Leaked Walentas e-mail references Dock Street “racial mess”

January 12, 2011 04:38PM

Dumbo developer Jed Walentas ran into some hot water this morning when the Brooklyn Paper published a year-old e-mail exchange in which his language sounds somewhat less than politically correct. “The opposition is clearly panicked and turned out 75 or so folks,” he wrote to Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer, recapping a public hearing on his controversial Dock Street project, set to include residences and a public middle school. Fort Greene Council member Tish James and Marty Markowitz “agreed to not turn out dozens from the projects and make it a total racial mess… I got very good vibes from Marty and his staff,” he added. While the e-mail has sparked accusations of collusion between developers and politicians, in a statement, Two Trees said Walentas’ words have been misunderstood. According to the company, Walentas was referring to the debate over whether a new public school would attract throngs of minority students when he referenced a “racial mess.” Per the statement: “Some of the opposition was well meaning, but there was an undercurrent that was particularly opposed to the school if it was open to students from throughout District 13, and not just Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo.” (Brooklyn’s District 13 also includes areas of Fort Greene, Bedford Stuyvesant and Clinton Hill). “I think the elected officials wanted to keep the focus on the merits of the land-use issues,” the statement said. [Brooklyn Paper]