Same as it ever was (til January): BP Adams raising $ for linked nonprofit from businesses including Forest City
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is racing the clock to rack in big-buck donations for a controversial nonprofit he created to advance pet projects — all before a new city law takes effect in January that will dramatically limit such contributions.
Roughly a year after federal and state prosecutors helped shame Mayor de Blasio into shuttering his Campaign for One New York, which aggressively raised funds from people doing business with the city, Adams’ One Brooklyn Fund — which has also been the subject of multiple investigations — is set to host its first major fundraiser.
The deep-pocketed supporters invited to the Sept. 27 “inaugural gala” at the Brooklyn Museum include companies who have received work or have other types of business relationships with the city, according to people on the guest list.He got the requisite quote from a watchdog, Dick Dadey, of the Citizens Union, calling it a " last-gasp effort by Eric Adams to rake in the dough before the new law goes into effect." Dadey last year called it "a vehicle for self-promotion," given the support for concerts and other events that get Adams's name out.
During Adams's tenure, Calder reports, One Brooklyn reports up to $1.34 million in donations, plus $349,700 from the City Council, supporting City Council funding, records show. According to its mission statement:
One Brooklyn Fund, Inc. promotes collaboration and engagement among Brooklyn’s diverse communities through events, programs, and services. It connects those in need with those who have the resources, and provides for a healthy and secure future for all Brooklyn residents. One Brooklyn Fund, Inc. stimulates cultures, encourages civic pride, and enhances the lives of all Brooklynites.Calder last year noted some questionable donors.
About the gala
According to the web site, as shown in the screen shot below, sponsors include the Barclays Center, Delta Airlines, Forest City Ratner (actually Forest City New York), Investors Bank, Pfizer, Resorts World, Two Trees, and V.I.M. Note that Forest City is no longer affiliated with the arena, which is operated by Mikhail Prokhorov's Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment.
Keeping business and politics from mixing?
At the bottom of the invite, stated in smaller type:
In accordance with COIB [Conflicts of Interest Board] guidance, the office of the Brooklyn Borough President does not accept donations from individuals or organizations with business or pending business before it. Your support will not affect any future business dealings or the disposition of other matters between your organization and the office of the Brooklyn Borough President."Their support won't affect any business dealings? Well, that's always questionable, especially when the relationship has long been friendly. By the same token, it's hard to think that the donors don't feel pressure to contribute, just as with Adams's predecessor, Marty Markowitz.
Adams, at least since his rise to BP, has been firmly supportive of Forest City, in 2013 lauding Bruce Ratner's "great, really cutting-edge" modular housing, and in 2014 joining a statement supporting Forest City in its dispute with former modular partner Skanska.
The most recent Form 990 to the Internal Revenue Service, from 2015, as posted on the One Brooklyn web site, indicates major donors including:
- NYC & Company, the city's tourism arm
- the Walentas Foundation (connected to developer Two Trees)
- Investors Bank
- AirBnB (which Adams supports, as Calder wrote)
- Plaza Motors
- and Frank Brunckhorst Co. (aka Boar's Head).
There are no biographical notes about the board members of One Brooklyn, so I've tried to provide some background:
- Peter Aschkenasy, Chairman, restaurateur and hospitality pro (also spouse of Pamela Brier, who runs Maimonides Hospital)
- Peter B. Schubert, Vice President, a Partner and Managing Director of Commercial Leasing at real estate agent TerraCRG.
- Lisa White, Treasurer, bio unclear
- Kelly McGarrity, New York metro community captain for Target
- Ethan Geto, principal in the public affairs firm Geto & de Milly, which also contributed the web site for One Brooklyn pro bono
- Winnie Greco, the BP office's longstanding liaison to the Chinese community (who has a curious record, I wrote three years ago)
- David Lombino, Director of Special Projects at Two Trees Management
- Tamia Santana, founder of the Brooklyn Dance Festival.
- Carlo Scissura, former Chief of Staff to the Borough President, CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, now NYC Building Congress President and CEO
- Edolphus Towns, retired Congressman
Everyone who runs the One Brooklyn Fund also works in the Borough President's Office:
- Lori H. Luis, PMP, Executive Director (also Executive Director, Strategic Alliances and Marketing in the BP's Office)
- Glenda Silva, Development Director (also working on Strategic Alliances and Marketing in the BP's Office)
- Angello Bernard, Business Analyst (also working on Strategic Alliances and Marketing in the BP's Office)
- Michael DeFranco, Business Associate (also working on Strategic Alliances and Marketing in the BP's Office)
- Andrew Gounardes, Esq., Counsel (BP's Counsel)