Pay-To-Say. "What we don't need is another big box store," embattled Brooklyn State Sen. Carl Kruger said at the February 17, 2011 Economic Development Corporation Public Scoping meeting for its controversial Four Sparrow Marsh Retail Mall project. Sen Kruger asked that officials protect the community from becoming "a dumping ground for more big box development that's just sucking the lifeblood out of small merchants from our community." Federal investigators say a well known lobbyist funneled $252,000 from the Food and Commercial Workers Union to Kruger to speak out against Walmart and other big box stores in the proposed Mill Basin project.
Sen. Kruger used his political muscle to hold up a Bloomberg administration project in Brooklyn for at least three years to benefit developer Forest City Ratner (FCR).
According to the complaint, in December 2010 Bruce R. Bender - a vice president for government relations and public relations at FCR - asked Kruger for $11 million in state funds for three FCR projects in Brooklyn – including $ 2 million for the Four Sparrow Mill Basin project, and another $4 million to renovate for the Lakeside skating rink in Prospect Park near Bender’s Park Slope home. Amy Bender, Bruce's wife, is a board member for the fundraising organization Prospect Park Alliance. In a federal complaint that was unsealed on Thursday Sen. Carl Kruger (D) who represents District 27 in the New York State Senate - is accused of trading political favors for more than $1 million in bribes the past five years.
EDC is proposing to seize 15 acres of public parkland under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department to expand a nearby retail shopping site.
(Photos: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) Click on images to enlarge.
All In The Family. "Another thing we will not consider - and I haven't spoken to anybody legally - is a Walmart," Dorothy Turano District Manager of Community Board 18 said at EDC's February 17th Four Sparrow Marsh Retail Mall scoping meeting. "Walmart is dying to get into our communities," she said to applause. "We don't want it. We'd like to see if there's some way to keep them out permanently... We have to protect our community."
Ms. Turano's son Michael was indicted on Thursday along with State Sen. Carl Kruger on corruption charges. Michael is accused of using bribe money he deposited in two shell companies for Kruger to pay the lease on a Bentley luxury sedan, credit-card bills and the mortgage on the garish, multimillion-dollar Mill Basin home of his mother.
(The city is spending $7 million in taxpayer money on a 4,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art office building for Brooklyn community board 18 that has only two employees - state Sen. Carl Kruger's companion, Dorothy Turano and Kruger's sister, Marlene Berger, who works for the board as its secretary.)
State Sen. Carl Kruger -- who is facing federal corruption charges in an alleged pay-to-play scheme -- used his political muscle to hold up a Bloomberg administration project in Brooklyn at least three years to benefit a favored developer also highlighted in the embattled pol’s criminal complaint, the Post has learned.
At issue is a 15-acre city project that includes a new retail center in Mill Basin, built by developer Forest City Ratner. The project, along Flatbush Avenue, is also supposed to hold a Cadillac car dealership. The site currently houses a Toys-R-Us store.
Kruger (D-Brooklyn) sent former Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber a scathing letter in January 2008 threatening to sue the city because it wanted to begin the mandatory public review process on the dealership’s portion of the project, without FCR’s part.
At the time, the car dealership plan was in jeopardy if the city didn’t move quickly, but FCR wasn’t ready to begin a public review – and was concerned that segmenting the project could hurt its plans, sources said.
“It is our intent, and the shared intent of the community and other elected officials, to commence legal action if necessary,” Kruger said in the letter.
The city ultimately gave in to Kruger’s demands, but luckily was able to save the dealership deal. Last month, the entire project’s public review finally began.
“He cost the city three years it can’t get back on a project that already faces a lot of opposition,“ said one city official.
Kruger and Bruce Bender, a vice president for government relations at FCR, are longtime allies who both got their starts in Southern Brooklyn’s Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club.
According to the complaint, Bender in December asked Kruger for $11 million in state funds for two FCR projects in Brooklyn – the Mill Basin project and Atlantic Yards – and another $4 million to renovate a Prospect Park skating rink near Bender’s Park Slope home.
Kruger later offered a total of $4.5 million, and both men agreed the money should go towards the park project. Bender’s wife is a board member for the fundraising organization Prospect Park Alliance. - Geoffrey Croft
New York Post - March 13, 2011- By Rich Calder