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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

Former ESDC/DCP general counsel Laremont about to join law firm Fried Frank, which works on big projects (including Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park)

It seems like the law firm Fried Frank--which represented developer Forest City Ratner on all aspects of Atlantic Yards, including bond financing, the override of zoning, and litigation--is the destination of choice for lawyers making the jump from New York City's Department of City Planning.

Along with Melanie Meyers, who joined the firm in 2003 after serving as DCP's general counsel, and David Karnovsky, who joined in 2014 after serving in the same post, former general counsel and then acting director Anita Laremont has signed on, according to The Real Deal, and will start in September.

Note: Meyers, Karnovsky, and Jonathan Mechanic were ranked #67 in City & State's 2022 Real Estate Power 100, given the firm's role in numberous big projects.

Past service

Laremont previously spent 16 years as general counsel at Empire State Development Corporation (now simply Empire State Development, or ESD), famously defending Atlantic Yards to the hilt.

Remember, she claimed in January 2010 that consultant AKRF does a study of neighborhood conditions and "our board finds blight"--which was belied by the actual contract.

When she joined DCP in 2014, Laremont was considered one of the state's leading "double-dippers," earning a $185,000 salary, while drawing a $114,166 pension for her work at ESDC work. (Today it's $115,318.)

Lobbying restrictions, but...

From the Real Deal:
Laremont is subject to regulations that prevent ex-chairs from working with their former agency for a two-year period after leaving their jobs. She also won’t be permitted to lobby on any matter she worked on while at City Planning.
That doesn't keep her from working on Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, does it? 

Fried Frank has worked for years on the project as a lobbyist/consultant, though in recent years, it has merely been retained, with little payment. It was paid $2,375.31 in 2019 for lobbying work at the Department of City Planning regarding 617 Pacific Street (the P.C. Richard parcel in Site 5).

Note: the firm Kasirer does more traditional lobbying, and billed $48,000 in 2019, lobbying numerous city agencies and elected officials.

Fried Frank was retained to lobby in 2020 regarding that Pacific Street address. However, in 2021 (albeit as of November) and in 2022, its retainer was extended to lobby on issues related to both Site 5 and development over the railyard, Blocks 1120 and 1121.

Since 2019, it has not billed its client. But stay tuned to see if the firm's work ramps up, and if Laremont joins in.

Note: the employees listed as lobbyists/lawyers are Tal Golomb; Aaron Kahen; Penny King; Elizabeth Lee; and Wesley O'Brien.

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