The law firm aiding Mayor Bill de Blasio in his fight against a federal campaign finance investigation is also working with Jewish Home Lifecare, the developer of a controversial 20-story nursing home on the Upper West Side, which de Blasio has supported.
Law firm Kramer Levin has lobbied the mayor on the behalf of various developers since de Blasio took office in 2014. One of the firm’s partners, Barry Berke, is also a campaign treasurer for the mayor, the New York Daily News reported.
The firm is working with JHL on its 97th Street project, in which the developer hopes, among other things, to dig up a lead-tainted parking lot adjacent to P.S. 163. Residents have fought the project for years. It passed an environmental review last year, but that review was vacated by the New York Supreme Court in December.
The developer is seeking to overturn that ruling. De Blasio’s office filed an amicus brief on that case in March.
“That is an example of where the relationships bump into one another and it would be best to keep them apart,” Dick Dadey of watchdog group Citizens Union told the Daily News. “It does give the impression of a conflict even though there’s nothing necessarily inappropriate here.”
The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also come out in support of JHL. [NYDN] – Ariel Stulberg