The Forest City Ratner Cafe, at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, and Gilmartin's new role on WNYC board
I was reminded of that at Community Board 8 monthly general meeting on Thursday night 10/9/14, held at the Brooklyn Children's Museum.
The picture at right, indicating the Forest City Ratner Cafe, is a reminder of Forest City Ratner's widespread philanthropy in Brooklyn (often through its shadowy foundation), which is now joined by other philanthropic heavyweights like the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets.
It's always hard to tease out strategy from generosity. And corporate gifts do have tendency to quiet dissent and/or generate excess enthusiasm (see: BAM). Such enthusiasm in turn can enable tax breaks and other public support for Forest City, thus enabling more generosity. A virtuous cycle or a virtuous circle?
Gilmartin on WNYC
The news emerged on Twitter Thursday that Forest City Ratner CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin was named to the 35-member board of WNYC radio, a post with likely some fundraising role.
And it raised some eyebrows when Gilmartin's role was disclosed at the end of a somewhat skeptical WNYC article on the troubles with Forest City's B2 modular tower.
Indeed, Noticing New York blogger Michael D.D. White posted a protest on Facebook, urging people to protest Gilmartin's appointment.
In a Twitter exchanges with Raul Rothblatt, who'd expressed dismay about Gilmartin's role, I pointed out that it didn't appear to affect the WNYC coverage yesterday, but we should keep watch.
Gilmartin is a capable, charismatic person with a lot of power, and a lot of money. She's head of a company that is part of the Culture of Cheating, as I've described it.
She's also in the middle of an extremely contentious dispute with Skanska over the B2 tower and was described by an adversary as "less than pleasant, if not rude." In other words, she's a potential subject for future coverage.
If I worked in the WNYC news and talk operation, I'd want reassurances from the bosses that no board members should have influence in coverage and programming. (They likely do have a policy, but I haven't seen it, hence my suggestion below.) But it's awkward, nonetheless.