The local media is covering the Shulman Brownfield's grant-with the Times Ledger provided the most informative coverage. The Ledger gets the extent to which this is a Trojan Horse-with all of the existing Flushing waterfront businesses having a very limited shelf life because of Shulman's plan:
"The controversial plan to redevelop the downtown Flushing waterfront has been cast into the spotlight in recent days. The issue resurfaced after many months of relative dormancy when the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corp. announced recently that it had applied for and received a $1.5 million grant from the New York Department of State despite an ongoing investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman into alleged state lobbying violations by the group."
The Ledger's Conner Sheets takes a picture of the Flushing waterfront future for his story-and this one is the proverbial 1,000 words because, in depicting the glorious transformation on the river, we notice that all of the existing businesses have been disappeared. This is the Shulman/TDC grand plan-and it is grand theft by Madam Shulman who is acting as the procurer for TDC and other developers. The LDC is certainly not any community-based group.
This reminds us of a ditty that the satirist Tom Lehrer once told about how his brother's dog got run over the other day-but the driver did it with such skill that the bystanders awarded him both ears and the tail. That is how the crafty old Shulman is doing this real estate slight-of-hand; acting as a community group, stealing city and state funds to promote her schemes, and turning the fruits of her labors over to the like of TDC-one of the most community minded citizens of the entire borough.
The Ledger gives WPU an opportunity to vent on this outrage:
"Representatives for Willets Point United, a group of Willets Point property owners opposed to the city’s plan for the 62-acre area, are furious the state is awarding money to the group. “In order to qualify to receive the grant in question, a community-based organization must represent a community having a demonstrated financial need,” wrote Gerald Antonacci, co-owner of Crown Container Co. and president of Willets Point United, in a letter to DiNapoli’s office.
He added later that “we believe that [the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s] dispersal of $1,505,700.00 to the LDC under all of the above described circumstances will materially and negatively impact the state’s reputation.”
Shulman, ever intrepid and forthright, adds that she is looking forward to the AG's investigation coming to a conclusion (does she know something?)-but adds a salient point: "Shulman said Tuesday she is glad Schneiderman is looking into the lobbying claims so that the issue can be put to bed.
“The attorney general has this. Hopefully, he’ll make a decision about what it’s all about. And it’s not just us. It’s the Economic Development Corp., who also lobbied, but they came after us, even though I was told I could lobby, so I finally registered. It’s going to be adjudicated to its final outcome now,” she said Tuesday. “With this project I’ve got to move forward, I’ve got to keep moving, and hopefully we’ll strike oil.” (Emphasis added)
Yes Claire, EDC was your partner in crime and was violating the law along with you. But the difference between the two LDCs is a fine line, but a line nonetheless-only Shulman's LDC was a direct front group for well heeled developers. But we can see why she is so sanguine about the outcome because all of the powers that be are her co-conspirators-and shame on all of them!