Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Claire Shulman and the Badge of Fraud

The Greenpoint Star editorializes on the impact of the AG's decision to chastise EDC and Claire Shulman's LDC for illegally lobbying-and in doing so unearths another example of the intrinsic dishonesty of Shulman's phony development corporation:

"At Willets Point, the corporation was formed in direct consultation with the mayor's office, and then stayed in contact with EDC throughout its lobbying efforts. At Coney Island, the corporation actually operated out of EDC's Manhattan offices and was made up of agency staff.Both portrayed themselves as grass-roots movements pushing for positive development in their respective communities, but instead were actually working at the behest and with the input of the city on huge, far-reaching projects the Bloomberg administration wanted to realize."

But Shulman at every point-and this is what prosecutors refer to as a badge of fraud-denied or hid her connection to the city. As the Greenpoint paper points out:

"In the case of Willets Point, one of the major players in the Flushing-Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation is former borough president Claire Shulman, who made the rounds in Queens, including a stop at this paper, pushing the redevelopment of Willets Point.She presented herself and her group as independent, and that the Willets Point plan being proposed by the city was the best thing for Queens. While she may truly believe that, in the interest of full disclosure she should have noted that her group was created in conjunction with the EDC and worked closely with them, so of course supported the project.

She presented herself and her group as independent!-when in fact she was simply a puppet on a string. And she did the same thing with the New York State Authorities Budget Office, telling the agency that her LDC was not in any way a municipal entity and subject to the requirements of the freedom of information act. Shulman also played a consistent double game with her requirement to register as a lobbyist-and hid the lobbying purposes of the LDC from the IRS-and from the city clerk for as long as she could get away with it.

Claire Shulman and her group have been dishonest about who they are and what they represent-and what the Greenpoint Star misses is that, at the same time they were doing the city's bidding, they were lining up chits for their developer members. And the biggest chit-or chip in this case-was cashed in by Sterling Equities when they received $200 million in city property free of charge.