.
In Mr. Bloomberg’s eight years in office, the Mayor’s Fund has raised more than $150 million–for everything from portrait conservation, to eye care for underprivileged kids, to Katrina and Haitian relief efforts. But it’s tough to deny the fact that a substantial part of that money comes from people who do business, in one way or another, with the city. “It’s a really great arrangement for people making the donations, because they get to please an influential elected official and they get a tax deduction,” said Susan Lerner of Common Cause NY. “There is an increasing tendency-which is pushed very vigorously by this administration-to completely blur the lines between public and private, between profit and charity,” Ms. Lerner said.As I wrote last year, when the B&B Carousell reopened, there was no mention of Ratner's role.
...Bruce Ratner, one of the board members, gave liberally–a fact occasionally noted by the press, since his controversial Atlantic Yards project was, at the same time, winding its way through the city bureaucracy. In one December 2005 flurry, three Ratner-related entities-Forest City Beekman Associates LLC; Forest City East River Associates; and Forest City Ratner LLC-together gave between $450,000 and $1 million to restore a Coney Island carousel.