Thursday, July 23, 2020

Gowanus Confidential! We Foiled Councilman Brad Lander's Correspondence About The Rezoning

Who, me?
Councilman Brad Lander of the 39th Council District
3D model of a fully built-out Gowanus after rezoning

During the past few years, I have attended many of the public meetings pertaining to the proposed rezoning of the area around the Gowanus Canal. Those include the Bridging Gowanus community meetings hosted by our Council Member Brad Lander together with Council Member Stephen Levin and other elected representatives, which were a sham in my book.

The more Brad Lander tried to pretend that he would make sure that "plans for growth [for Gowanus] are grounded fully in the public interest, and will achieve our shared goals", the more it appeared to the community that the rezoning was a huge giveaway to developers and that certain organizations had a seat at Brad's table to influence the rezoning long before Bridging Gowanus started.

Increasingly, I was curious to see what was being discussed about the proposed Gowanus rezoning  between our elected officials and government figures...and a very specific developer: Jared Kushner

So, like any good citizen and community activist, I worked with some friends to request Brad Lander's email correspondence pertaining to the Gowanus rezoning under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).  And for good measure, we foiled some more of our elected officials and government figures.

The requests were sent in May 2019. In all, we foiled the email correspondence pertaining to the rezoning of:

Councilmember Brad Lander***
Catherine Zinnel , Brad Lander's former Deputy Chief of Staff 
Rachel Goodman, Brad Lander's Chief Of Staff
Councilmember Steve Levin
Benjamin Solotaire, Steve Levin's North Brooklyn Community Organizer
NYC Department of City Planning***(partial)
Winston von Engel, Director, NYC DCP Brooklyn Office***(partial)
Jonathan Keller, NYC DCP in charge of Gowanus rezoning
Community Board 6
Mike Racioppo CB6 manager

Here is the specific FOIL request that was sent out:

To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (1977 N.Y. Laws ch. 933), I hereby request the following records:
1. Correspondence between ........... and each of the following individuals, officials, agencies, and companies regarding the proposed Gowanus rezoning and regarding the Gowanus Places Study:
Mayor DeBlasio
Alicia Glen, Former Deputy Mayor under deBlasio
Councilmember Brad Lander
Brad Lander (private citizen, private email)
Councilmember Steve Levin
Steve Levin (private citizen, private email)
Jonathan Butler NYC DCP
Winston Von Engel NYC DCP
Peter Fleming CB6 Chair
Mark Shames CB6 Land Use Chair
Mike Racioppo CB6 Manager
Salvatore "Buddy" Scotto, Long Time proponent of a Gowanus rezoning
Debra Scotto CB6 Member
Michelle de La Uz, City Planning Commissioner/ Executive Director, Fifth Avenue Committee
Andrea Parker, Executive Director, Gowanus Conservancy
Sabine Aronowsky, Fifth Avenue Committee


2. Any correspondence between Catherine Zinnel of Council Member Brad Lander's office and each of the following individuals a) regarding the proposed Gowanus rezoning, b) regarding the Gowanus Places Study, and c) regarding Brooklyn properties at 169 Third Street, 175-185 Third Street, and 201-225 Third Street.
Jared Kushner
SL Green
Kushner Companies
LIVWRK, Kushner's original partners for Gowanus project
Asher Abehsera, founder of  Livwrk
Aaron Lemma, co-founder of  Livwrk
Robert Schiffer, (Managing Director at SL Green)
Aby Rosen (developer, buyer of former Kushner site)
RFR Realty (Aby Rosen's development firm)

Why Jared Kushner and his associates? Because the developer and son-in-law of President Trump purchased one of the largest sites along the Gowanus in 2014. This prompted Councilman Brad Lander to declare on WNYC in 2017 that it would feel wrong to vote for the rezoning if it meant "enriching the White House senior adviser while he’s got authority over the canal. That feels ethically tainted in a way I don’t see how I could do and how I could ask my colleagues to do."

This seems like a strange statement from Lander,  since we kept on hearing that Lander was trying to convince other property owners on the same block as Kushner's property at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street to join forces to spot-rezone the entire block to residential ahead of the larger rezoning.. Obviously, things were taking too long for Kushner Companies

In 2017, Kushner Companies and SL Green Realty sold their interest to Aby Rosen's development company RFR Realty. We found email correspondence between the Department of City Planning and a real estate law firm hired by RFR..  Surely it seems plausible that there may have been an exchange of emails between Kushner Companies, RFR and Brad Lander over the years..

After several delays and numerous requests for updates, just a few foil requests came back 7 months later. We did receive the emails of Lander and his former aid, Catherine Zinnel, as well as the emails of Levin staffer Ben Solotaire. We only received partial documents from City Planning.
Community Board 6 and its manager Mike Racioppo ignored our Foil request altogether. We have to see what to do about that with the state's Committee on Open Government.

What emerged...amidst lots of redaction...was very interesting.
Brad LANDER Gowanus Final - Redacted_Redacted102319 (dragged) copy 2
Heavily redacted email between Brad Lander and New York City Hall 5/25/2018
CATHERINE ZINNEL MayGownus1_Redacted FINAL - Gowanus Rezoning Lander FOIL (dragged) copy
The Lander emails from his official Council account did not say much. In fact, there really were not many emails included in the 630 page file sent to us, as many of the pages contained unnecessary printed presentations by the Fifth Avenue Committee and the Gowanus Conservancy, sometimes twice or three times.  The lack of emails seemed strange given how long and intimately Lander has been pushing the Gowanus rezoning. How could there not be far more emails about this massive public project that he has been advancing for years?  

And another question arose as we compared the Lander emails to those of his former staff member Catherine Zinnel and  those of the Department of City Planning.
While we had FOILED the same topics for everyone, the email records returned for Zinnel and DCP were more extensive and contained many additional emails not contained in the Lander email returns.

As we perused these emails, we began to notice a pattern. Lander's staffer (and often Council Member Levin staffer Ben Solotaire) would be in regular communication with a number of local organizations discussing the proposed Gowanus rezoning. In particular, Michelle de La Uz of the Fifth Avenue Committee and Andrea Parker from the Gowanus Conservancy seemed to have quite a correspondence and many meetings with our elected officials.

The Gowanus Conservancy's mission is to facilitate "the development of a resilient, vibrant, open space network centered on the Gowanus Canal."  Though it appears to be an environmental grassroots organization, the Conservancy has accepted money from Gowanus developers and has positioned itself to become the steward of the public waterfront parkland that developers will have to create as part of the rezoning.
And of course, Brad Lander previously served as Executive Director of the Fifth Avenue Committee from 1993 to 2003. He has pushed for a Gowanus Rezoning since his time at FAC, so it is not surprising that he continues to have a close relationship with this not-for profit organization. In addition, FAC is one of the developers of Gowanus Green, the large development planned for Public Place that requires the rezoning to take place in order to proceed
Notice the word 'confidential' in the subject line of the email below.
CATHERINE ZINNEL MayGownus1_Redacted FINAL - Gowanus Rezoning Lander FOIL (dragged) 6 copy
The emails as a whole show that FAC, GCC and their joint Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition For Justice  are in lockstep with Lander, doing his bidding lest they lose their funding source. 
One noteworthy exception is highlighted below. It shows Brad Lander complaining to De La Uz about a quote by her staff in a City Limit article, which he  obviously disagreed with.
Emails, like the one below show that for years, the Fifth Avenue Committee had privileged seats at the table with Council Members Lander and Levin, as well as with City Planning to discuss Gowanus.
Brad LANDER Gowanus Final - Redacted_Redacted102319 (dragged) 8 copy 2
Another question is: Has Brad Lander evaded Public Records Laws to push the Gowanus Rezoning?
Most of the documents block out Brad Lander's email address.  This seems strange since his address surely is part of the public record. Even stranger is that some other correspondence only shows his address blocked out on a long list of email addresses. Given the context, the only email address that would make sense there, as the email chains hashed through various strategies about the proposed Brad Lander's personal email.

Below is an email from the Brooklyn office of the Department of City Planning addressed to Lander's personal Gmail account. (Note that we crossed out Lander's Gmail account in blue since we believe his personal email was left un-redacted by mistake)

And then there is this one, sent by Catherine Zinnel from a .com address to brad, also at a .com address. It is likely that both used, Lander's campaign web site. Note that she nevertheless uses her official council staffer title in the signature block of her email.

It is very clear from the FOIL documents received, that Lander was involved in many aspects of strategy and negotiation regarding the proposed rezoning. For years now, the Fifth Avenue Committee has enjoyed privileged, special access to the Council Members, their staff members, and the Department of City Planning. It is fair to say that FAC had an outsize role in planning a rezoning that: a) they would benefit from as private developers of the Public Place site, and b) they would have a hand in getting through because one of their leaders is on the City Planning Commission.

On more than one occasion, Lander tried doing so outside the confines of his official email account.

This obviously raises more questions: What other groups or developers did Lander meet with over the years to discuss Gowanus? What deals were cut? What has Brad Lander been doing with his official position that he has worked to keep from the public eye? What else don't we know that is hidden in Brad Lander's personal emails - that will nevertheless have a major impact on thousands of people if the proposed Gowanus rezoning goes through? 

Before we embark on this massive rezoning, we should know the answers to all these questions, no?

We are still working through the reams of FoIL documents ourselves, but please email me if you would like to see the entire trove for yourself.


Triada Samaras said...

Katia, this is such an exemplary, thorough, investigative/citizen journalism! Oh that our neighborhood had 5 more of you! You have done a massive work here; it is very clear how much time and thought has gone into this.

This is gripping:

"It is very clear from the FOIL documents received, that Lander was involved in many aspects of strategy and negotiation regarding the proposed rezoning. For years now, the Fifth Avenue Committee has enjoyed privileged, special access to the Council Members, their staff members, and the Department of City Planning. It is fair to say that FAC had an outsize role in planning a rezoning that: a) they would benefit from as private developers of the Public Place site, and b) they would have a hand in getting through because one of their leaders is on the City Planning Commission."
On more than one occasion, Lander tried doing so outside the confines of his official email account."

As a long-time resident of Carroll Gardens, a homeowner, tax payer, and engaged community member, I think it is a very fair and very reasonable statment that "we should know the answers to all these questions".

I totally agree with you that we need these answers "BEFORE WE embark on this massive re-zoning'! imagine there are probly even more questions than we know.

I hope the NY Times and other NYC news media is listening and will feature this story! It ought to be spread far and wide.

We Brooklyn citizens must DEMAND a HALT to this massive and very troubling Gowanus rezoning.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the head FAC, Michelle de La Uz sits on the City Planning Commission and has been active in all aspects of the Gowanus area is very troubling. Even if Michelle does not vote at the Planning Commission because of a very real conflict, she will still have influence on the vote. Michelle and a number of other FAC reps alsosit on the Gowanus CAG and constantly push the FAC agenda. Fac has been pushing the buttons of OUR local elected rep for year. FAC is not out to benefit the community. FAC is only out to benefit FAC, to increase their influence, while telling the world what good they do for the working poor of the area. Why should anyone be surprised. And the Gowanus Conservancy learned from them and is following in their footsteps. Both groups are both perfect examples of the corruption that comes when community not for profits link up with elected officials. Who are always looking for their next elected office

Anonymous said...

I love this, Katia: Thank you for your tenacity. Americans don't realize how great it is to have the tools of FOIA and FOIL at the citizens' disposal. The seven months delay is disgraceful, however - I bet that it would have been excessive even without Covid. Not that I necessarily share your concerns about development in Gowanus. I personnally want the area to change and enjoy the promenage by the buildings on Bond. More residents will help put pressure on local and federal governments to invest in that cleaning up - especially if they become invested and committed neightbors. From what I hear, very few of the Bond St buildings residents live there all-year-round.

Unknown said...

A few of these emails seem rather innocuous, but to see that the FAC, which represents 1/3 of the "Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice," was working together with Brad Lander from the get-go on the rezone is very, very disappointing. It sounds like Brad Lander was using GNHJ as his own private PR firm. At the very least, one can expect that whatever GNCJ is asking for publicly is done with the blessing of Lander, probably because he's already negotiated for that with his Real Estate buddies.

It's just like with "Bridging (rigging) Gowanus." Residents with genuine concerns volunteered hours upon hours to have their voices heard, but all we got was political theater. How ghoulish to take advantage of people's best intentions--in this case, regarding their concern about housing--for his own personal political gain. Lander has been making back-room deals with Gowanus Conservancy, FAC, DCP, and most likely REBNY too, for years. You know who has been denied any kind of seat at the table, though? People like yourself, and other residents who fought hard and long to get the Gowanus cleaned in the first place. No, now you're just "NIMBYS" who need to be silenced. Does he think that the rest of NYC won't find out about his double dealings, sneaky political operations, and disregard for his own constituents? They will. And they won't forget about that when he's running for Comptroller in 2021, either

Anonymous said... so Councilman Lander's emails and interactions about the rezoning can't possibly be known...because he seemingly intentionally avoided using his official council email account.

That's. Really. Disturbing. Not to mention disappointing.

Thank goodness you cast a ridiculously wide net with those FOILs to expose this shamockery.

The emails that do show up definitely paint a picture of quite the little cabal grasping power, so I can only imagine what else he's been doing as he tries to curry favor for donations for his next campaign. This rezoning is starting to smell more rank by the day.

Anonymous said...

Brad Lander is working from DeBlasio's playbook.He is hiding his agenda through the use of Fifth Avenue Committee. Gowanus Conservancy and the others involved. I wondered if Brad is getting donations funneled through these other non profits as DeBlasio did with Campaign for One New York. Watch out Brad the DA is watching

Anonymous said...

Not just FAC but the G Conservancy (don't they get grant funding from the city?) running PR interference with fake environmental claims!

There is no legitimate case to be made for that there is anything "sustainable" in the Gowanus rezoning, except for maybe a sustained flow of wealth to the 1% who do benefit from the rezoning. Oh be the gang is all so confident that their magical percentage numbers for reduced rate rentals is going to change something--such a proven route to resolving income inequality!

Anonymous said...

Amazing. So who else like brownstoner and the NYT and any Other media outlets will copy and paste this info and expose Lander. I also forgot about Kushner owning that land on third ave. Jeeze what’s going on there now? Do you know what’s happening between Carroll st and President? The lot that trucks park in? There has been activity there. Shoring up the canal and clearing debris. Not to mention the demolishing of the Plumbing building on Carroll and the canal. Right off the Carroll St Bridge. So many mysteries. Thanks again Katia!!

Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time fan of this blog and a 30-year resident of the neighborhood. I have the same deep suspicions of real estate developers as any other thinking New Yorker, and the same bad memories of Bill de Blasio's bad behavior around the Bond St spot rezoning. But, while using FOIL is a great move for holding public officials accountable, I disagree that this post is an example of great citizen journalism, and I think Katja needs to do better.

What I see here is a big flashy lede about Jared Kushner, including the 'we kept on hearing that...' innuendo that is completely unsupported by evidence, and then nothing at all about Kushner, Aby Rosen, or any other developers in the trove of emails. There's a lot to be said about the Gowanus rezoning, on both sides, without resorting to conspiracy theories and unsupported insinuations of corruption.

What I also see, for the most part, is Lander doing in private pretty much exactly what he's been doing for years in public:

- Acknowledging that some kind of rezoning of Gowanus is going to happen, and stating clearly that he thinks it should

- Working with local organizations like the FAC, which are mostly allies but occasionally adversaries

- Fighting to ensure that affordable housing is a core element of any rezoning and all development, and also to include the needs, voices, and interests of NYCHA residents

- Advocating for Gowanus to remain a mixed-use neighborhood that still has room for small-scale industry

We've all heard Lander say these things over and over again, and it's absolutely no surprise -- and is in fact pretty refreshing, in my book -- to see that he's taking exactly the same line in private. It's also no surprise to see him working with FAC and others. Consultation and collaboration is not a scandal, especially when a politician's private behavior is completely aligned with his public positions.

The last thing that becomes clear here is that so much of the vocal opposition consists of owners of multi-million dollar brownstones couching their opposition to more affordable housing in their neighborhood (and more density in an underserved area, which is indeed a real issue) in language about defending the 99%. I have very mixed feelings about the rezoning, and real concerns about how the potential for it to be another giveaway to developers, but this just doesn't feel to me like honest activism. It looks to me like the deceptions in this post come more from the blogger than from the politician.

Marlene said...

Ok, so I can understand masking email addresses, but why would the entire text of a government email from the DCP agent Jonathan Keller be masked? Who makes the decision to mask out information, and on what legal basis does the city get to keep that info secrete? Is this not the business of the city, the business of the People? Or are they protecting national security secrets at the city DCP?

It might be advisable for Jonathan Keller to just release to the public all the text of his emails on the Gowanus rezoning, starting with those sent to any government official, otherwise the blacked-out text will be left to the imagination of the reader. The secrecy just doesn't bode well for the claim that the Bridging Gowanus and the resulting rezoning is a "community" plan.

And thank you Katia for making the FOIL request and sharing this.
There is no democracy without transparency in government.

Katia said...

At least I had the civic courage to attach my name to the post. It is too easy to hide behind anonymity, Anon 9:48am

Anonymous said...

Brava Katia. As always, we rely on your insight, sleuthing, good humor and good will. Lander? A snake. Look at the mess he left in Cobble Hill. He worked to oust the experienced community members who were trying to follow his "framework" for LICH only to then have him work behind the scenes to oust the Cobble Hill Association's leadership at the critical time they were working to negotiate with their hands tied behind their backs (by Lander's back room deals with both the developer and deBlasio...) What happened? Lander forced out the all-volunteer and experienced land use civic leaders, failed to secure and protect one park (which gave more FAR to the developer and forced up a huge building up to 17 stories right next to 4 story brownstones in the historic district) and created even larger buildings with NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING, no school, no other community benefits - not even a say in what these ugly buildings look like in the Cobble Hill Historic District. The developer walked away from any discussion because of Lander and his hand-selected replacement community group. The the botched job in Cobble Hill and the distrust Lander sowed in the community lasts to this day. Lander needs to be shut down - permanently.

Unknown said...

BTW, we need to update that NYU drawing. The buildings along the canal all appear to be same height as Lightstone -- 12 stories. But that has all been rezoned for 22 stories, and in some places 28 to 30 stories. All those buildings along the canal need to be 2 1/2 times as tall -- as tall as the buildings in Gowanus Green! That rendering is a LIE!

Anonymous said...

I continuously expressed my skepticism over the whole Bridging Gowanus process. However, I felt that if we didn’t participate Brad would use that to his benefit. I also got the feeling he also tried to play various constituencies against one another and pit neighbor against neighbor. A lot of people attended various Bridging Gowanus events and many expressed the idea that things could evolve organically, existing structures could be repurposed - that was a no go for Brad. Interestingly, Public Place was excluded from the process so it’s inclusion (with towers) in the proposed plan was shocking to community members. Brad’s constituents participated in good faith. It was not part of our description as it was for staff of developers, lobbyists, not for profits, etc. It was a waste of our time and energy and Brad took advantage of our (albeit cautious) optimism (naïveté?) that community members would have a voice.

There was one very well attended meeting at Wyckoff where participants were asked what amenities they would like to see (green space, libraries, schools, etc.) and for each amenity you would have to add a story or two any new buildings. If my memory is correct, participants balked at this and Brad and PRATT assured us that the results would not be used in drafting a proposed plan but they were.

Brad has treated his constituents with nothing but disdain. My family, which includes young voters has never and will never vote for Brad.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. I can’t figure out that New York institute of technology model at all. What’s the pink. What’s the yellow. What streets are we seeing.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to explain some of the redaction:
We are aware that this proposed project violates certain basic laws of physics, like load-bearing capacity of infrastructure in the neighborhood. But fear not, Brad Lander has attained advanced degrees in physics and chemistry to address these concerns.

You may be wondering, why block out a comment about CSO tanks? Seems innocuous enough. Brad Lander (PhD, ESQ, LLC, YIMBY, NDA, LOL, STFU, ROFL) has recently achieved the ability to create black holes, and the proposed plan is for the excess sewage water created by the developments to be piped into a small black hole, created on the site! We were hesitant to reveal details about this wonderful and innovative solution, but are now prepared to explain how this wonderful new technology explains all manner of seeming inconsistency, including negative profits for extremely profitable businesses, the mystery of fancy apartment buildings that sit unoccupied (sneak preview: guess who lives in them... ghosts!), floating point error, and last but not least, floating shit error (i.e. floating shit... in your apartment! and in all of the new affordable housing, schools, and homes for the elderly. as during Sandy. Brad Lander shows up with his black hole, and ZAP! ZAP! Begone floating shit!).

Brad Lander, in his infinite wisdom, has addressed all of these problems in a (redacted, but otherwise) straightforward and transparent manner. And we must all bow down and accept his coronation, as deemed manifest by us in the real estate industry. (Oop! Did I say us? I meant, by the citizenry of New York, to whom he is beholden. I just meant that he's only allowed to do what we tell him, because we control his financial future.)


NV said...

Thank you for this in-depth investigation.

Unknown said...

Thank you Anon 12:35. About that "small black hole"...I think Brad Lander may be sitting on it.

Chris Tan said...

Yes. The post presents some cogent observations but it IS unfortunate to reply anonymously.

Anonymous said...

The reason for comments made by "Anonymous said" is very simple. We see it everyday where people who express their opinions or support for an issue, lose their job, do not get promoted
or get pushed aside. Katia's reputation as a blogger allows her the luxury of using her real name. I wish I could. Wish I could, When I retire from the City, it will not be a problem

Unknown said...

I just want to say that Community Boards are suppose to adhere to FOIL, but they rarely do because no one makes them and no one takes them to court to do so. Even when and if you take them to court, normally the political system will allow them to ignore the FOIL!

Second, you guys have done a wonderful job at seeing between the lines.
If you filed an Article 78 to get a lot of black outs redacted portions to be disclosed, sometimes you might find a jem.

However, you have to file the Article 78 at least 4 month after you have gotten a reply, however that has been waved in the case of the virus, so it is possible not do so.

One good thing about an Article 78 to challenge FOILs is the newest provision within the State law which demands that applicants be awarded attorney fees etc.. if it is determined that the City or government entity failed to comply with the FOIL and didn't not have a justifiable excuse not to adhere to.

And I'm glad you did such a wonderful job showing how these elected officials who come from non-profits, continue to use these non-profits to push their agendas. They secure money for them, etc.. and in return the non-profit's input is looked as "community engagement" when in fact it is simply a private non-profit working for the elected official.

Keep up the good work!

Margaret Maugenest said...

Alicia, so true about the "non-profits" who push political agendas, and taking this further, the politicians push the agendas of the developers - the biggest power in NYC are the developers. I go to so many meetings, and I scan the room and check out - who's on a payroll, who's not. All the nonprofit people are on payrolls - I speak of the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and the Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice who are are all very slick. Just look at their websites, where they get their support, who lines their pockets. Counter that with TRUE non-paid activism by the community. These are the REAL voices, guided by passion, true concern for the environment, etc., true seeking of justice. From the "Paids" all you get is lip service - hiding and furthering their true profit-motive agendas under the guise of concern and engagement. Take away their paychecks and see what you get!

Anonymous said...

"Consultation and collaboration"?

More a accurately: Coordinating and coercion

Anonymous said...

Can't help but imagine the black out on sewer tanks was due to obscene language, and a word or two about the EPA.

Anonymous said...

Katia, given current city budget problems, maybe they would like to avoid Artical 78 expenses and would release the info without any redactions if you just ask for the compete document.

Anonymous said...

I saw no mention of Two Trees which has a huge influence on De Blasio, Lander and more importantly Brooklyn city planning Officials.

No question that future Quid pro Quo for policy makers down the road.

The relationship between policy makers and developers is mired in the lobbying firms that act as go between and bag men

The community must get LOUD. That’s what they respect. The sheep pen that Lander was tasked with creating must be let open. NYCHA, The Manufacturing community are the most vulnerable. But the least respected. The Carroll garden residents and Boerum Hill residents and park slope residents are the fire wall.

The manufacturers now more than ever can play a critical needs role in our cities recovery. Why not give us the chance?

Thank you for your courage.
I hope I can be a productive part of a productive solution.

Gowanee said...

OMG the rezoning looks awful, out of context, and will destroy this part of Brooklyn, including open sky. Neighborhoods like Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens will also be greatly affected by the behemoths the rezoning wants to put in Gowanus. And the scale of this is CRAZY - all this, in a watershed, along the Gowanus canal with toxicity and CSO issues, on Brownfield lands containing toxic migrating plumes that can never be fully remediated - and sea levels rising means the Canal waters will be rising too. THIS IS INSANE!!!!

Unknown said...

This solid reporting completes the picture of Brad Lander as a politician who manipulates and distorts progressive ideals into backroom deals favoring large and unscrupulous developers like Kushner, Adams America and Slate Property Group.

He was caught last year jamming through a massing sweetheart deal that would pay Adams America and Slate (the developers who illegally evicted AIDS patients at another site) $10,000 in rent for each one bedroom apartment on 4th Avenue.

Now, he is running for Comptroller against an actual progressive leader, ranked as the most effective member of the city council (Brad doesn't even make the top half).

Maybe the Trump Organization has a job for Brad.

Anonymous said...

Council member Helen Rosenthal has dropped out of the comptroller race. But there is another challenger to Brad. State senator Brian Benjamin who represents the Upper Westside and Harlem is also running. Unlike Brad, he has a background in finance. I only recently found out about him.

Anonymous said...

This is such an important story, the NY Times should be made aware of this story and continue this great investigative reporting!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's why Gowanus rezoning is baked before the start of ULURP:
Mayoral promise of 300,000 affordable apartments; only 2,246 affordable apartments built after MIH law; +3,000 Gowanus apartments with 1,000 guaranteed as they are funded by the taxpayer.
Lander has to approve the rezoning regardless of negative impacts to surrounding communities.