Tobacco Warehouse lawsuit reveals close relationship between major park players

January 19, 2011 02:55PM

The group suing to block the planned transfer of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Tobacco Warehouse to a private theater troupe are armed with a set of e-mails that reveal close ties between the theater group, Dumbo’s Walentas family and park president Regina Myer, according to the Daily News. In one exchange, Susan Feldman, artistic director of St. Ann’s Warehouse, which was ultimately picked to head a $15 million redevelopment project at the vacant site, apparently wrote to Myer: “I always come out of our meetings feeling a kinship with you and what you are trying to do in the park. I hope we can be a part of it.” She added: “I’m leaving two tickets for you tonight.”
The group of local advocates suing over the land grab is alleging that state officials secretly rezoned the Tobacco Warehouse site in order to remove it as a piece of federally-protected parkland protection and clear the way for private development. The Brooklyn Paper reported that a federal judge has already ordered an expedited hearing for the case, which is scheduled for next Thursday.

In other Brooklyn Bridge Park news, several other e-mails from developer Jed Walentas and his mother, Jane were also aired by the advocacy groups, highlighting the family’s vast influence on the neighborhood. (That’s the second Walentas e-mail to hit the press within a week’s time). In one e-mail, Jane Walentas wrote to Myer to apply pressure over the placement of the $5 million carousel they donated for the park. “Without us, there would never have been a Dumbo,” she wrotel. “I would think our commitment, contribution, and judgment should be respected and considered.” [NYDN] and [Brooklyn Paper]