New York Times Tags Bruce Ratner, Noam Bramson's Favorite Developer, as "Intriguing Tie" in Federal Corruption Cases

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New York Times Tags Bruce Ratner, Noam Bramson's Favorite Developer, as "Intriguing Tie" in Federal Corruption Cases

January 19, 2012 - 17:48

Bruce ratnerAt a recent New Rochelle City Council meeting, newly-seated Council Member Ivar Hayden caused New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson to visibly squirm in his seat by mentioning a recent New York Times article during a discussion of Forest City/Ratner's MOU for Echo Bay. For those who missed it, Times reporter Michael Powell documents the many crooked twists and turns by which various Forest City/Ratner projects have been advanced by corrupt politicians and the convictions obtained by the U.S. Attorney. Yonkers is up next.

A Developer Between Legal Clouds

Last week, the lobbyist Richard Lipsky stood in a courtroom to acknowledge bribe-making. His partner in crime, Carl Kruger, the former state senator and a Brooklyn Democrat, had taken his tear-soaked turn two weeks earlier. They face years in prison.

A few weeks from now, in the same courthouse, a Democratic Yonkers councilwoman and her cousin, the city’s Republican Party chairman, are expected to stand trial. They are accused of bribery, extortion and tax evasion.

The Brooklyn and Yonkers cases are not simply about wayward politicians. The cases share an intriguing tie to the developer Bruce Ratner, who in project after project deploys lobbyists and politicians to change zoning ordinances and chase down rich packets of subsidies.

The article shows on Ratner used his political connections to make deals based on massive special public events which turned his "public-private partnerships" into money losers for local municipalities but big winners for him and his friends.

Powell says the Federal probes into Ratner's business associates and political contacts give the public a glimpse into "politics served raw." He highlights tapes entered as evidenced by Federal prosecutors in which Forest City/Ratner Vice President Bruce Bender ,"a stalwart of the Democratic Party’s powerful Thomas Jefferson Club in south Brooklyn", makes a deal with a Carl Kruger, a former state senator fro, Brooklyn:

In December 2010, Mr. Bender, who faces no allegations of wrongdoing, sought $9 million to pay for a bridge at the Atlantic Yards development. Mr. Kruger turned him down.

But he promised to help Mr. Bender — what are friends for? Tapes show Mr. Kruger and an aide to Mr. Sampson agreed to give Mr. Bender, who is not elected, “$4 million for him to allocate as he saw fit.” (Mr. Bender directed the money to the Prospect Park Alliance, where his wife serves on the board, to help pay for a new skating rink.)

As Mr. Kruger said to Mr. Bender: “Take it and enjoy it.”

There are 9 Comments

Not the first time Ratner has (dis)graced this site. I have mentioned him in the context of Brooklyn and Yonkers. Others have I believe as well. There is more.

But it doesn't hurt to give him a MOU although it would hurt to extend it or give him any slack. Good test for the new development people.

Ivar, well done. Especially liked your verbal comment upon what I perceived to be reluctant agreement to an extension.

Al Tarantino I believe mentioned a better promotional look at the waterfront. That probably would make sense given the marketability of the watersite, potential complementary of Davids Island in the future and perhaps, at long last, a better economy.

The first proposal by Forest City seemed to meet few objectives other than theirs. Perhaps someone might remember what Stromer said when questioned about what revenue it might generate. wasn't very complimentary as I recall.

Common sense is a scarce commodity at City Hall but here it suggests tabling this project and the best way is to throw it back in the arena for a new RFP. The Council Meetings continue to drone on about subjects already covered; time for a meaningful swing toward realistically developing downtown New Rochelle, decentrailzing 515 North by moving departments and a police presence to Main Street and understanding the relationship between a thriving City and a school district.

Cuomo looks predatory at the moment and the time has come to support this temporary phase of his make-up by being realistic about how we manage our fiscal affairs, manage or support our school district and otherwise get our house in order.

Start by sinking the Napersink!

It is time we look for new ideas for the Echo Bay project. NYU has a Master of Urban Planning program, Columbia has Urban Planning courses and Cornell University has City & Regional Planning courses. I am sure any of these university would welcome an opportunity to have the chance to present a plan for that site. By before this can ever be accomplished, the city has to have a PLAN. I only wish the powers that be start thinking outside the box or take their heads out of the sand.

They should start by allocating money every year to pay to move the city yard. It makes no sense to move or renovate your city yard if you're broke and have saved NOTHING to put towards it or pay for it outright. Bonding and borrowing is not the way to go. If NR doesn't have the money, then nothing should be done.

What family would plan to move to a bigger house when they're struggling to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance & other bills at their current house?

The city yard would not be falling apart if the city took care of there property like everything else this city owns is falling apart the church division garage,train station,ward acres,40 pelham road,the marina,hudson park bath house,the city garbage trucks,the police cars,the maple avenue lot the list goes on and on.This guy is just another piece of the puzzle.It's amazing that the att. general is not having an investigation into this city.

Wonder how that went. Chuck Strome and Noam bringing him out to the New Rochelle City Hall Wood Shed for a talk about team membership ect.
Sooner of later the stain of coruption will surface upon those we all know to be dirty.
Which smells more the low tide of Echo Bay or the relationship between Democrats and Developers in New Rochelle?

The typical Bramson BS unveiled itself at the last council meeting. The current city yard, according to him, is in such disrepair that moving it is to Beechwood Avenue is the most cost effective solution. Bull. It is so he can push through GreeNR and the development of the Forest City project.

The proposed relocation of the city yard has drawn numerous complaints from Beechwood residents and city DPW workers. Issues of safety and the further deterioration of the area due to more trucks were dismissed. All that matters to Bramson is Echo Bay. Screw everyone else.

Now tell us, how many 80 foot tractor-trailers will have to come down Beechwood Avenue to deliver fuel to the site and also to be used to take the garbage from the the new transfer station? How many large tractor-trailers will be coming in to transfer leaves to other locations and to deliver rock salt? Guess what folks: there is only one way to get onto Beechwood Avenue and that is off Nain Street. Then to get out, these large tractor-trailers will have to negotiate a very steep hill and make a very wide right turn onto Main Street from Beechwood Avenue to get out. This is an exremely dangerous move as the trailers must move all the way to left side of Beechwood Avenue to
make the right turn. I have done it, and it is not easy. Now residents will have to deal with it regularily so garbage can be transferred from the new city yard. It will probably be done a night and cause even more disturbance for residents.
This new city yard is an accident waiting to happen.

That means nothing to Bramson. Get Echo Bay developed and take credit for GreeNR. That's what it is all about. The man is a lunatic.

The current Forest City Ratner downsized project is worse than the original. They are currently proposing 200+ units of housing with minimal retail. They propose this on the current 6 acre city-yard site. They claim to phase the rest of the project out but no future phases are guaranteed. So, if approved, New Rochelle will have 200+ units of housing on 6 acres in the middle of a 26 acre redevelopment site. Is this smart development? Is this part of a master plan? Forest City wants the 6 acre city-yard site for NOTHING and the city must pay to move and build a new city-yard on Beechwood Avenue. Once again the taxpayers of New Rochelle will foot the bill for wealthy developers to profit(corporate welfare).

Adding insult to injury, the city has been unable to negotiate an easment with New York State for land under I-95 so they are now proposing to purchase "additional parcels" to attain the necessary mass. This will increase the cost to relocate the city-yard by an aditional $1.5 MILLION again at taxpayer expense. This reveals the ineptness of our city administration(s). The previous council had a 4-3 democratic majority and the current council has a 5-2 super majority democrats and they can't get lesilation proposed and passed from our all democratic state delegation. It's high time to cut Forest City loose and send out a new RFP to see what other developers envison and widen the possibilities of opening our waterfront.

If Richard St Paul defends a criminal, the St Paul is a criminal.

If Ratner is corrupt and Bramson associates with him, then Bramson must be corrupt.