Saturday, July 21, 2007

DOCTOROFF FADES IN

As Dan Doctoroff continues to channel Robert Moses, the back room deals just keep on coming. Last week, Doctoroff, Elliot Spitzer, and other notables announced a grand plan for the West Side rail yards. Doctoroff waxed eloquent in regards to the wonderful building legacy the development would mean to New York City. What he committed was the wonderful monetary legacy the development would mean to him.

450 W. 33rd St


Juan Gonzalez, a columnist at the Daily News, has done an extensive report on the personal profiteering by Daniel Doctoroff and his various business partners as a
result of the West Side Stadium deal with the Jets and seeming special treatment by the Department of City Planning, a department under Doctoroff's supervision. Below some of the story is digested and broken into component parts, but you can still read the two part original report in its entirety.
The original columns are at the Daily News:

Description


Two-block pyramid office building that sits directly across Tenth Avenue from the West Side railyard

THE DEAL


Decemebr 2003, refinanced (who?) a 16-story office building in the Hudson Yards area through $330 million in loans and equity.
The deal closed two months after top staff at the Department of City Planning - an agency supervised by Doctoroff - gave initial approval to an unusual rezoning proposal that was tailored for the building.
(how did DD and partners profit?)

Doctoroff was one of the investors in the building when its managing partners began their negotiations with the city for the change.

THE PERSONAL BENEFIT

The rezoning permits the building's current owners to demolish the structure and replace it with a commercial and residential complex larger than Time Warner's mammoth 2.8 million-square-foot building at Columbus Circle.

DOCTOROFF's INTEREST


Doctoroff has said he held a minor, noncontrolling stake of "less than 2%" in one of the partnerships that bought the building jointly with three other real estate groups in 1999 for $220 million. But, Texas billionaire Robert Bass, the deputy mayor's former employer and longtime business partner, was the main investor in the real estate group. The investment group is a limited liability company named after the address of the property: FW 450 West 33rd St. LLC.

Doctoroff's personal lawyer, David Lakhdhir, has said that the deputy mayor's original equity interest in the building was worth "approximately $71,000." Lakhdhir declined to disclose precisely when the deputy mayor divested from the building, except to say that it was sometime in "late 2003." He also refused to say how much he profited. "It was not a material amount," Lakhdhir said.

What's "material" for Doctoroff might be quite different than for you and me.
- Juan Gonzalez http://nydailynews.com/front/story/294120p-251827c.html

At Doctoroff's request, one of his trusts - the one that manages his numerous private investments with Bass - sold off Doctoroff's shares in the 33rd St. building, as well as a half-dozen other mid-Manhattan office buildings, after he joined the Bloomberg administration. But again a date was not disclosed.

OTHER DETAIL:


Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, does report directly to Doctoroff, but Burden's staff handles rezoning matters. There is a record of an email exchange from May 14th, 2004 between Doctoroff's office and CPC regarding 450 West 33rd Street. (see Gonzalez article too), although the contents of that email the city claims are party of interagency deliberations thus exempt from public disclosure.

Other CPC staff E-mails indicates that a month after the May 14 E-mail exchange with Doctoroff's office, department staff added a second, more lucrative enhancement to the proposed rezoning for the 33rd St. building.
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