Monday, August 17, 2020

Into Oblivion

We will always remember Claire Shulman's outright refusal to help Willets Point taxpayers to obtain basic municipal services that are available to every other City neighborhood. And, we'll remember her brazen illegal lobbying scheme, persuading the City Council to destroy our industrial business community and take all of our private property. We are proud of exposing her scheme, and of successfully demanding an Attorney General investigation that ultimately "validates years of complaints from Willets Point business owners [that] the Flushing Willets Point Corona LDC and specifically, its president, Claire Shulman, curried favor for a plan to take properties through eminent domain."

Thursday, August 6, 2020

J-Rod, It Won’t Be a Cakewalk

So the Wilpons want out of their New York Mets baseball team ownership.

It’s been reported that potential Mets purchasers include former Yankees player Alex Rodriguez and entertainer Jennifer Lopez, who are also “researching how to develop the ballpark and the area around it,” which includes Willets Point.

Now also getting into the act is Las Vegas Sands Corp., which is contacting potential Mets purchasers to discuss “a new casino [Sands] wants to build near Citi Field,” according to its President and COO, Rob Goldstein.

The Wilpons already tried to site a casino just west of Citi Field stadium, proposing it to the Bloomberg administration in 2011 in tandem with developing a third of Willets Point land, located east of Citi Field across 126th Street. Faced with opposition, in 2012 the Wilpons changed from proposing a casino outright, to instead proposing a vague “entertainment and retail center”. Whatever they called it, it would have been built on public parkland west of Citi Field – which is illegal, because the state legislature has not approved alienating that land for commercial use. Such were the 2015 and 2017 rulings of New York courts, which enjoined the project.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. acknowledges that they “cannot really do anything more until the Government approves gaming” on the site. But given the tremendous financial windfall that is at stake, we presume that interested developers will aggressively lobby state elected officials for the necessary approvals, or are doing so already.

Meanwhile, even though the Wilpons’ 2012 plans for one third of Willets Point land have fallen through, and even though they have not presented any new plan for that area that has been approved by the City in the three long years since the final Court of Appeals ruling enjoined their previous project, Mayor Bill de Blasio inexplicably continues to deem the Wilpons (with their partner, Related Companies) to be the exclusive Willets Point developers.

If the Mayor honestly wanted to jumpstart Willets Point development, he could have cut loose the Wilpons and Related Companies (doing business together as “Queens Development Group”) during the past three years, then solicited competitive, viable proposals from the worldwide development community. By not doing so, the Wilpons now are able to leverage their designation as a Willets Point developer, in negotiations with potential Mets buyers.

Are the Wilpons selling not just the Mets team, but some portion of their share in Queens Development Group? How is it in the City’s interest, to allow the Wilpons and Related Companies to determine whether a Mets buyer can get involved in Willets Point development, instead of that buyer creating its own plan and proposing it directly to the City? Do prospective buyers even understand the development circumstances around Citi Field and Willets Point?

Willets Point redevelopment was initiated in 2007 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg – an elitist land grab of private property, enforced by the threat of eminent domain, to be given to the “one percent” for them to exploit. The redevelopment would also eradicate hundreds of small businesses, many owned and operated by Latinos and other persons of color. Ironically, two Latinos are now apparently eager to propel that project.

We’re well aware of the “star power” of Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. They probably expect nothing less than a very warm welcome in Queens, as new owners of the Mets and co-investors in some glitzy Willets Point development. But their celebrity will not shield them from responsibility for destroying the livelihoods of Latinos and other persons of color who depend on Willets Point for income, if their Willets Point development intrudes on existing businesses and private properties.

In case they haven’t noticed, the world climate has evolved in the 13 years since Bloomberg began the elitist land grab here. Economic genocide by an elite class will no longer be tolerated. Using eminent domain to take people’s private property in order to give it to the elite “one percent” for them to exploit, is quickly recognized as the outrage that it is. The people of Willets Point will continue to defend our businesses as well as our private property, bolstered by the world’s higher awareness and scrutiny of injustice.

Monday, August 26, 2019

At Last, Wear-and-Tear Repaving

Late at night on August 23, 2019, the New York City Department of Transportation provided wear-and-tear repaving of a 20-foot-wide center portion of Willets Point Boulevard, between approximately Northern Boulevard and 127th Street.

The affected roadway – which fronts scores of businesses, many of which are featured in our “Willets Point: Open For Business” video (2017) – had fallen into severe dilapidation due to the City’s deliberate neglect over several decades.

This wear-and-tear repaving comes 3 months after Willets Point United sent a formal petition to NYCDOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia signed by 50 business and property owners, pleading again for repaving; more than 6 years after Queens Community Board 7 declared that “road wear and tear rehabilitation must be implemented now for the remaining [Willets Point] Phase 2 property owners,” as a condition of CB7’s 2013 approval of special permits sought by Queens Development Group to enable its scandalous proposed shopping mall on nearby public parkland; and decades after Willets Point business and property owners began to complain about the horrendous street conditions created and perpetuated here by successive City administrations.

Credit for the wear-and-tear repaving is due to former NYS Senator Tony Avella, who always demanded that the City provide road repair services at Willets Point, and hosted our “Willets Point: Open For Business” news conference in 2017; Irene Prestigiacomo, who walked door-to-door to collect petition signatures over several days; Sam Sambucci, who has pressed the need for street repair at CB7 committee meetings and annual budget hearings; CB7 Chair Eugene Kelty, Vice Chair Chuck Apelian and District Manager Marilyn McAndrews, who arranged and attended an on-site Willets Point visit with NYCDOT; and NYCDOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia and Queens Borough Planner Andrew Arcese. We must also note the mysterious lack of help from City Council member Francisco Moya, NYS Senator Jessica Ramos, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz – each of whom has rejected our requests to meet to discuss circumstances at Willets Point.

Although we are thankful that NYCDOT has provided wear-and-tear repaving of Willets Point Boulevard, we must note that it does not substitute for a long-lasting, comprehensive overhaul of our streets and sidewalks, which NYCDOT claims will be funded by $17 million in the City’s budget – work which we still expect NYCDOT to implement as soon as possible.

Moreover, as of this writing, NYCDOT has not repaved 127th Street between 34th Avenue and Willets Point Boulevard, surely one of the most notorious dilapidated roads in New York City.

And finally, any repaving by NYCDOT does nothing to re-open Willets Point streets which the New York City Economic Development Corporation has unnecessarily closed, and which we have requested be reopened. In particular, 37th Avenue provides a unique, direct connection between 126th Street and Willets Point Boulevard, and should be open.

Case in point: EMS recently required 15 minutes to respond to an emergency on Willets Point Boulevard – and actually remarked that they would have arrived significantly sooner, except for the many closed streets preventing access. (In 2008, the EMS response time to Willets Point was 6 minutes and 16 seconds – roughly 9 minutes less than the recent response that is complicated by multiple street closures.)

Any neighborhood has a right to rapid and timely EMS response, which is prevented now at Willets Point by NYCEDC’s needless closure of streets, particularly 37th Avenue. We hope that NYCEDC will follow NYCDOT’s lead and provide what we are requesting at Willets Point.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

DOT's Nicole Garcia Doesn't Respond to Petition for Street Repair

On May 23, 2019, Willets Point United sent its Petition – requesting that the Department of Transportation provide urgently-needed street repair and maintenance services in Willets Point – to DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia. The Petition, signed by fifty Willets Point businesses and property owners impacted by the severely deteriorated roadways, was accompanied by a cover letter from Willets Point United founding member Irene Prestigiacomo, who also requested a meeting with Commissioner Garcia.

The Postal Service return receipt shows that the Petition and cover letter were delivered to DOT on May 24, 2019.

However, in the six weeks since receiving the Petition and cover letter, DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia has not responded to it.

DOT Queens Commissioner
Nicole Garcia hasn't responded to
Willets Point street repair petition.
Queens Chronicle photo
by Michael Gannon.
Meanwhile, during that timeframe, DOT was able to replace all of its street signage along nearby 126th Street, to accommodate the New York Mets street renaming ceremony held on June 27 to honor former Mets player Tom Seaver. That ceremony followed DOT's complete repaving, earlier in May, of the seven block stretch of 126th Street that fronts Citi Field stadium.

DOT prioritized that ceremonial work for the Mets, while continuing to neglect severely cratered streets in the heart of Willets Point, that are the topic of the Petition.

Intersection of Willets Point Boulevard and 127th Street,
as neglected by DOT on Commissioner Garcia's watch.

Commissioner Garcia is supposedly a "public servant," whose first priority must be to "represent the interests of citizens".

We submit that she isn't doing so, when she gives no response to our Petition for urgently-needed street repair while accomplishing ceremonial work for the New York Mets.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

“Seaver Way” Tactics: City Council Throws Knuckleball

The City Council is up to its old tricks again – giving just one day or less notice that it will hold a public hearing on Wednesday morning (June 26, 2019) regarding the New York Mets’ proposal to rename a seven-block stretch of 126th Street “Seaver Way,” for former Mets player Tom Seaver.

This is a textbook example of the Council discouraging and preventing public testimony at a hearing, by withholding adequate advance notice.

Weeks ago, the Mets announced that they would hold a street renaming ceremony on June 27, 2019 – which they would be hard-pressed to do, without first obtaining City Council approval of the name change. Thus it stands to reason that powers-that-be have known that there would be a City Council hearing on the proposal prior to June 27, but they chose to publish no information about it until just one day before.

Which Council members are the sponsors of the Mets street renaming legislation?

Francisco Moya
District 21
Peter Koo
District 20

Paul Vallone
District 19
Francisco Moya, Peter Koo and Paul Vallone.

Their bill – which reveals the absolute bare minimum about the proposal – would simply rename 126th Street “Seaver Way” and amend the City map accordingly. The bill does not even identify who “Seaver” is, or provide any rationale or justification for changing the existing street name.

And bizarrely, although the legislation specifically concerns a street that is under control of the New York City Department of Transportation, the Council did not refer the bill to its Committee on Transportation (which “has jurisdiction over … transportation agencies and facilities, including the Department of Transportation”), but instead referred the bill to the Committee on Parks and Recreation (which “has jurisdiction over New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation”).

The Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation lacks jurisdiction over 126th Street, and is not the proper committee to evaluate this proposed street name change. It is, however, conveniently chaired by one of the bill’s sponsors: Peter Koo.

Why is the City Council resorting to such shameful tactics to circumvent proper review and suppress public testimony about the 126th Street / Seaver Way renaming?

Perhaps Council members know that a Seaver street renaming is redundant and unnecessary, given that the Mets are also working on plans for a Tom Seaver statue at Citi Field – just as other teams throughout the country have traditionally erected statues to honor their special retired players. It may be unprecedented for a team to honor a player with both a larger-than-life statue, plus a renamed public street fronting its stadium. In the case of Seaver, it must be asked: Why the redundancy? Isn’t a Tom Seaver statue enough, as other ballplayer statues are elsewhere?

Perhaps Council members know that the street whose name would be changed – 126th Street – is sandwiched right in between two of the City’s most ethnic neighborhoods: Flushing (with its dominant Asian population) and Corona (with its Latino majority). A public hearing held with good advance notice might draw contemporary residents of Flushing and Corona, who may prefer honoring individuals other than Seaver, a caucasian sports figure whose Queens career ended 36 years ago.

Whatever their reasons, by their handling of the proposed 126th Street / Seaver Way renaming, City Council powers-that-be have revealed their disdain for participation by the very public that they are sworn to represent.

The name of a taxpayer-owned public street is at issue. Officials should have facilitated public participation in this matter, not shamefully suppressed it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DOT Gives Mets Brand New Roadbed, “Stolen” from Willets Point

On Thursday, June 27, 2019, the New York Mets will hold a ceremony to rename a portion of 126th Street “Seaver Way” – aided and abetted by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

It’s no coincidence that DOT very recently repaved the seven-block stretch of 126th Street to be renamed “Seaver Way.” And DOT repaved it, even though the condition of that street beforehand did not require resurfacing.
126th Street, freshly paved by DOT preceding
the "Seaver Way" renaming ceremony.

Could it be any more obvious, that DOT repaved that street to beautify it for the photo op during the Mets’ street renaming ceremony? That's an unjustifiable expenditure of taxpayer funds.

But for Willets Point, the biggest insult is that DOT needlessly repaved 126th Street, while not repairing the nearby, severely dilapidated streets in Willets Point, which property and business owners have pleaded with the City for decades to fix.

Willets Point Boulevard, approx. one block from
"Seaver Way," neglected by the City for decades. 

If these street conditions existed in any other neighborhood of the City, they would be deemed an emergency and repaired right away on that basis.

Irene Prestigiacomo, a Willets Point property owner who has implored the City to stop neglecting the crumbling Willets Point streets and the many businesses that operate there, sums up the sentiment: “Seaver was a good ballplayer, but it’s a shame that the street renamed for him had to be beautified by DOT on the backs of scores of taxpaying Willets Point property owners, businesses and workers, who have asked the City for street repaving for years, but been denied. As we see it, the Mets have stolen a brand new street for Seaver, that rightfully should have gone to Willets Point.”

Monday, August 20, 2018

Task Force Excludes Expert Public Stakeholders

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilmember Francisco Moya are the co-chairs of the “Willets Point Task Force,” a cherry-picked group that is supposed to recommend potential uses for Willets Point land. The Task Force will hold its third closed-door meeting this Wednesday, August 22.

Katz and Moya are denying Willets Point United and all current Willets Point property or business owners the opportunity to attend any meeting of the Task Force – despite Queens Community Board 7’s recommendation that Katz and Moya consider allowing a Willets Point representative to attend. Even worse, Councilmember Moya’s office directly lied to us by telephone last Thursday, stating that no August meeting of the Task Force has been scheduled – when Queens Community Board 7 knew that the meeting is set for August 22.

Katz and Moya are shutting out not only Willets Point United, but also the press. We are aware that Borough Hall has rejected several reporters’ requests to observe Task Force meetings, and has been unwilling to provide even basic information regarding what land use options the Task Force is considering, or how it operates.

Members of the Willets Point Task Force include
Kelly Olshan of Queens Council on the Arts (in
Giovanna Reid (in black) and Marta Lebreton
(in beige) 
of Queens Community Board 3.
Per information furnished to Queens Community Board 7, the scheduled topic of the August 22 Task Force meeting is to “develop preliminary recommendations,” prior to the final September meeting which will “review final recommendations” to be sent to Mayor de Blasio.

In our view, Katz, Moya and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are leading the Task Force to an outcome predetermined by them – and they are using public-sector Task Force members solely to create an illusion of community buy-in, not to solicit or seriously consider any creative Willets Point development ideas they may have. Given that Willets Point United has a wealth of knowledge about all that has happened with the proposed Willets Point development during the past ten years (and beyond), had we been allowed to participate on the Task Force we would have encouraged thorough consideration of all relevant issues and potential recommendations – not just the ones prioritized by Katz, Moya and NYCEDC. We believe it is for that reason, that Katz and Moya are deliberately excluding us (and in the case of Moya’s office, even lying to us).

While Katz and Moya are shutting us out of their meetings, they cannot stop us from informing Task Force members, via this writing, of issues we consider important, and recommendations we believe the Task Force should make to Mayor de Blasio regarding Willets Point. We hope that the more open-minded members of the Task Force (if any) will raise these issues during the Wednesday meeting as “preliminary recommendations” are formulated.

(1)  Recommend that the City immediately repair and maintain streets, and furnish other missing municipal services, throughout the 38 acres of Willets Point that are located beyond the Phase One area, where scores of industrial businesses operate right now.

Willets Point property and business owners pay steep taxes, but receive virtually no City services in return. Most obviously, the City has refused to repair or maintain Willets Point roadways for decades, allowing them to fall into a state of severe dilapidation. This discourages customer access, hinders the potential for business success, and creates unsafe conditions that extend emergency response times with potential deadly consequences – none of which would be tolerated in any other business district in the City.

Scores of industrial businesses operate today throughout the 38 acres of Willets Point that are located beyond the 23 acres of the Phase One area. See the Facebook page showing that they are “Open For Business” and the video that profiles a subset of 30 of them:

Many of these business are owned and/or operated by recent immigrants from a variety of countries around the world – exemplifying the positive “diversity” of the borough of Queens which Task Force co-chair Katz so often promotes.

Willets Point property and business owners have consistently requested that the City repair and maintain Willets Point roadways (at least, implement “wear-and-tear” paving). For the past several years, Queens Community Board 7 and the Queens Borough Board have included Willets Point street repair on their annual budget priority lists, stating in their fiscal year 2015 written reports that “This area has been neglected by the City of New York and needs a total capital reconstruction to include sidewalks, sewers, and street lighting.” Moreover, Queens Community Board 7 specified as a condition of its 2013 ULURP approval of a special permit sought by Queens Development Group for Willets Point property that “Road wear and tear rehabilitation must be implemented now for the remaining [Willets Point] Phase 2 property owners.” (Queens Community Board 7 decision of May 13, 2013 concerning ULURP No. C 130222 ZSQ, as documented within City Planning Commission report; emphasis added.)

However, contrary to the wishes of the Community Board and the Borough Board, no street repair services have yet been provided in the 38 acres of Willets Point that are located beyond the 23 acres of the Phase One area.

The Task Force should recommend that the City immediately provide street repair and maintenance services, and any other municipal services that it is presently withholding from Willets Point.

(2)  Recommend that the City exercise the contractual “call option” to take back two acres of property located in the heart of the Phase One area, which the Bloomberg administration gave to Queens Development Group (and which it still unnecessarily owns).

The Task Force should be considering the 17 acres of the Phase One area a blank canvas, where any proposal could be implemented – but right now, the canvas isn't blank. That’s because Queens Development Group owns two acres in the middle of Phase One, putting the City at the mercy of Queens Development Group to consent to any plan for the area. Fortunately, the City may exercise a contractual “call option” and take back those two acres to ensure maximum flexibility for the use of the Phase One land.

Our new video (below) and associated blog post explain why it is essential for the City to reclaim these two acres, and to do so prior to the contractual deadline of December 20, 2018:

The Queens Ledger and the Queens Chronicle have reported on our recommendation that the City reclaim the two acres from Queens Development Group.

The Task Force should recommend that the City exercise the contractual call option to reclaim the two acres from Queens Development Group, prior to the deadline.

(3)  Recommend that the City reaffirm the Bloomberg administration’s promise to convene a special advisory committee to participate in and help to guide Willets Point developer selection.

The present work of the Task Force to produce recommendations regarding Willets Point, is not a substitute for later participation in selecting the project developer(s).

The Bloomberg administration had promised that a Willets Point Advisory Committee, whose members would include representatives of the involved community boards and other entities, would participate in and help to guide developer selection.

The Task Force should specify that the City is still obligated to form a Willets Point Advisory Committee to participate and help to guide developer selection for each and every phase of the project.

(4)  Recommend that Phase One land must be remediated, regardless of the use that eventually occurs there.

The original, primary pretext for the City to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to take possession of Willets Point property, was to ensure that it would be properly remediated, to an extent that allegedly could not be achieved by individual private property owners.

As remediation was the objective and the promise, the Task Force should recommend that the Phase One site must undergo environmental remediation.

Consistent with the 2008 Willets Point development plan, the chosen developer(s) should bear all costs of remediation, in exchange for the privilege of developing the site.

In the event that no developer is willing to pay costs of remediation, then the City should remediate the land and pay the costs of doing so. Apparently funds are available: The Bloomberg administration had authorized a capital grant of $99 million to Queens Development Group, $40 million of which was to cover costs of remediation. Those funds can be diverted from Queens Development Group and used to pay an environmental firm to be hired by the City. Thereafter, terms with any developer should reflect the fact that the City, not the developer, paid the costs of remediation.

(5)  Recommend that Phase One, and all other Willets Point land, revert to industrial/manufacturing/distribution uses.

Since rezoning Willets Point in 2008, the City has had ten years to implement its promised “next great neighborhood” throughout Willets Point – and has failed to do so. The truth is, that concept never was feasible, and never should have been pursued.

Willets Point is located directly under the flight path to LaGuardia Airport, at the closest point to the runway – thus susceptible to roaring jet engine noise all day long. It is also hemmed in and isolated by the Whitestone Expressway, Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway. For those reasons, among many others, Willets Point is not desirable as a location of a neighborhood or housing, but is perfectly suitable as a location for an industrial park.

23 acres of Willets Point Phase One land are essentially vacant and dormant at this time. It is absolutely not too late for the City administration to decide to remediate those 23 acres, install necessary infrastructure, then revert that land to industrial/manufacturing/distribution uses together with the additional 38 acres beyond Phase One.

In fact, doing so would be consistent with the conclusions of a report prepared in 1991 for the predecessor of NYCEDC, the New York City Public Development Corporation, which found: “The lack of adequate infrastructure is the most obvious impediment to the success of Willets Point. … A few conclusions can be drawn about the development potential of Willets Point. (1) The area is most suitable for development by owner occupants, and (2) the area is most suitable for industry and industry-related commercial uses” (Urbitran Associates, Inc. in association with Richard Dattner Architects, “Willets Point Planning Study prepared for New York City Public Development Corporation,” October 1991, p. 4).

(6)  Recommend that, in the event of any City acquisition of the 38 acres beyond the boundaries of Phase One, the City must exhaust every means of negotiation with private property owners, and fully compensate them for the value of their land and for relinquishing its significant development potential.

(7)  Recommend that, in the event of any City acquisition of the 38 acres beyond the boundaries of Phase One, the City must provide relocation sites for existing businesses, in a manner agreeable to the businesses and for the purpose of ensuring their continued operation.

The City and NYCEDC must assume responsibility for actually providing acceptable relocation spaces for existing Willets Point businesses. No business should be expected to depart Willets Point, without the City and NYCEDC first securing a relocation site.

NYCEDC routinely misleads the public by claiming that it has “relocated” Willets Point businesses from the Phase One area. In truth, NYCEDC enticed businesses to vacate the Phase One area despite having nowhere to go, by offering paltry payouts for a limited time – after which a business would receive nothing, and be evicted. Faced with that choice, many businesses accepted the payout, and departed Willets Point. NYCEDC had no role in “relocating” them, anywhere, or in ensuring their future survival.

In fact, so insufficient were the City’s Willets Point relocation services and funds, that a group of Willets Point automotive businesses (the Sunrise Cooperative) sued the City. As part of a settlement, the City was compelled to provide greater funding, but even that proved inadequate, and the City did not relocate those businesses. Sunrise Cooperative declared bankruptcy in 2016.

Businesses displaced from Willets Point in the future must be protected from similar fates.

*     *     *

In addition to the specific recommendations above, before the Task Force commits to any “vision” concerning Willets Point, we suggest that Task Force members acquaint themselves with the extraordinary traffic impacts that would result from the full build-out of Willets Point as intended in 2008 and analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement.

At the City Planning Commission on August 13, 2008, Bernard Adler, former Commissioner of Traffic for the City of White Plains, testified: “I have never seen this level of unmitigated impact, in the forty years I’ve been practicing. … This is an unprecedented overload of the local roadway system.”

Michael O’Rourke, past President of the Metropolitan Section, Institute of Transportation Engineers, testified regarding significant traffic impacts on the Van Wyck Expressway, including spill-back onto the local highway network as well as local streets:

Beware of any claim by NYCEDC, that new Van Wyck Expressway access ramps will eliminate the severe traffic congestion caused by developing Willets Point. Regarding those proposed new access ramps, the New York Times declared that “E-Mails Show State Officials’ Skepticism About Willets Point Project” and published excerpts of emails written by officials including New York State Department of Transportation project manager Peter King: “‘If I were a betting man, I’d start dropping the odds regarding success for E.D.C. on this project,’ Mr. King said in an email to a state transportation analyst on May 11.”

Finally, we recommend that Task Force members understand who their fellow Task Force members are – especially the notorious Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation (FWPCLDC), represented on the Task Force by Terry Sun.

FWPCLDC is the organization that took direction from NYCEDC and illegally lobbied for approval of the Willets Point rezoning in 2008 – triggering a three-year investigation by the New York State Office of the Attorney General, which issued more than 30 subpoenas for testimony and documents to employees of FWPCLDC, The Parkside Group, Mayor’s Office, NYCEDC and other entities. The investigation concluded with formal findings of wrongdoing by FWPCLDC and NYCEDC, the Attorney General proclaiming that they “flouted the law,” and requiring the corporate restructuring of NYCEDC, among other remedies.

FWPCLDC was, and still is, substantially funded by the New York Mets organization. The Mets owners also own Sterling Equities, which together with Related Companies comprise Queens Development Group – the entity which received two acres of Willets Point Phase One land from the Bloomberg administration, and which Mayor de Blasio is allowing to develop a separate six acres of Phase One land.

Willets Point United will have much more to say about particular members of the Task Force, and its operation, at a future time.