Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thanks again, Ben Haber!

From the Times Ledger:

Developer influenced City Council to vote for mayor’s Willets Pt. plan

"Shulman met with Daniel Doctoroff, who was then a deputy to Bloomberg, and agreed to help the mayor with regard to his Willets Point plan. Shulman and Doctoroff are seasoned professionals and cannot be heard to say they were ignorant of the law. But in violation of the law, they arranged a contribution to Shulman’s group of a large amount of city funds and of which the group spent about $450,000 on lobbying, including City Council members whose votes were necessary for the Willets Pointproposal to proceed (“Biz group says Willets Point plan is invalid,” Flushing Times, Aug. 27.)"

As I understand it, Shulman’s local development corporation certificate of incorporation stated the LDC shall not attempt to influence legislation which is a reiteration of the applicable law. The certificate was signed by Shulman. The lobbying of Council members and, to make matters worse, use of city funds to do so was no oversight.

Given the fact we are talking about the destruction of the majority of the 225 economically viable businesses in Willets Point and their thousands of employees and families, the purported violation is not a trivial matter. It warrants a full investigation by the office of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and, if a violation is found to have occurred, the Council vote must be nullified.

Bloomberg’s attempts to slough off the actions of Shulman and claims that he doubts the law was broken and a “cheap shot” was being taken at Shulman is nonsense. He is making the cheap shots. As head of the LDC, Shulman was not acting as a purported dedicated public servant but as the well-paid head of that group.

It may come as a surprise to Bloomberg and Shulman, but the last I heard the rule of law applies not just to ordinary citizens but to seasoned politicians as well.

Benjamin M. Haber