Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lest We Forget....

There have been plenty of articles in the blogsphere and press about the jump in lobbying dollars spent in Albany with Ratty the # 3 spender.....
Loyal No Land Grab readers will recall that in a double 'screw you' to taxpayers -the NY Yankee's organization was able to get their lobbyists paid for by the state. We can probably expect Ratner to do the same, and then some. Is this a system out of control? You bet.

My question: what exactly do legislators get from lobbyists? Bribes? or are just take a few dinners and tickets to the Knicks (having worked briefly in an investment house, I discovered, first hand how much that influence someone) ; or are they simply the source of information on subjects on which legislators are otherwise uninformed (the Middle East is a striking example) or does the intensity of the lobbyists and their omnipresence just spook legislators into thinking 'if i don't vote for this the public will be against me"....

Well, we know what Ratner gets:

Report: Ratner among state lobby leaders

By Amy Zimmer

Forest City Ratner spent roughly $2.11 million on lobbying efforts last year for its $4 billion Atlantic Yards development plan, making it the state’s third highest spender, trailing a health care lobbyist group and Verizon. The state’s recently released figures prompted outcry yesterday from project foe Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

The group criticized Forest City Ratner for its spending on lobbyists in light of recent news that rather than having the developer dip into its own pockets to pay the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the rights to build over the rail yards, the city may cough up an additional $100 million in taxpayer money for the 8.5-acre parcel of the 22-acre site.

The largest single lobbying contract in 2006 was the $656,520 Forest City Ratner paid the Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson firm. The report also shows that Forest City Ratner employed eight different lobby firms last year.

100 million (and them some) for a paltry 2.2 million dollars? Not a bad ROA.

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