Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Monday, August 24, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Donald Trump Connected To Sell-Off of NYC Libraries? This Explains Exactly How.

Does Donald Trump want media attention on this particular issue?  We'll see when asked.

The Donald, riding high in polls in his race to become president, is connected to the sale of New York City public libraries?  It turns out there is a connection.  As articles in the Huffington Post and Fair have pointed out, this is likely to get reported in The New York Observer only if the reporting of it helps Trump’s real estate business.  Why?  . .

Same thing that connects Trump to the sell-off of New York City Libraries in deals shortchanging the public, but significantly benefitting the wealthy and New York’s real estate industry. . .

What’s that connection? . .

. . .  Donald Trump is Jared Kushner’s father-in-law.  In October 2009, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and Kushner wed.  Kushner is not only the owner of The Observer, he was also, like Trump, born into a wealthy New York City real estate family.

This June, Scott Sherman, who had previously written a series of articles for The Nation on the subject, published a book about the New York Public Library’s losing its way in the pursuit of real estate deals, including the Donnell Library sale debacle that led the way: “Patience and Fortitude- Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library.”  A significant revelation in that book?: That Kushner family was in on the sale of the beloved Donnell Library from the outset.

Sherman’s book also provides new information that makes ultra-clear that the NYPL sold the Donnell Library to net less than anyone previously thought was the case.  The NYPL netted millions less than $33 million.  And that was for the sale of a 97,000 square foot five-story library, much of it recently renovated with public money on what was documented to be the most valuable block in Mid-Manhattan.  This was November 2007, at the height of the real estate boom.

Was Trump more involved than that?  Ivanka and Jared were dating when the Donnell sale was announced.  No one has ever indicated that Trump was, himself, directly involved in any of the connected real estate transactions like his son-in-law’s related purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue.  Did Trump ever at least look at the numbers underlying the deal?   In the spring of 2011 when, post-fiscal crisis, Kusnher’s 666 Fifth avenue deal was encountering cash flow difficulties the Wall Street Journal observed that “lenders don't expect other backers, including Mr. Trump, to come to Mr. Kushner's aid.”  The Journal quoted Mr. Trump about Jared, “He is a very smart young man. . .  I think it will come out well for him and everybody.”

Of course the real story here is how the public is losing out on the sale of New York City libraries benefitting just a wealthy few. . . a wealthy few who are part of a very small world at that.

Increasing income, political and wealth equality is one of the major themes of the current presidential race, something Trump might like to talk about again.

Yes, very small world: This is not the first time the issue of New York City library sell-offs has come up in the presidential race.  Over on the Democratic side, candidate Hillary Clinton has located her national campaign headquarters in a building that, for real estate development purposes, is part of a major central destination library in Downtown Brooklyn now proposed to be sold and shrunk by the city, turned over to a developer for a fraction of its public value.  The deal proposing to sell and shrink that library is closely modeled on the Donnell Library sale conceived at the same time with some of the same people in the background. . .

What library in Brooklyn is being sold?  It’s the one on Cadman Plaza West at the corner of Tillary and Clinton.  Yes, Tillary & Clinton.

Carolyn E. McIntyre, Michael D. D. White
Michael White, 718-834-6184, mddwhite [at] aol.com
Carolyn McIntyre, 917-757-6542 cemac62 [at] aol.com

Follow us on Twitter: @defendinglibraries

For photos and videos of prior Citizens Defending Libraries rallies opposing the sale, shrinkage, underfunding of New York City libraries, and elimination of books and librarians in the year and a half since its founding, see:



See also our latest masterpiece video (3 minutes 50 seconds):  Selling Our Libraries!


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