"New York City's economic-development agency and two related organizations admitted in a settlement Monday that they illegally lobbied the City Council on behalf of projects at the heart of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's redevelopment agenda.
"These local development corporations flouted the law and lobbied elected officials, both directly and through third parties," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
As we pointed out almost a year ago:
"The bottom line in all of this is that Mike Bloomberg, Mr. The Rules Don't Apply to Me, concocted a plan to create a phony grass roots support group to advance the Willets Point development-and created an LDC that was simply a stalking horse for TDC (Sterling Equities) and its cohort of developer colleagues. So, in essence the tax payers funded an AstroTurf effort to deprive the WPU property owners of their Constitutional rights."
Eric Schneiderman is no profile in courage. The law does not permit? This was a narrowly conceived investigation that ignored the larger illegality-fraudulent use of an not for profit to promote private gain. As the Journal points out the violation of 1411 was not the only badge of fraud: "In 2009, the City Clerk imposed a $59,090 fine against Ms. Shulman's group because she failed to register as a lobbyist."
So what Shulman was doing was trying to hide what the group was constructed to do-a pattern of deception that doesn't stop there. When registering as a 501(C)(3) with the IRS Shulman's organization was asked if it was going to engage in lobbying. Her answer: NO.
What we have here is a conspiracy to defraud the tax payers but in addition to deprive the businesses of their property rights-and the conspiracy emerges, as the AG's finding underscores, right from the heart of the Bloomberg administration. It deserves a much stronger law enforcement action than what the AG has come forward with-after all, this is the guy who just got a major drug company to pay a record $146 million in penalties for fraud. The action against EDC and Shulman stands in sharp contrast and we are left with wondering why.