The Mott Haven Herald has just published a very eye-opening article on just how deep lobbyists are in bed with our local politicians to make a deal with FreshDirect without community input.
As you read exclusively here last week, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr is now on the fence with the soccer stadium deal because of the fiasco over announcing FreshDirect move as a done deal almost two years ago.
According to the article:
“Because the consultants aren’t obliged to disclose their compensation and the lobbyists’ reports combine work related to the move to the Bronx with other lobbying on the company’s behalf, it is impossible to tell just how much FreshDirect has spent in its campaign to win approval for its move and the accompanying tax breaks and grants, but the reports suggest that it is at least $200,000.
Among those lobbied by the Parkside Group and Akerman Senterfitt LLP are a deputy mayor, the borough president, the heads of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, the city Economic Development Corporation and the state’s Empire Development Corporation, the counsel to the governor, City Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the Bronx director of the Dept. of City Planning and members of Community Board 1 and its district manager Cedric Loftin.
Parkside has represented FreshDirect since 2004, according to the records of the City Clerk. Through 2011, it was paid a retainer of $48,000 a year to advance FreshDirect’s interest in city and state legislation and in regulations concerning trucking and workman’s compensation.
In 2012, its fee shot up to $6,500 a month. Through the first six months of 2013, according to state and city records, it has earned $112,000 to lobby state, city and local officials in connection with FreshDirect’s move from Queens and the grants and subsidies that added up to $128 million.
Months before FreshDirect’s planned move was announced, Parkside officials met with Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel, with the borough president and with Seth Pinsky, then head of the Economic Development Corp., filings with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics show.”