Monday, March 4, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: As Bronx Borough President, mayoral hopeful Adolfo Carrion helped major developer who had arranged to provide him with an architect for home renovations

Unsealed Department of Investigations report says Carrion helped to get a $300 million residential and retail project moving by arranging an "urgent" meeting with two city agencies after the developer had complained to him.

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Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 2:30 AM


























 Adolfo Carrion in in his home on City Island, Bronx, New York. Phot by Victor M.Matos

Victor M. Matos/for New York Daily News

Adolfo Carrion Jr. in his home on City Island in The Bronx.

As a top city official, mayoral hopeful Adolfo Carrion went to bat for a major developer who had arranged to provide an architect for renovations to Carrion’s Bronx home, the Daily News has learned.
Carrion provided the help to developer Peter Fine when Carrion was Bronx Borough President and the developer was wrestling to win city approval for a $300 million project of apartments and retail space, Boricua Village.
Carrion arranged an “urgent” meeting with two city agencies in late 2006 after Fine complained that the project was “not moving forward” because of outstanding issues in the approval process, according to a secret report by the city Department of Investigation.
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Michael Schwartz/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The outside of Carrion's home.

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After Carrion’s intervention, the project, in the Melrose section of the Bronx, began moving again, and five months later, Carrion signed off on the development in his role as borough president.
The report — obtained under the Freedom of Information Act — adds new details to a relationship first exposed by The News.
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Mariela Lombard/for New York Daily News

Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. provided help to developer Peter Fine when the developer was trying to win city approval for a massive $300 million project that included apartments and retail space.

It previously had been disclosed that Fine had recommended one of his architects to Carrion, that the architect worked on the renovation of Carrion’s City Island home, and that Carrion later approved Fine’s massive development.
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The News also reported that Carrion did not pay the architect’s $4,247 bill for two years — until The News asked about it.
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HARBUS RICHARD/for New York Daily News

Carrion asked Fine to recommend an architect, and Fine suggested Hugo Subotovsky, who had been working on many of the developer’s projects in the Bronx — including Boricua Village.

But Carrion’s intervention with city agencies on behalf of the developer had not been disclosed until now.
Carrion announced his mayoral candidacy Tuesday, saying he is “not owned by special interests.” He has won the Independence Party’s endorsement and is seeking to run in the Republican Primary.
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Susan Watts/New York Daily News

Then-Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. stands in front of the Grand Concourse. In 2011, Carrion paid a $10,000 fine to the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board after admitting he delayed paying an the architect referred to him by developer Peter Fine, who was involved in construction projects in The Bronx.

In 2011, Carrion paid a $10,000 fine to the city Conflicts of Interest Board, admitting that when he delayed paying the architect, he had used his city position for personal gain.
Carrion’s problems began, according to the DOI report, when he asked Fine to recommend an architect, and Fine suggested Hugo Subotovsky, who had been working on many of the developer’s projects in the Bronx — including Boricua Village.
Fine later reached out to Carrion, saying the development had stalled. In response, “Carrion made an ‘urgent’ request” that the commissioners of the city departments of Planning and Housing Preservation sit down with the developer, DOI found.
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Mariela Lombard/for New York Daily News

The Department of Investigation concluded that Carrion ultimately paid “fair market value” for the architect’s work and “did not appear to have improperly used his influence on behalf of (the developer) in return for having been provided with (the architect’s) services.”

The meeting, on Oct. 23, 2006, took place in Carrion’s office. It included Fine, Subotovsky and unnamed officials of the two city agencies crucial to the project. Carrion and the city approved the project the spring of 2007.
DOI concluded that Carrion ultimately paid “fair market value” for the architect’s work, and so he “did not appear to have improperly used his influence on behalf of (the developer) in return for having been provided with (the architect’s) services.”
His campaign said Wednesday, “Mr. Carrion has repeatedly acknowledged that this was not handled in the best way possible. There has been a clear resolution to this issue and there is a public record of that resolution."
gsmith@nydailynews.com
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