Sunday, November 8, 2009

One more time, Ben Haber!

This letter to the editor appeared in several Queens weekly papers this week:

Dear Editor:

Local development corporations serve a useful purpose.They are designed to deal with proposed city development plans in a local area, to protect the interests of the residents in the area and ensure the city is proceeding in a legal and proper manner.In short, they are not an arm of or partner with the city in the development plans and their interests are often not similar. Precisely because there could be a conflict of interest between the city and the local development corporation, it is illegal for a local development corporation to accept city funds and then use all or a portion of those funds to lobby city officials to support the city’s plans.

As reported in The New York Times on October 30 (“Bloomberg Saw Development as Future, and Future is Stalled”), it would appear the Flushing-Willets Point Local Development Corporation, headed by former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership may have accepted city funds and then used portions thereof to lobby city officials. This would not be an insignificant matter because if an illegality has taken place, it may well be any actions taken by the City Council on these matters are null and void. There is an ongoing investigation,and one hopes it is expeditiously concluded and right be done.

Benjamin M. Haber