Mayor Bill de Blasio is being accused of showing preferential treatment to a developer after awarding a bid to transform a Brooklyn library into a residential skyscraper.
The Hudson Cos. bid $52 million for development rights to the Brooklyn Heights Library, $6 million and $1 million less than two other bidders, according to the New York Post. The CEO of Hudson is mayoral friend and fundraiser David Kramer.
Kramer bid lower and proposed placing the required affordable housing units off-site — something de Blasio has spoken out against. Nearly all the other bidders put the affordable units in the same building on Clinton Street, a source familiar with the matter told the Post.
“This is a sweetheart deal to a politically connected supporter, directly contrary to de Blasio’s stated goals for development projects,” said one source familiar with the bids. “He was not going to be the winning guy pre-de-Blasio.”
Kramer and his wife donated more than $9,000 to de Blasio’s public-advocate and mayoral campaigns since 2007. However, de Blasio returned all but $400 of the cash because Kramer’s company did business with the city.
A Brooklyn Public Library spokesperson responded to the accusations saying:
“Hudson Companies offered by far the best bid for our library patrons and the community at large – including not only a very competitive purchase price, but short construction timelines, stringent contract provisions, the highest number of affordable housing units, a guaranteed interim library space, and a track record of delivering on projects of this size and complexity. We are confident that Hudson is a strong development partner that will deliver a world-class library to the Brooklyn Heights community, and we look forward to working with them.” [NYP] –Christopher Cameron