NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In a stunning revelation, it has been discovered that the Forest City Representative that made a Freudian slip during the Echo Bay FEIS hearing gave a large personal donation to Noam Bramson's County Executive Campaign. This information was found on the NY State Campaign Financial Disclosures Contributions Search Page
Readers will remember that Andrew Tung a Partner of Divney Tung Schwalbe, the engineering and design firm which produced the DEIS & FEIS on behalf of Forest City Residential, made the following slip up eliciting guffaws from a full auditorium where opponents of the plan outnumbered supporters by a 10:1 ratio.
What then appeared to be just a "slip of the Tung" has turned out to be a subconscious public admission of unethical donations made to the Bramson Campaign. Tung made a Donation of $1,250.00 this January to Friends of Noam Bramson.
At the East End Association meeting on June 4th, one New Rochelle resident asked Mayor Bramson if he has taken any campaign donations from Forest City since 2007. Mayor Bramson denied that he had received donations from anyone in Forest City. Mayor Bramson then encouraged the residents in attendance to check the public records. Upon checking the record the folks from Citizens for a Better New Rochelle Discovered that Bramson had indeed taken $5,000.00 from members of the Ratner Family which are the Principals of Forest City.
This most recent revelation indicates that the Mayor is not being honest with New Rochelle residents about his transactions with individuals connected to Forest City. This raises huge ethical red flags on the entire Echo Bay project.
Forest City is no stranger to unethical business practices. They were the subjects of a recent two year long investigative exposé released by Cause of Action, a non-profit, nonpartisan government accountability organization that fights to protect economic opportunity when federal regulations, spending and cronyism threaten it.
A quote from the executive summary of the report. states the following:
"The FCE business model is dependent upon political profiteering: relying on public money and government influence to reap millions in profit. Using highly paid lobbyists, political connections, campaign contributions, and strategic hiring of government officials, FCE obtains lavish public subsidies, tax-exempt financing and the seizure of private land from eminent domain condemnations."
It goes on to say:
"Between 2002 and 2012, FCE, its subsidiaries, and its employees spent $23 million on campaign contributions and lobbying at the federal, state, and local level. FCE even went so far as to coordinate donations among employees in its project locations: $15.4 million of the $23 million in contributions were made by multiple employees of FCE on the same day. During that same time frame, FCE and its subsidiaries received or signed agreements for fifty-two direct and indirect government subsidies or financial benefits with a total value of at least $2.6 billion. The subsidies amounted to 23% of FCE’s $11.4 billion revenue during that time period."
The July 23rd FEIS public hearing was the same hearing in which Mayor Bramson made his now infamous "[Democracy] its not about counting heads" statement after listening to almost 4 hours of citizen opposition.
Mayor Bramson can no longer deny the glaring conflict of interest of receiving large campaign donations from individuals within Forest City while he has been their most ardent cheerleader, forcing their project and its costs on New Rochelle residents who by an overwhelmingly majority oppose it.