One of the headlines: “Lhota Says Developers Have ‘Bought’ de Blasio’s Silence on Atlantic Yards” — Another: “De Blasio ‘ignoring’ affordable-housing delays because pal is in charge” — Still another: “Joe Lhota slams Bill de Blasio over being quiet on affordable housing in Atlantic Yards”
Isn’t it somewhat hypocritical that one of Lhota’s biggest supporters, Marty Golden, was similarly “Bought” by Forest City Ratner, the developer of the Atlantic Yards ? — AND the Bill of Sale for Golden obviously was for more than “Silence” about the whole Atlantic Yards project
Earlier today the New York Post reported that, “Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio has been mum on critical delays in affordable housing at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, because the project is run by a pal who helped fund his campaign, critics charged Monday. *** The controversial $4.9 billion project — which includes the completed Barclays Center — is run by Forest City Ratner, whose owner, Bruce Ratner, co-chaired a 50th-birthday fund-raiser for de?Blasio in 2011. *** Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota said de Blasio has been MIA on the housing delays overseen by his pal’s firm.... (See “De Blasio ‘ignoring’ affordable-housing delays because pal is in charge” by Yoav Gonen & Beth DeFalco, 10/29/13, NY Post [http://nypost.com/2013/10/29/de-blasio-ignoring-affordable-housing-delays-because-his-pal-is-in-charge/]). As you will see below, at least one informed critic pretty much thought that the NY Post was a day late and a pound short.
As far as the day late part, yesterday it had been specifically reported that GOP and Conservative Party mayoral candidate, Joseph Lhota, had gone down to the Barclay Center to lash out at his Democrat opponent Bill de Blasio for not pressing the developer of the Atlantic Yards project for affordable housing (See “Lhota Says Developers Have ‘Bought’ de Blasio’s Silence on Atlantic Yards” by Ross Barkan, 10/28/13, NY Observer/ Politicker [http://politicker.com/2013/10/lhota-says-developers-have-bought-de-blasios-silence-on-atlantic-yards/]). According to the report on the Politicker blog, Lhota said , “The people who built the Barclay’s Center and promised to build all of the affordable housing have given contributions to [de Blasio] over and over again.” That story was picked up yesterday by various other papers, blog sites and news services (See “Lhota rips de Blasio over NYC's Atlantic Yards” by Jonathan Lemire, 10/28/13, Ct Post/ AP [http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Lhota-rips-de-Blasio-over-NYC-s-Atlantic-Yards-4933056.php]).
It didn’t take long for the very critical watchdog blog, “Atlantic Yards Report” to hammer the coverage of the story that had appeared on the AP feed, in the Daily News and in the NY Post – and there was a weak swipe about the non-coverage of the story by the Times (See “Lhota's charges against de Blasio on Atlantic Yards generate (vague) pledge from Democrat; Republican has own accountability issue regarding MSG” by Norman Oder, 10/29/13, Atlantic Yards Report [http://atlanticyardsreport.blogspot.com/2013/10/lhotas-charges-against-de-blasio-on.html]). According to Mr. Oder, “Interestingly enough, the toughest article came from the New York Daily News, which (via other reporters) is generally generous toward Forest City Ratner.”
In his Daily News article, Greg Smith noted the following: “As a City Council member from Brooklyn and then as the city’s Public Advocate, de Blasio bucked neighborhood opposition and supported the controversial project. *** Ratner has received tax breaks and loans worth more than $760 million to build the project, which is supposed to include the 2,250 units of affordable housing. But nearly eight years after the project was approved, the first 181 affordable housing units won’t break ground until next year. And there is no concrete timetable for the other units.
Ratner and his associates at Forest City Ratner Companies have raised more than $73,000 for de Blasio’s campaign, records show. *** Ratner’s support included co-hosting a bash for de Blasio’s 50th birthday at the swanky Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Suggested donations started at $500, and fund-raiser co-chairs — including Ratner — were obligated to raise at least $10,000.”
(See “Joe Lhota slams Bill de Blasio over being quiet on affordable housing in Atlantic Yards” by Greg Smith, 10/28/13, Daily News [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election/lhota-de-blasio-bought-atlantic-yards-developer-article-1.1499706]).
What Oder, Smith, Barkan, Lamire, Gonen and DeFalco, and apparently even Joe Lhota himself, obviously missed was that Lhota’s biggest supporter in Brooklyn, State Senator Martin Golden, is completely locked into Bruce Ratner and the Forest City Ratner project to develop the Atlantic and Vanderbilt Avenue Yards adjacent to the Long Island Railroad Depot near the intersection of Atlantic, Flatbush, 4th and Flatbush Avenues. Several of those reporters, especially Mr. Oder, have reported on the Golden connection several times themselves. Over the last few years both Golden and his adversaries have made a very big deal about Golden’s support of the mammoth project ( Remember Golden shouting, “Jobs, baby, jobs....” at the “Acorn” rally ? )
Several questions immediately suggest themselves – Did Lhota really not know about the Golden connection to Ratner and the Atlantic Yards project ? If Lhota did know about the Golden connection, why did he think it wasn’t going to come up and boomerang on his own campaign – doesn’t the Golden-Ratner connection make the Lhota Atlantic Yards attack on deBlasio look at least a little hypocritical ? Did Marty Golden or his staff know that Lhota was going to do his PR stunt at the Barclay Center – after all it was a Brooklyn event, and wouldn’t Golden’s Chief of Staff, Jerry Kassar, know about it in his capacity as Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman ?