Friday, March 11, 2011

Lightning Keeps Striking: It Couldn’t Happen To Some More Deserving People . . Over and Over, Again- Ratner, Illegal Bribes and Jay-Z and Beyoncé

We wouldn’t want to indulge in speculation because sometimes you just don’t know . . . or do you?

Sometimes stories just have a way of coming together. . . and then you think about them. And when you think about them they come together even more.

Right now Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Reports is pulling together two parallel stories where the (speculative?) non-coincidence of repeated patterns is so clear that even the New York Times has begun to cover the community complaints that (Times real estate business partner) Forest City Ratner may have a pattern of getting a repeated pass in more than one scenario for making (and benefitting from) illegal bribes to government officials.

Attracting Lightning

It’s that OMG-lightning keeps striking in the same place phenomenon. It may startle you, but if you know your science then you know that not only can lightning keep striking the same place, if the conditions are there it is quite likely to.

Suspense and . .

It may also be described as the couldn’t happen to a better person phenomenon. That is to say that sometimes when you have watched the operations of a firm like Forest City Ratner closely for a long time you have found yourself wondering for just how long they are going to escape the consequence of a certain style of heinously cynical conduct. Looks like the answer may be not much longer. . . or, at least, not forever.

Background and Links to Research the Details
Here, quickly, are pertinent links to the two stories respecting Forest City payments going to bribe government officials for development benefits:
Ridge Hill In Yonkers (involves buying approval for the $630 million,1000-apartment, 81-acre Ridge Hill Forest City Ratner Project in Yonkers). Thursday, January 7, 2010, Got “Bilked?” The New York Times Biased Report on Federal Investigation Involving Forest City Ratner, Thursday, March 11, 2010, The mystery of Ridge Hill: however FCR avoided indictment, does the developer remain (as per ESDC) "a good corporate citizen"?, Wednesday, January 06, 2010, Forest City Ratner, unnamed/unindicted, cited as giving indicted man consulting job after he got Yonkers Council Member to change vote on Ridge Hill, Saturday, April 10, 2010, Overstated allegation that Yonkers pol was indicted for "accepting a bribe from Ratner" subject of heated exchange among lawyers in remaining AY case, Friday, March 19, 2010, Legal payoffs, dubious payments, FCR's corporate ethics, and the continuing mystery of Ridge Hill

Senator Carl Kruger Indictments (involves an effort to get Forest City Ratner excused from a $9 million obligation to fund its building of the Carlton Avenue Bridge for its Atlantic Yards mega-development.) Friday, March 11, 2011, Two unanswered questions in the Kruger case: Does the ESDC still trust FCR? Why did FCR try to get the state to pay for its bridge obligation?, Thursday, March 10, 2011, Yes, Kruger corruption charges involve Atlantic Yards; unnamed "Developer #1" is FCR; Bender: "I don't mind fucking the Carlton Avenue Bridge" March 10, 2011, Yes, Kruger corruption charges involve Atlantic Yards; unnamed "Developer #1" is FCR; Bender: "I don't mind fucking the Carlton Avenue Bridge" March 10, 2011, $leaze rap for top pol, March 10, 2011 Krugerpalooza!
As some of the links above will allow you to find out, Forest City Ratner has not yet been indicted with respect to the illegal bribes to government officials from which it benefitted substantially. We await the day. In that regard Mr. Oder observes about the Kruger indictments:
If Forest City Ratner, which is not named, is not a target, this might be a repeat of Ridge Hill, in which the developer benefits from apparent corruption but is not penalized.
Lightning Attracted Here- Lightning Attracted There- Let’s Link It Up

In terms of pulling things together on the lightning-keeps-striking front we’d like to do our Noticing New York bit to link the two now conjoining scenarios of Forest City Ratner bribing government officials with another set of lightning-keeps-striking scenarios that were the subject of our last Noticing New York post: An Insert Preview - Music Superstar Ethics: How Completely You Can Sell “You can say what you say, but you are what you are.” Jay-Zzzzus! (Wednesday, March 9, 2011).

In that last post we linked:
• the is-this-really-a-coincidence involvement of Jay-Z with both the Atlantic Yards and Aqueduct Race political scandals (and you might also throw in his problematic Yankee fandom represented by his signature Yankee hat), with

• the appearance that Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé, made performing for the delectation of Libyan Dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s family, for which she was paid an estimated $1 million or more.
With the help of ethicist Randy Cohen and a handy supplemental NPR report we went into an appreciable amount detail evaluating the ethics of these situations and describing why there is a lightning-strikes-here effect for this kind of conduct in the pop superstar music business together with what Jay-Z and Beyoncé really ought to be doing with respect to Muammar Gaddafi, and, more important for Brooklyn, what this husband and wife team should be doing with respect to Mr. Ratner, a man both of them have made pop-star appearances to support.

Our Noticing New York question for these superstars continues to be: When, for ethical reasons, are they going to stop supporting Mr. Ratner . . . and perhaps pay reparations to the community by donating moneys involved to an organization like Develop Don’t Destroy.

Come on, guys- - Come on, Jay-Z. How many incidents like these indictments involving Forest City bribes to government officials have to mount up before your ethics kick in and you and Beyoncé walk away from Mr. Ratner? As Norman Oder points out, these wiretapped “f**k the bridge” bribe conversations are evidence that Forest City Ratner is really “scrounging.” Small picture, they are scrounging in ways that show a lack of commitment to the bridge but that is just filling in the details because, big picture, Forest City Ratner, with all its shenanigans has always shown a lack of commitment for the community.

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