Eric Adams’ future economic czar will stay in the private sector

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Carlo Scissura, then president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, speaks about the borough’s development, July 25, 2013. | Screenshot/TV CUNY


This article has been originally published to through THE CITY

Mayor Eric Adams’ announced choice to lead the city’s powerful economic development corporation won’t take the job after all.

Carlo Scissura told THE CITY he would remain president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, saying in a statement that he was “delighted to recommit to this historic organization.”

“This is the best way I can serve the people of our city and state at this crucial time, to ensure that we build reliable public transit, schools, open spaces and other crucial infrastructure that make advance New York,” he said.

THE CITY reported last month that Scissura was secretly paid to defend the interests of a landlord he called a “friend” in his dealings with city agencies – but city and state records show he didn’t is never registered as a lobbyist.

Scissura’s potential appointment to EDC, reported by Real Dealwas one of several high-profile Adams picks that have come under ethical scrutiny.

This list includes Phil Banks – a unindicted co-conspirator in a major corruption case linked to the NYPD – who was appointed deputy mayor for public safety. adam too hired his brother Bernard to run his security – originally at $210,000, cut his salary to $1 a year after the city’s Conflict of Interest Commission ruled that giving paid employment to a family member would violate ethics rules.

Sources tell THE CITY that another controversial Adams appointee, chief of staff Frank Carone, insisted that Scissura take the job at EDC, which controls a nonprofit entity with significant real estate and 2 billion dollars a year in contracts with the town hall. Carone was previously an attorney for the Kings County Democratic Party and a power broker in Brooklyn politics.

City hall tightened its scrutiny after THE CITY’s report, according to people familiar with the situation, and Scissura has retained the services of a lawyer to help with the process.

A spokesperson for Adams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Monday, Adams announced two new appointments dubbed “economic development” officials, Vilda Vera Mayuga as commissioner of the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Jose Ortiz Jr. as senior adviser for labor development. -work.

Rachel Loeb, an appointee of Mayor Bill de Blasio, continues to serve as EDC’s President and CEO. She told board members at a meeting last week that it was her last in the role. EDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Real estate

In a 2018 deal shared with THE CITY, Scissura agreed to help real estate owner Tim Ziss sell five lots in south Brooklyn, while running the Building Congress. They included the site of a former Nathan’s Famous restaurant in Dyker Heights which was later sold to the School Construction Authority for over $25 million, double what Ziss had paid six months earlier.

He also agreed to help Ziss take over an affordable housing complex in Astoria, Queens – something the city’s real estate agencies said had delayed much-needed repairs to crumbling apartments.

Hiram Alejandro Durán/ THE CITY
The Bridgeview III apartments in Astoria, Queens.

Tenants of Bridgeview III, a 171-unit, eight-story complex near Astoria Park, told THE CITY their apartments often lacked heat and needed major repairs.

Officials from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Housing Development Corporation had a legal battle with Ziss out of concern for the tenants, according to court documents. They alleged that his attempts to take control of the building kept the apartments in shambles and that lawsuits filed by Ziss blocked the sale of the building to another owner.

Scissura was promised a $100,000 bounty if he was successful in securing a deal with the city for Bridgeview, according to the contract.

In a statement to THE CITY, he said he told Ziss he couldn’t perform the job described after signing the contract and didn’t receive the bonus.

The contract appeared to describe lobbying activities and should have been registered, lobbying experts told THE CITY. For lobbyists, a performance bonus — also known as a “contingent retainer” — is illegal according to the city clerk, who oversees lobbying in the five boroughs.

A spokesperson for the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which oversees state-level lobbying, did not respond to a request for comment. The City Clerk’s General Counsel wrote in an email that the office has “a firm policy of not commenting on, or even acknowledging the existence of, any ongoing investigation.”

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