Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Doctoroff and the NYC Conflict of Interests Board

The entire mess at the BTM and the role played by Deputy Dan would seem to compel a reevaluation of the original ruling by the NYC Conflict of Interest Board (COIB), the one that told Doctoroff that Steve Ross' assumption of his $4 million loan to NYC 2012 didn't constitute a conflict because:

Mr. Ross' guarantee predates your city service [which it did by four days] and inasmuch as you do not, by virtue of his guarantee, have a business or financial relationship with Mr. Ross...
The last four years exposes this ruling as a sham.

In the first place, the Board failed to adequately evaluate the Deputy Mayor's ongoing relationship and commitment to NYC 2012; indeed the Committee continued to list Doctoroff as its founder on all of its communications, even after he had entered into public service. In addition, the Board itself recognized that Ross was "one of the most active members and fundraisers for NYC2012," a role he continued to play well into the Bloomberg mayoralty.

It should also be pointed out, as everyone would now acknowledge, that the goal of obtaining the Olympic bid was a primary economic development objective of the administration. As such, Doctoroff's relationship with Ross, or better yet, using the Board's term - his "association" (That sounds just like the Giuliani-inspired mob busting carting regulations) - must be viewed as ongoing and not "predating".

If it is, than it is incumbent on the COIB to re-examine its original ruling. The ruling clearly stated that its "no conflict" determination was based on Docoroff's own "representations." Even if it were given only the publicly disclosed information that is currently available, the Board has enough data to find that an ongoing conflict exists. Compounding the seriousness of the situation is that Doctoroff, after the Board's finding, had voluntarily announced he would recuse himself from dealings with Mr. Ross and Related, another representation that cannot hold up to even minimal scrutiny.

That this is true can be clearly gleaned from a look at the machinations surrounding the immaculate deception at the Bronx Terminal Market. The key issue here is the FOILed document showing that the city had already earmarked the BTM site for the Olympic Velodrome in 2002, a full year before the Related lease deal for the market was finalized (And right in the middle of the COIB's inquiry). The Terminal Market was targeted, and Related was engaged, precisely because of its envisioned role as an Olympic venue.

As Jesse Masyr, Related's own attorney points out in the Tom Robbins story of April, 13, 2004, "Deputy Mayor Doctoroff did reach out to Related in 2002 for their development thoughts on the market." Of course he would, they were still on the same team. It is also exactly why Related, despite some fluctuating misinformation emanating out of City Hall and EDC, was given the exclusive option to wheel and deal with the Buntzmans at the BTM.