The Queens Chronicle has an interview with EDC head-Why does this guy still have his job?-Seth Pinsky, and the young gun has a number of remarkable observations, beginning with the following:
"Earlier this month, the state attorney general issued what was widely seen as a slap on the wrist to the EDC and the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corp. for illegally lobbying for the Willets Point project. Pinsky said his group accepted responsibility for what the attorney general found but downplayed it, calling the violation a loophole and a grey area of the law that was never previously enforced."
Pinsky, of course, has decided to overlook the fact that his partner in crime-the erstwhile Dame of Queens County, Claire Shulman-engaged in a series of illegal actions that include the violation of a series of contractual requirements that is built into EDC's master contract with the city. And, Seth, how about lying to the Federal government, is that a minor loophole too?
Clearly Pinsky is an unrepentant lawbreaker who wants the city to proceed as if nothing untoward has occurred in this entire corrupt process: "The WPU is claiming that the illegal lobbying should nullify the 2008 council approval. Pinsky disagrees: “There is no legal merit. The project is moving forward and we’ve addressed the remedies of the Attorney General’s Office. I am confident the 2008 land use review process will stand.”
We'll see about that, but Slick Seth is full of insights-and his spinning of the 1961 agreement surrounding the land next to CitiField is one of them:
"Then, if all goes as planned, developers will build Willets West on 2,500 parking spaces in the Citi Field parking lot and turn it into a one million square-foot mall with a parking structure and additional surface parking. But many in the Flushing community question the legality of erecting a commercial entity on public parkland since the stadium and parking lot are in Flushing Meadows Park.Pinsky said a 1961 agreement with the Mets, called Administrative Code 18-118, has been carefully studied by the city’s Law Department. “We are confident it’s legal,” he said."
Confidence fitting for a confidence man-and don't be fooled, the city is scared sh*tless about the legality of the 1961 agreement, an agreement that was not pursuant to the parkland alienation laws. But that's not all. Pinsky misrepresents the problems the city faces with the land it doesn't own on the bogus Phase I site: "He said the city has reached agreements with about 95 percent of the Willets Point landowners, with four still left. “We are in discussions with several of them and hope we won’t have to use eminent domain,” Pinsky added."
Hope? Gee, there are actually 9 property owners and 17 parcels that are not in Pinsky's greedy little hands-and the city has withdrawn its eminent domain application so we're sure he hopes that condemnation doesn't have to be used. That brings us to those pesky Van Wyck ramps. Here's what Pinsky has to say:
"Also, an environmental impact and traffic study will need to be made, with Pinsky estimating the project can begin construction in one and one-half years. He indicated that egress from the planned parking garage will be onto Roosevelt Avenue or Northern Boulevard and that proposed ramps on the Van Wyck Expressway, expected to be built in 2020 or 2021, will help ease traffic. “It’s up to the developers to analyze the situation,” he added."
In our view the new development will be even more traffic intensive than the original scheme that the city has now temporarily discarded-and remember that that plan saw the ramps as essential to making the traffic problems somewhat livable. The ramps were seen then as the linchpin of the entire process. So to envision the ramps being built ten years or so after the shopping mall is completed is simply a non-starter-and the city council should not approve any plan that comes before the ramps are actually built.
What the Pinsky interview dramatizes is the arrogance of the current outgoing administration-a culture of lawlessness and a lack of concern for the impact of their megadevelopments on surrounding communities and small businesses. What he dismisses as a, "loophole" was actually an elaborate illegal scheme that encompassed a series of illegal actions done by the Shulman gang in collusion with Pinsky's EDC.
What we are now seeing is the after effects of a weak law enforcement effort by AG Schneiderman, whose failure to sanction the wrongdoers has allowed them to continue to proceed in their scheme with total impunity. This failure demands an intervention-both political and legal.