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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Love Brooklyn Libraries Files Complaint With Attorney General Eric Schneiderman That Brooklyn Public Library Understates Capital Funds In Order to Sell Heights Library

There is significant breaking news as January turns into February: A newly formed group, Love Brooklyn Libraries has filed a complaint with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the Brooklyn Public Library has understated its capital funds in order to promote and rationalize the sale of the central destination Downtown Brooklyn Heights Library.  Approval of the proposed library sale was planned to go before Brooklyn's Borough Board February 2nd, but the board's consideration was postponed after the information concerning the complaint was outlined for the Brooklyn Borough President’s office.

Claiming poverty while the city is flush with surplus cash, the BPL is proposing to sell the valuable library, Brooklyn second largest, for a fraction of its value, less than they would get for a vacant lot.  At a time of escalating library use, the recently expanded and fully ungraded library would cost over $120 million to replace, but the BPL would sell it to net probably less than $25 million at best and would replace it with a shrunken library of less than 42% with much of the public space moved underground.

The complaint filed by Love Brooklyn Libraries breaks important new ground and builds upon what has previously been pointed out to public officials about how the secretive BPL is playing games to to promote and find excuses for the sale of the library that amounts to a profound public loss while greatly benefitting a developer making political contributions to Mayor di Blasio and others.

The complaint filed with the Attorney General should also be viewed against the background of the letter from NYC comptroller Scott Stringer noting that, “of particular concern” with respect to the BPL’s proposal is the “lack of a comprehensive public plan to address the capital needs of the library system” and that the Brooklyn Public Library:
“BPL has not provided the public with a comprehensive capital plan that explains how the one-time revenue from the sale of BHL will fix those needs. Indeed, the projected revenue from the BHL plan will cover less than one-fifth of the stated need and will not increase revenue to the library over the long-term.”
The comptroller has recently observed that the city is in a time of plenty with no out-year budget gaps in the future.  Selling off libraries, the de Blasio is acting like these are lean years and the Comptroller noted that: “It is simply unsustainable for the City to rely solely on the disposition of property to cover capital needs without fixing the systematic causes for the capital gap.”

Here is the reporting about the compliant and the postponement of the Brooklyn Borough Board vote.

    •    Brooklyn Daily Eagle:  Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Community group claims Brooklyn Public Library understates capital funds, by Rob Abruzzese, January 26, 2016.
The Brooklyn Public Library has more money than it’s letting on, according to a new organization called Love Brooklyn Libraries (LBL).

LBL was created in an effort to keep the Brooklyn Heights Library from being sold and developed. Aiming to prove its allegations, the group has filed a complaint with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, accusing the library of misrepresenting its capital funds for a real estate grab.

“The Brooklyn Public Library is hiding the money so that they can do the real estate deal," said LBL President Marsha Rimler. [USE THE LINK TO READ MORE]
    •    Brooklyn Daily Eagle: Brooklyn Borough Board to delay Heights Library vote, Borough Hall `needs additional time to review', By Mary Frost
Brooklyn's Borough Board will not be voting as planned on Tuesday on the contentious issue of the sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library site to a developer.

According to the group Love Brooklyn Libraries (LBL), Borough Hall removed the item from the Board's agenda after a meeting between Andrew Gournardes, counsel to Borough President Eric Adams, and LBL officers last Thursday.

A spokesperson for the borough president told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday that "Borough Hall needed additional time to review the proposal."

LBL filed a complaint letter with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Jan. 15 which contends that Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) has been misrepresenting its capital funds in order to facilitate a real estate grab.

The library has claimed to have received a total of $84 million from Fiscal Year 2008 through Fiscal Year 2013, but LBL says that its own research shows a budget of $145 million over the same time span.

LBL's vice president Laurie Frey told the Eagle last Thursday, "Brooklyn Public Library is Pinocchio sitting on a pile of money. Their nose keeps getting longer and longer every time they say 'We don't have enough. We need more.' Love Brooklyn Libraries is calling for the truth."

* * * *

Love Brooklyn Libraries claims that BPL is "gaming" the system by spreading its capital funds among 145 - 150 line-item projects in 48 branch libraries.

"In other words, it appears that BPL is gaming the system to manufacture a work slowdown or "deferred maintenance crisis," LBL says.

"When the false premise of capital `underfunding' is dispelled, there is no longer a reason for going forward and irreversibly harming Brooklyn's public trust for public land," LBL adds.  [USE THE LINK TO READ MORE]
Here is a comment from Citizens Defending Libraries to the first article that for an unsolved technical reason has been repeatedly deleted from the Brooklyn Eagle site, but is available on Facebook:
This is a welcome addition to the critical fight we are waging against the plundering sale of our libraries. The filing of a complaint with the Attorney General should help force Eric Schneiderman's office to cross reference the information LBL supplied with the information we at Citizens Defending Libraries previously supplied to that office about irregularities concerning the proposed library sale and motivate him to get moving seriously on a long overdue investigation. (Also look at the BPL board of trustees: Brooklyn Public Library Trustees- Identified + Biographical and Other Information Supplied)

With the work that has been done there is much more than an obvious trail of bread crumbs to be followed by those who should be investigating what is going on at the BPL with this sale, a precursor to others (itself a recreation of what the NYPL did with Donnell). Those investigating should include, among others, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's office whose new "Research and Investigation Unit" Comptroller Stringer says he formed because it "will enable us to dig even deeper into the agencies we audit as we fulfill our mandate to root out fraud and save City taxpayers' hard-earned money."

The BPL is proposing to sell the library to net a minuscule fraction of its value (maybe less than $25 million) without ever having considered the value of this asset to the public from the public's perspective, an asset that would cost $120+ million to replace. That is certainly something that those with investigative power such as Stringer and his "Research and Investigation Unit" should be looking into especial since Stringer indicated he formed the unit "not content to merely audit" . . Frankly, this should not even pass a basic standard audit.

We don't know exactly what LBL is presenting about what it has found, but, from consulting with Latinos For Libraries (another group opposing this sale), it sounds consistent with what we know to be significant matters with respect to the BPL's budget that need to be looked at and that were brought to the attention of Councilman Levin who seemed mostly interested in burying the issue and getting Councilman Landers' assistance to bury it. (Lander was a major and key promoter of this and other library sales.)

Big picture, there is absolutely no question there is a shell game going on with library financial matters. Library use is way up, de Blasio has a $4.5 billion budget surplus, libraries cost a relative pittance to fund, and this library sale is blamed on lack of funds?

As for the library spokesperson (Madeline Kaye of BerlinRosen?) saying that the sale "was approved after a transparent and rigorous public review process," that's utter hogwash. The library sale was planned in 2007, not disclosed until 2013, and the public was never given a chance to weigh in on whether this plan benefitting developers, not the pubic, made any sense at all or what alternative should have been pursued. And then there was Steve Levin's last minute unveiling of a backroom deal with City Hall and Development Mayor Alicia Glen raiding department of Education Funds to push this through- Something else to be investigated.
Also relevant to the Brooklyn Borough Board vote is the following with respect to a long overdue letter demanding transparency that City Councilman has promised he will send to the Brooklyn Public Library.

    •     Citizens Defending Libraries: Open Letter To Councilman Steve Levin About His Letter To Brooklyn Public Library Demanding Transparency About Library Sale, Sunday, January 31, 2016.

Below are two tables documenting some of the figures that Love Brooklyn Libraries has brought to light.
Table A- Click to enlarge, printable if you wish
Table B
Addendum to the above: Marsha Rimler referenced as Love Brooklyn Libraries President in the press coverage above did not continue in that position per the letter dated February 6, 2016 below issued by LBL's officers and distributed to elected officials, press and others. 
Love Brooklyn Libraries letter to elected officials and distributed to press and others about status of officers- Click to enlarge or print


Open Letter To Councilman Steve Levin About His Letter To Brooklyn Public Library Demanding Transparency About Library Sales

Councilman Stephen T. Levin
District Office
410 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11217

 Legislative Office
250 Broadway, 1820
New York, New York 10007

Re: Demanding transparency from the Brooklyn Public Library

Dear Councilman Levin,

You are still our city councilman for the 33rd.  You are the one we must work with to get done the basic things we depend on our City Council representative to do in this Brooklyn district.  That puts us in an awkward place to make requests that you do your job given our perception that you betrayed the community with respect to the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library.

That said, this letter is to request that you send a letter, expecting to take appropriate follow-up action, to the Brooklyn Public Library demanding transparency about the sale of the library and the BPL’s plans with respect to other Brooklyn libraries.

We do not ask you to do this because you, at the end of 2014, promised us that you would, at a minimum, insist on transparency, but we remind you that you did make that promise.

We do not ask you to do this because you were promising that you would send a letter to the BPL to demand such transparency in the spring and summer of 2015, but you did at that time assure us that you would follow through in this way.

We ask you to do this because insisting on basic transparency in these matters in a fundamental obligation of the elected office of City Councilman that you hold.

When I spoke to you yet again in follow-up as to this matter on January 6, 2016 after the community meeting to discuss the proposed sale for development of the Pineapple Walk property owned by the 75 Henry Street co-op, you, indeed, said that you would finally follow through in this obligation.*
(* We cannot escape noting, in passing, how indistinguishable in principle from the library sale is the passionately opposed sale of this property to build an another 40 story tower that will similarly shadow Cadman Plaza Park, except for the fact that the 75 Henry Street sale does not involve the shrinkage of a library down to 42% of its previous size or the sale of vluable public property for far less than what it would cost to replace the asset.)
In this regard, you then asked for a draft of the letter we would want you to send, but I reminded you (as you could hardly have forgotten), that you already had such a draft and had been sitting on it since spring 2015.

I am resupplying you below with what is essentially the draft letter that was previously provided to you.  Our previous unpublished communications about your finalizing and sending such a letter have obviously not been fruitful.  As such, I am furnishing this draft to you by open letter as we await your follow-though.  The background circumstances being such as they are, including the backroom deal arranged with multiple parties to the development unveiled at the last minute before the City Council votes, we no longer have any anticipation that as the letter you might send is refined, sharpened or otherwise modified, that you would keep it confidential from others such as the BPL or developer.  (You have noted, and we respect, that any letter you send demanding transparency will ultimately be your own composition.)

You never sent your promised letter, nor have you taken steps to insist on transparency, despite the fact that it has been an inordinately long time.  Accordingly, we have had to speculate on why, especially with consideration of the Brooklyn Heights Library pending, you never followed through to make these requests.  Our best reckoning is that you don't disagree with us that the proposed sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library would not have withstood the additional scrutiny that would have ensued from this transparency, or perhaps even the request for it.  That does not prevent you from sending the letter now, nor does it change the fact that it should be your inescapable obligation to do so immediately.

As a matter of history, we certainly do not think that you, the City Council or anyone else should have voted for the sale and shrinkage of the library with such a letter presented and unresponded to.  We also do not think that any such votes should have taken place without a letter such as this first being sent.  Lastly, we do not think that any more such votes should occur without a letter such as this being sent and responded to, and that includes the pending votes with respect to the library sale of the Brooklyn Borough Board and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Now so that you will be impelled to finally act, we now publicly resupply you the draft letter below.
Draft For Steve Levin Letter To Send To Brooklyn Public Library Demanding Transparency From BPL
June 15, 2015/January 31, 2016

Linda E. Johnson, President
Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, New York 11238

Re:  Request for transparency concerning the Brooklyn Heights Library

Dear Ms. Johnson:

I believe that we all agree that transparency is important, especially when it comes to something as important and significant to the public’s interest as selling our libraries and deciding whether to shrink them.  I also feel that as it relates to the proposed sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library (Brooklyn’s central destination library in downtown Brooklyn serving all of the borough and the rest of the city as well, including downtown Manhattan) that the Brooklyn Public Library needs to be considerably more transparent about the selling of all libraries than the BPL has been to date.  That greater transparency is also something I understand your spokespersons, and specifically Peter Aschkenasy, a trustee, have led the public (January 2015) to think they also believe is appropriate.

Information has been requested of the BPL and not been furnished in response.  Some of it may likely be required under the Freedom of Information Law.  Virtually all of it is appropriate to furnish under simple precepts essential to maintaining transparency when selling a public asset for conversion like a library for conversion into a luxury condominium tower.

Accordingly, I request that the BPL be more transparent about this proposed sale in all its aspects.  And specifically here are some of the things that I firmly believe you should be furnishing the public:
    •    Information about the true and complete costs to the public of selling and shrinking this library as proposed.  That includes:
    •        The current value, from the public’s perspective, of the recently expanded and fully upgraded library being given up (i.e. not from the perspective of the acquiring developer who sees its value as less than that of a vacant lot).
    •        What it would cost to replace the asset that is being given up (including land and development rights), in total apparently well over $120+ million.
    •        All the costs, including construction and design, associated with moving the Business, Career and Education functions of the library from Downtown Brooklyn and reestablishing them at the Grand Army Plaza Library.  Also please supply the date and details about when those Education functions were moved from Grand Army Plaza to the Brooklyn Heights Library because of, as I understand it, the shortage of space at Grand Army Plaza.
    •        It should also include all the costs of disruptions and what the public must forgo and bear to undergo this transaction.  That should include, among other things, the cost of moving books back and forth as well as storing them off-site.
    •    The “strategic real estate plan” that was formulated going back to 2007.  To date you have released no iterations of this plan, all of which would be valuably  informative in many ways including about similar plans for other libraries.  Similarly, you should release the requested “Revson Study.”

    •    The background communications between the BPL and the Department of Design and Construction based upon which representations about the acceptability and suitability of the air conditioning at the Brooklyn Heights Library were made to this council district’s office, back when David Yassky held my office, before any planned sale and shrinkage of the library.  Information has also been requested and not furnished to the public about the air conditioning repair firm, Performance Mechanical Corporation, that the BPL engaged in an extended multi–year contract for its entire system not all that long before problems with the Brooklyn Heights Library’s and a number of other air library’s air conditioning systems started receiving attention.  Early analysis in this regard about the Brooklyn Heights Library (2007/2008) by Karen Backus and communications regarding the air conditioning have also not been provided.

    •    Information about your communications with the city’s Landmarks Commission about which historic libraries might get designated as such, and which libraries the BPL has indicated it would, instead, prefer to push forward into real estate deals avoiding such likely appropriate designation.
    •    Further, it is my impression that in a time when the scarcity of available funds is cited as troubling, the BPL is spending a considerable amount of money on consultants and lobbyists in connection with its promotion of its real estate plans for libraries.  The requested information about this has not been furnished.  It is a matter about which the BPL needs to be forthcoming.  That includes monies paid to Booz & Co., BerlinRosen, WSP Flack & Kurtz, K&K Property Solutions, Ed Tettemer and Mo (Maureen) Craig for branding and PR advice.

    •    Information about book counts: what they have been, what they are now and what they are intended to be in the future.  For instance, the BPL and the architect representing it, and the developer in this regard have not been able to state what the book shelf capacity of the entire Brooklyn Heights Library (we are not talking about supposed branch sub-component) has historically been, or what it is intended to be in the future.  Information respecting the entire system would be relevant.

    •    All communications with Saint Ann's School respecting development rights and the Brooklyn Heights Library. As you know (to provide perspective on this), what Saint Ann's School will net in income, motivating it to push for this transaction is proportionately more in the scheme of things given that half the city’s development rights were already transferred to Forest City Ratner in 1986. Saint Ann’s, with all its extra development rights still intact, doesn’t have to tear down its own building or incur a loss to cash in. By contrast, the library’s potential sale of its air rights is not such a painless transaction or opportunity.
Without the provision of what is requested above consideration of a sale and shrinkage of this or other libraries would seem premature on anyone’s part.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Stephen T. Levin 

CC:   Peter Aschkenasy, Trustee BPL
    NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
    NYC Public Advocate Tish James
    NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
    NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
    Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director, NYS Committee on Open Government

The above constituted (as of last spring and summer) and still constitutes a good starter list of what you should have insisted on as the essentials for basic transparency.

We note that since we drafted this letter other groups have raised with you additional questions about oddities with respect to the Brooklyn Public Library’ budget and bookkeeping that impinge upon the BPL’s professed motivation of selling the Brooklyn Heights Library to net a small amount of funds (a net perhaps of just $25 million or less).  You may want to add to this letter to address those issues or, to save time and assure that this letter goes out immediately, you may want to refer to your anticipation of sending a supplemental letter specifically in this regard.

We trust this draft will facilitate swift completion of your letter insisting on transparency from the BPL that you committed to send BPL some time ago.

Thank you.


Michael D. D. White
Citizens Defending Libraries

* * *
Below (click to enlarge images) the draft Levin letter to BPL in printable jpg form.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Why Nonprofit Boards May Stray From Their Core Missions And Obligations To the Public- Considered Generally And Particularly With Respect To Libraries

Perhaps you have read some of what has been written about the way that non-profit boards can get off course from their mission to serve the public in the ways that were intended.  Some of which we have previously provided in this vein has been written specifically about the straying conduct of the boards of trustees that are supposed to be stewards of our New York City libraries.

We have some our own additional thinking to offer about the reasons such nonprofit boards may be pulled to veer off course, but first here is a taste of some of what has been written already:

    •    The Wall Street Journal: Clueless at the Corcoran- What the museum's latest bad decision says about nonprofit governance, by Eric Gibson, February, 24, 2014.
    . . .  the untold story of our time is the emerging crisis in nonprofit governance, where boards embark on policies that go against-and even imperil-the mission of the institution they are charged to oversee and protect.

    . . . The New York Public Library wants to gut its magnificent Beaux Arts building on Fifth Avenue and change it from a research institution to, as Ada Louise Huxtable wrote in this newspaper, "a state-of-the-art, socially interactive, computer-centered" circulating library, with fewer books, a good number of them moved off-site.
    •    City Limits: New Scrutiny of City's Library Trustees, by Suzanne Travers, June 18, 2014.
Over the last year, library trustees have seen more of the spotlight than usual because of moves that put boards at odds with public opinion: NYPL’s now-abandoned plan to insert a circulating library in place of the stacks at its iconic building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn Public Library’s still-active effort to sell its Brooklyn Heights branch to private developers, and the Queen’s Public Library board’s split vote on whether to require library chief Thomas Galante to take a leave of absence given city and federal investigations into library construction projects and contracts.

These disputes have exposed weak points in the public-private hybrid structure of the libraries, where the non-profit status of boards limits outside oversight and access to information even as the libraries press for more public funding after years of cuts. At a time of growing income inequality, the role of trustees who can give or raise private money to support the libraries also prompts more fundamental questions: How representative of the city are the library boards? Whose interests do they represent?
    •    Noticing New York: Where Are They Now?: Sharon Greenberger, Evercore and the Revson Foundation- Selling And Shrinking NYC Libraries, by Michael D. D. White, June 6, 2015.
Takeover of Charitable Boards By Wall Street Financiers With Not So Charitable Values

There is new study on the increasing dominance of Wall Street financiers on charitable boards. . . by Garry W. Jenkins at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. .

From the report:
As financiers come to dominate the boards of leading nonprofits, it is not surprising that their approaches and priorities have made their way, very explicitly and fundamentally, into the governance of the nonprofit sector.
* * * *

A May 30, 2015 New York Times Sunday Review Op-Ed, "Who Will Watch the Charities?," by David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, is far more caustic and cynical.  "(W)e should end the charade that all philanthropy is somehow charitable," says Mr. Callahan. . .   He warns a big problem with modern philanthropy: "how inextricably entwined it has become with politics and ideology."  He says:

    it's alarming how in an era of high inequality, private funders have a growing say over central areas of civic life like education and public parks, and how this influence is often wielded against a backdrop of secrecy.
    •    Melville House: Patience and Fortitude- Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library- Scott Sherman (Reviews).
Sherman's most shocking revelation is how little the trustees understood the mission of the institution they claimed to be saving."
-Architectural Record
    •   NPR: 'Patience And Fortitude' And The Fight To Save NYC's Storied Public Library, by Maureen Corrigan, June 24, 2015.
Scott Sherman details how “bottom-line business logic very nearly gutted one of the world's greatest public research libraries.”

 . . . the crisis of The New York Public Library stems from the fact that it's a weird entity. It's not a state or city agency; instead, the library was founded as a private, nonprofit institution. It has always been governed by a board of trustees typically drawn from Manhattan's 1 percent.
    •    Reader Supported News (RSN): Wall Street Taking Over Nonprofit Sector, By Dan Wright, (author of Shadowproof), January 5, 2016.
. . .  a new study from the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) reveals a growing Wall Street takeover of nonprofit boards of directors.

Using data from what are referred to in the study as major private research universities, elite small liberal arts colleges, and prominent New York City cultural and health institutions, SSIR calculates that “[T]he percentage of people from finance on the boards virtually doubled at all three types of nonprofits between 1989 and 2014.”

. . . .  the banksters are not content to just donate to the nonprofit organizations, financial service industry executives are taking positions of influence and control. As one might expect, the vision Wall Street players have of and for the world often clashes with the preexisting culture within those organizations. . . .:
    . . .  it is not surprising that their approaches and priorities have made their way, very explicitly and fundamentally, into the governance of the nonprofit sector … finance practices from board members and donors whose native habitat is the financial services world. . . .  principles upon which donors base their giving …

    Numerous critics have written thoughtfully about the ways in which market-based thinking and approaches applied to the nonprofit sector provide false promise, with the potential to dilute charitable values, undermine long-term mission focus . . .
 . . . . . Wall Street is helping bring dubious management practices to the sector that was setup, in part, to deal with the failures of an economic system run by said dubious management practices. . . .  
It is apparently lost on many donors to the nonprofit sector that if nonprofit work could have been achieved through a business approach it would already have been. For Wall Street, the problem with the nonprofit sector appears to be that it’s nonprofit.
    •    The Leonard Lopate Show: Why Affordable Public Universities Are Vital to Our Democracy, March 2, 2016.

Pulitzer Prize-winning, and National Humanities Medal recipient author Marilynne Robinson:
It’s amazing, the people into whose clutches our civilization seems to have fallen are people who, if they had to basically define their response to the arts and education would say, `I don’t get it.’ It’s sort of like turning over our whole aesthetic sense to people who are color blind. . .

. . .  All these people talk as if the mere fact of being magnates of one sort or another meant that they understood the world better than other people do, you know that it should convey some authority.  And what have they done? . . .  It's a great display of something very different than shrewdness, very different from insight.  But nevertheless they're extremely confident and they are extremely ready to be active to remake the world into something that they think it should be.
    •    New York Times Op-ed via Citizens Defending Libraries: Privatized National Parks as Realms For Advertising? Tim Wu, Author of “The Attention Merchants” Writes About This And The Similar Invasion of Schools and Libraries In NT Times Op-ed,  December 6, 2016
Advertising in our public parks? . .  Tim Wu, writes about this and the privatizing takeover “spaces long thought inviolate” for the assault of commercial advertising, places such as schools, churches, our homes and libraries.

Writes Wu (emphasis supplied):
Over the next decade, prepare for a new wave of efforts to reach some of the last remaining bastions of peace, quiet and individual focus - like schools, libraries, churches and even our homes.

        * * *

  . . .  the leaders of schools, libraries and even the more principled technology firms should understand that there is always a hidden cost to the proposition offered by advertising.

        * * *
History and logic suggest that, once advertisers become a major funding source, they create their own priorities, and unless carefully controlled they will warp the underlying space to serve their interests.
Here, in list form for your consideration, are reasons that nonprofit boards may stray from and fail in properly fulfilling their missions, particularly when those boards are comprised of people who are likely wrong candidates for those boards, people who don’t care about or understand the core mission of the charity whose board they are on or who may have interests that don’t coincide with or are actually at odds with the mission of the entity whose course they are setting:
    1.    The board members may be incompetent and this can easily be due to their lack of understanding or their lack of any true interest in the nonprofit’s mission and better informing themselves about it.
    2.    The board members may have an undue focus on understanding the mission of the nonprofit purely in terms of numbers, when, in fact, the mission involves something that instead involves values and culture, a mission that in it more ephemeral way is not subject to expression in numbers.
    3.    Similarly, the board members may focus and think of things in terms of money.  This problem is likely accentuated when, more and more, the justification for selecting certain people for board appointment is that those people are wealthy enough to donate to the charity, whether they do so or not.  Perhaps this is embodied in the exchange at the beginning of Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” between Scrooge and his nephew when Scrooge is asked to make a donation to charity: - Nephew: “Oh I think there are many things from which I've derived some good, by which I have not profited financially, I dare say. There is more in life than money, Uncle." -     Scrooge: "Humbug to that!  More in life than money!  Humbug!"
    4.    The board members may be more focused on themselves than anyone else.  Perhaps a symptom of this, like at the Brooklyn Public Library, is of a grand and opulent fund raising gala that the board members attend that actually loses, rather than makes money.
    5.    The board members, coming from a different economic and cultural segment of society, may have a different world view about what would be good for everyone else in the world.  One example of this is a belief that the world should be managed with top-down decision making, something that assumes that those who have attained and hold wealth know better than the rest of us.  In the case of libraries, this can translate into top-down decision making about which books and we should all be reading.
    6.    There may be board members who are on the board for ulterior motives than involve self interest or conflict of interest.  That can extend to viewing the assets and resources of the charity not from the standpoint of how the charity’s mission can be best served, but instead how those assets and resources can be diverted or used differently with the interests of others, not the public, in mind.
There are a number of converging interests adverse to continuing the tradition of public libraries, especially in New York.  You can decide for yourself the influence of each and how big the respective arrows for each should be. 
Here is a list of  interests that can affect board members making decisions about libraries that can be contrary to the traditional and core mission of libraries as being places that provide books and facilitate research and archive human knowledge:
    1.    Trustees may have interests in library real estate, unlocking and putting into play the real estate that libraries sit on.  This can explain the proposals to sell and drastically shrink important central destination libraries like the Donnell Library and the Brooklyn Heights Library, in each case the sales netting the most minuscule fraction of what it would cost to replace these libraries, a likely net from the sale of each of those libraries of around $25 million, selling recently renovated libraries for far less than the value of a vacant lot. The NYPL Central Library Plan had similar aspirations.  With the shrinkage comes an exile and enormous loss of books, because books take up space and you can’t sell library real estate without getting rid of the books.
    2.    Trustees may wish to use the provision of libraries (and/or other basic civic services like schools) as bait to induce upzonings and other increases to development.  For maximum effect, this tactic actually begins with withholding the services/resources that will then be dangled as a carrot in front of the public.
    3.    Trustees may have an interest in promoting digital books (which are more expensive for libraries than physical books and frequently leased by libraries temporarily rather than bought and available for the future) because they have ties to the digital industry.
    4.    Trustees may have ties to the increasingly monopolistic content industry, that seeks for the public’s attention to be diverted to advertising and/or the content for which they have operative copyright controls. This includes, for instance, Amazon which, when you have to wait for books not at the library, is the place you can go to get books faster, and perhaps more cheaply when you factor in your transportation costs.
    5.    Trustees may have ties with the cable and internet content delivery services.
     6.    Trustees may have an interest in their being a top-down influence or control with respect to what people are reading or thinking about.  Top on the list for exercising influence is probably what people think in terms of politics, elections and things like altering the economic system or distribution of wealth.  It could affect, for instance, what is available to read about climate change. (“Whoever controls the past controls the future.”- George Orwell.)
    7.    Are there trustees with any interest in aiding or complying with the surveillance state by making it so that books and most knowledge can only be accessed in a digital fashion that is possible to monitor?  (Why was the most important private U.S, spy agency hired to overhaul, dismantle NYC's most important libraries?) See this Citizens Defending Libraries resource page for links it article and information about this issue:  Articles About Library Privacy and Surveillance In Libraries.
  8.    Although it is something that few would likely now admit, there may be trustees that would like there to be censorship.
Now that you have been primed with these thoughts maybe you would like to review the composition of the Brooklyn Public Library board of trustees available here: Brooklyn Public Library Trustees- Identified + Biographical and Other Information Supplied.

Brooklyn Public Library Trustees- Identified + Biographical and Other Information Supplied

The information supplied here by Citizens Defending Libraries is particularly important in analyzing likely bias of Brooklyn Public Library’s board.  Veering from the core mission of the libraries would various of the trustees be prone to focus on libraries more as real estate opportunities?  As political payoffs?  One-hand-washes-the-other cronyism?

If you would like to read, as background, about how nonprofit boards of trustees, including particularly boards of library trustees can go off course, especially when the wrongs sorts of appointments are made to those boards you can do that here: Why Nonprofit Boards May Stray From Their Core Missions And Obligations To the Public- Considered Generally And Particularly With Respect To Libraries

The BPL’s own list of trustees without additional biographical information and recently often not up-to-date can be found at the BPL’s website.  Should you wish to observe the meetings of the trustees, perhaps five or so a year, they are mostly public as required by law and usually in the evening, usually at the Grand Army Plaza library 3rd floor trustees room and information is available about them at that link  (The public is not allowed to participate.) 
Peter Aschkenasy- Discussing the BPL's lack of transparency, something he didn't insist upon.

Peter Aschkenasy - Treasurer-  The BPL: board, pushing for development of  libraries, has interesting overlaps with the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park corporation pushing for extra development in what is nominally entirely a "park," Brooklyn Bridge Park.   Mr. Aschkenasy is on both boards.  According to discussions at a BPL trustees meeting Mr Aschkenasy was tasked with the job of convincing Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams that selling and shrinking the Brooklyn Heights library was a good idea.  Mr. Aschkenasy used the phrase that he thought Adams had "signed on to the theory" that libraries had to be sold and shrunk to "meet capital needs," but, based on Borough President Adams recommendations against this, Mr Aschkenasy apparently failed.  Mr Aschkenasy has history as a restaurateur, Concert Foods being his present business.  His companies get contracts in Central Park (Sheep Meadow Cafe) and Prospect Park in connection with the Celebrate Brooklyn franchises. He joined the administration of Mayor John Lindsay as an assistant to Parks Commissioner Thomas Hoving, and then was Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs under August Heckscher.  Member of mayors Lindsay, Koch, Bloomberg inner circle, 40 years active in municipal and cultural. He's had ownership interests in multiple restaurants although the financial situation resulting there from we're told has not always been smooth (The Oyster Bar, the Rainbow Room, and Gallagher's Steak House. In 1975, he bought Charley O's in Rockefeller Center and opened the US Steakhouse in the Time & Life Building and was the last owner of Gage and Tollner Restaurant before it went under). He is on the board of BRIC Arts & Media, the Brooklyn-based cultural not for profit which runs Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park.  Also the Vice Chair of Brooklyn Arts Council.  He is a founding member of real estate developer Bill Rudin's Association for a Better New York. SPOUSE: Pamela Brier- (one of Crain's most powerful women)- Working at Maimonides Medical Center (President and Chief Executive Officer) she hired City Councilman Bill de Blasio's wife Charlene McRay as reported in the New York Times ("Maimonides did not have a job open for Mr. de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. So it created one.")  In 2003, she was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve on New York City's Board of Health.
Sequence from "The Jinx" with Jordan Barawitz and Douglas Durst.  Jordan is the taller one.

Some of the Jordan Barowitz/Jarecki phone exchange: "Hi, it's Jordan Barowitz. . . You called Douglas Durst. I'm returning his call. . .I'm returning that call on his behalf. . Okay, Douglas has no interest in speaking with you."
Jordan Barowitz- Now works for Durst Organization (Real Estate).  Appointed by Bloomberg at the January 17, 2006 trustees meeting when he was the “First Deputy Press Secretary at City Hall.”  Exec. Director GROW NYC, Steering Comm. ABNY, Mayor De Blasio's inaugural committee. SPOUSE: Elisa Beth Zuritsky, a writer-producer for the HBO series "Sex and the City." Her father (Joseph S. Zuritsky) was the chairman and chief executive of the Parkway Corporation, a parking and real estate development company in Philadelphia. Her mother (Renée Zuritsky) was on the board and the chairwoman of fund-raising for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  It tends to be difficult go to work for big New York real estate firms without familial connections.  Shortly after his marriage Barowitz left the Bloomberg administration and went to work for the Durst Organization, one of the city's biggest. Barowitz's father (Elliott I. Barowitz) was a professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  OF NOTABLE INTEREST: Jordan Barowitz appears in Episode 5 of the Andrew Jarecki's six-part documentary "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst."  The episode is titled "Family Values" in part because during an award ceremony in his honor Robert Durst, head of the Durst organization is lauded for his "family values," and pokes at the whether and how the Durst family's influence might have been mobilized to impede investigation of what is theorized by most people engaging in  speculation whether Robert Durst "killed 'em all," to be Robert Durst's first murder, that of his wife Kathie probably when she disappeared in 1982 from their Lake Truesdale, South Salem, New York home (except for those folks who wonder about the 1972 disappearance of a Middlebury college student, Lynne Schulze).  Barowitz shows up in the episode running interference and returning phone calls to Douglas Durst to deny Jarecki access to him.  This is followed by a scene where Douglas, ambushed by Jarecki at his award ceremony, quickly fetches Barowitz. 

Michael Best

Michael Best- is Chief Operating Officer of Bloomberg.LP Industry Verticals, and he previously served within the company as Michael Bloomberg’s chief of staff.  Best served as the counselor to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, overseeing the City Hall legal office, and he spent eight years as general counsel of the New York City Department of Education. He was also general counsel and director of legal affairs at the New York City Host Committee 2004, the not-for-profit corporation that helped the city host the 2004 Republican National Convention. For the first two years of Mayor Bloomberg's administration, Mr. Best was deputy counsel to the mayor, and before that he served as the director of the Mayor's Office of Contracts and City Chief Procurement Officer and as General Counsel in the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator.  SPOUSE: Jenny Lynn Blascovich- Former deputy director of scheduling for Mayor Bloomberg.
Nina Lorez Collins

Nina Lorez Collins-a writer and literary agent and now also a certified life coach and narrative medicine consultant for Maimonides Medical Center helping to develop an Empathy Curriculum.  Lived in an expensive Townhouse (# 212) on Columbia Heights, the "city’s off-the-radar Millionaires Row" where Obama visited for a fundraiser.  She now lives on in One Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Daughter of Kathleen Collins, playwright, activist and civil rights organizer and film maker whose unreleased film her daughter restored and released FORMER SPOUSE (2012)- Marek Fludzinski founder and CEO of a hedge fund Thales Fund Management.

Anthony W. Crowell

Anthony W. Crowell- Former BPL Board Chair Anthony Crowell was Bloomberg's legal counsel, a senior policy adviser to him, and one of Bloomberg's earliest and longest-standing BPL trustee appointments, first appointed in January of 2003.  May of 2012 Crowell left the Mayor’s Office for a position as the President and Dean of New York Law School but he continued to serve as Board Chair to "work on behalf of BPL with City Hall.”  October, 201 during a BPL board meeting BPL president Linda Johnson thanked Crowell and fellow trustees Kyle Kimball (also Bloomberg's NY Economic Development Corporation president, formerly of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase) "for their work helping with moving . . forward" the BPL "real estate plan" as she reminded the board "that the goal was to get far enough into the plan with this Mayor so that when a new Mayor takes office, the plan will be deep in progress and he or she will not derail it."  Crowell was also on the board of EDC (2013 record here). In 2006 Crowell's presence on the BPL board was ruled by the city Conflicts of interest Board not to be a conflict of interest.  In 2013, while still a BPL trustee, BPL Board Chair Anthony Crowell, by virtue of Mayor Bloomberg's appointment, himself became a member of the regulating Conflicts of Interest Board.  Finding and obtaining the rulings above is a challenge, but one porthole through which such information can be pursued is through a private source, the site linked to by the Conflicts of Interest Board site, . . .New York Law School's.  Yes, that's New York Law School where Anthony W. Crowell is President and Dean.

Joseph I. Douek- From 2001 through August 2012 Mr. Douek served as an NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Board Member.  In 2001, Mr. Douek was nominated by NY City Council Speaker, Peter Vallone to serve as Brooklyn's representative to the EDC Board of Directors.  Shortly thereafter, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appointed Mr. Douek to that position.  He was also appointed as a Commissioner on the real estate oriented New York City Planning Commission in 2012 by library sale-promoting Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.   In February 2002 Mr. Douek was also nominated by  Markowitz to serve as the Brooklyn representative to the NYC Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board of Directors and he was formally appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg shortly thereafter where, according to his City Planning bio, "as an IDA Board Member until August, 2012 and has initiated efforts to promote economic development in Brooklyn and all the five Boroughs of NYC." Mr. Douek is the Chief Executive Officer of Willoughby's, NYC's oldest photographic retailer, (since about 1994 or 1997 Mr. Douek currently serves on the Board of The Jewish Children's Museum.  Mr. Douek served as a Director of Concept Digital Inc. which was out of business by 2008 after some trouble with the SEC. SPOUSE: Probably Viviane Douek?
Roseann Paradiso Fodera

Roseann Paradiso Fodera- Appointed September 2015 Ms. Fodera was one of the first three trustees appointed by Mayor de Blasio.  She was described by BPL Chairman Gravante as being as a lawyer who is a friend of his living in Bay Ridge and practices with her lawyer husband, has been a supporter of the library.  SPOUSE:-  Attorney Richard Fodera.

Blake Walters Foote

Blake Walters Foote- Appointed to the BPL board in December 2015 Ms. Foote was already on the board (Secretary) of the Center for an Urban Future (where former City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, now engaged in real estate development and political consulting, is chair) which has been very involved in promoting the idea that libraries should be sold and shrunk and made the subject of redevelopment.  The Center for an Urban Future has been getting much of its funding from the Revson Foundation which has been funding a number of organizations promoting the sale of libraries. She came to the BPL board simultaneously with David Giles, a researcher and writer at the Center for and Urban Future transferring to the staff of the BPL to work with its strategy unit (handles the real estate deals).  In fall 2007, Mayor Bloomberg appointed Ms. Foote to head the City Workforce Investment Board, a position she held for a year.  Previously, from July 2005, Ms. Foote worked for the Bloomberg administration's NYC Department of Small Business Services.  She is also with CUNY's School of Professional Studies.  SPOUSE: Probably Andrew Foote.
Jeff Gennette

Jeff Gennette- Jeffrey Gennette was named president of Macy's, Inc., in March 2014.  He's been with Macy's since 1983 starting at Macy’s West.  It may seem a rather peculiar choice and bad potential brand marketing for the president of Macy's to be involved with selling NYC libraries and turning them into real estate  deals, but it makes one think about how Macy's must twice a year, at fireworks and Thanksgiving Day Parade time, have significant coordinating interactions with he city, not the least of which involves shutting down streets and avenues.  It also is also a player when it comes to real estate.  It sold it's Downtown Brooklyn Fulton store (the former Abraham and Strauss) plus parking facility to Tishman Speyer summer 2015 while signing a major Long Island City lease.  In June 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported (similarly Fortune and Reuters) how Macy’s “owns some of the world’s most valuable property and is being urged by investors to unlock that value.”  That language sounds strikingly similar to that being used about libraries, and the Wall Street Journal article noted how such a move could be harmful to Macy’s core retail mission (just like selling libraries is harmful  to the core mission of the libraries).  In fact, one of the things that appears to have held up the creation of the New Moynihan Station to replace the monstrously fouled-up Penn Station that developers were interested in turning turning Macy's flagship store into a real estate development pawn, focusing on whether they could acquire and tear down Macy’s, “the world’s biggest store” in order to build huger and huger buildings in the vicinity!  That's with the Herald Square already quite notably one of the very densest and most congested areas of the city. SPOUSE: (Probably, he has a daughter.)
Tishman Speyer
Tishman Speyer
Nicholas Gravante

Nicholas A. Gravante, Jr. - Chair- The new BPL Chairman who became chair after Bill de Blasio became mayor is attorney Nicholas A. Gravante, Jr.  According to his Boies Schiller & Flexner law firm: "Mr. Gravante's trial victories included winning an acquittal for three leading New York City real estate companies indicted under the Martin Act."  The Martin Act outlaws financial fraud by real estate sellers (and others).  One of his more interesting clients is CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg who factored interestingly into the 2008 Wall Street collapse.  He is a fundraiser for de Blasio and member of his inaugural committee. SPOUSE: Jacqueline (Jackie) Ann Connolly Gravante. (FORMER?) SPOUSE: Evelyn Kling.

Hank Gutman or Henry B. Gutman- At right testifying before the Brooklyn Borough President that the Brooklyn Heights Library should be sold and shrunk

Hank Gutman (Henry B. Gutman)-  Mr. Gutman is a lawyer from the real estate and banking law firm of Simpson Thachter & Bartlett.  He was elected to the board when Jordan Barowitz was heading nominations for the board. with Barowits commenting how he personally knew Gutman.  Mr. Gutman, is a big player amongst the Brooklyn Heights power elite (a former Brooklyn Heights Association board member) and, on the borad of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) has been a big pusher for development in Brooklyn Bridge Park where he and fellow BBPC board member, library-selling David Offensened have also been purchasing condos in the such new development, something the Conflicts of Interest Board ruled not to be a conflict.  Gutman's appointment to the BPL board came at a time when the selling off of the Brooklyn Heights Library is a front and center priority.  One of Simpson Thachter & Bartlett's most prominent clients is Mr. Schwarzman's Blackstone Group, for which the law firm has provided representation since its inception.  See:  Wall Street Journal-  The Blackstone-Simpson Thacher Connection, by Peter Lattman, march 16, 2007.  A few months after going on the BPL board, in June of 2014 Mayor de Blasio appointed Gutman to another important real estate related position, chair of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre industrial park.  Gutman has represented Lotus, Intel, Daiichi Pharmaceuticals, Reuters, Verizon, Polaroid and other technology clients. Gutman was gubernatorially appointed to serve on the Judicial Screening Committee for judges in the Second Department. 
Miriam Katowitz

Miriam Katowitz - Vice Chair-  Ms. Katowitz has made it a point to show up and testify for the sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library.  She and her husband appear to be relatively wealthy, able to give away $1.5 million to Goucher College.  Ms. Katowitz currently acting controller of the 24-campus City University of New York (CUNY) system.  CUNY is where Iris Weinshall, the wife of Senator Schumer, worked prior to going to work as Chief Operating Officer at the NYPL replacing David Offensend and taking over where he had left off with various plans for the sale and shrinking of important NYPL libraries. At CUNY Ms. Weinshall was Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction, and Management and was focusing on "leveraging" its assets ("opportunities to be able to partner with private developers" with respect to real estate assets CUNY "is sitting on").  It is interesting and open for interpretation why  CUNY did not object when the NYPL's SIBL with which CUNY is supposed to exist synergystically was proposed to be sold.  When appointed by Bloomberg in 2008 she was Chief Operating Officer for The Educational Alliance, and before that, she was Chief Financial Officer of Safe Horizon; Chief Financial Officer of the 92nd Street Y and Managing Director for HSBC.  SPOUSE: Arthur J. Radin a partner in a CPA firm, Radin, Glass & Co.DAUGHTER: Their daughter is a construction project manager.  
Kyle Kimball

Kyle Kimball - Vice Chair- Mr. Kimball went to work for Con Edison June 2015.  Until replaced with a de Blasio appointment in June of 2015, Mr. Kimball was chief of NYC’s real estate development corporation, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), appointed president of the agency by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in July 2013.  EDC is the agency that has been handling the library sales for the BPL. The agency is considered to be a captured agency representing the real estate industry.  Mr. Kimball joined the EDC in 2008. He previously worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan.  In September 2013 at the end of the Bloomberg administration in a shake-up of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)- predicated on assertions of mismanagement- Bloomberg appointed Kimball to the NYCHA board.  NYCHA has launched a program of selling off and privatizing its public housing assets (with the de Blasio adminstartion shedding 14,000 units) citing underfunding as the creating a necessity to do so.  In December of 2013 Kimball got special NYCHA powers in the absence of a there being a chair of that board.  Maria Torres-Springer replaced Kimball as head of EDC.  She has to recuse herself from significant business because her husband,  Jamie Torres-Springer, a partner at a major real estate consulting firm, continues on there as an employee. is stepping down as a partner at the firm.   Jamie Torres-Springer chairs the Board of the Fifth Avenue Committee, the developer getting the Sunset Park Library for free without any bid.

Cindi Leive

Cindi Leive- Ms. Leive is the editor in chief of Glamour.  Glamour is owned by Condé Nast Publications which is under the control of the Newhouse family presided over by wealthy Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr. who lives in NYC.  The editor of another Condé Nast Publication, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker is on the board of the New York Public Library which is also been very involved in turning libraries into real estate deals.  Remnick's presence on the New Yorker board is viewed as problematic in that most people thinking about the issue considered the New Yorker one of the most obvious candidates to follow suit with The Nation (Scott Sherman) and provide coverage critical of the NYPL's real estate plan centerpiece, the Central Library Plan which, aside from selling off the Mid-Manhattan Library and 34th Street Science, Industry and Business Library involved an exile and drastic reduction of books in the 42nd Street research library along with the demolition of the stacks integrally designed to hold three million books there.  The New Yorker was, instead, strangely silent about this issue of importance to New York's literati and intelligentsia.  Condé Nast, the Newhouse family and their Advance Publications, Inc. are obviously very involved in the content industry and that extends to focusing on the digital as well.  They own cable company Bright House Networks LLC (the tenth-largest multichannel video service provider and the 6th largest cable internet provider (based on coverage) in the United States with tie-ins to the business of TimeWarner) and Discovery Communications (including Discovery Education "accelerates school districts' digital transition" providing digital school textbooks).  In 2006 Condé Nast acquired the content aggregation site Reddit and in 2008, the company acquired of a popular technology-oriented website, Ars Technica.  According to Wikipedia, in July 2010, Robert Sauerberg became Condé Nast's president, “ushering in a new era less reliant on print adverting and increasingly focused on the development of digital platforms, innovative products and new marketing services to generate revenue.”  According to a recent March 15, 2012 N.A.C.L.E. lecture by attorney Rick Kurnit, Esq., chair of the ABA Committee on Private Advertising Litigation, Conde Nast was the second largest digital advertising agency in America, with its media people busily creating a huge amount of advertising.  Condé Nast Entertainment started in 2011 involves online video production and channels including one for Glamour.  SPOUSE: Howard Bernstein, film producer.

Michael Liburd- Michael K. Liburd was appointed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Like Peter Aschkenasy he is on the board of BRIC Arts & Media (he's treasurer).  What he does in his professional life must be discerned mostly from what was stated on the web in connection with his appointment to that board: That Mr. Liburd "is founder and a principal of Griffin Ward, LLC, a marketing firm committed to growing proprietary products, creating and managing live events, and promotion marketing consulting. BRIC’s board will benefit from his 20+ years of management experience with start-up, non-profit and multinational corporations, such as Kraft General Foods and Viacom’s Showtime Networks.”  He was on the BRIC Gala Committee for 2014.  He is also on the Board of Brooklyn Community Board 9 where the two committees he chairs indicate a focus on devlopement: the "197-a Committee" and the "ULURP Committee" (CB9 doesn't have a "Land Use Committee," which these two committes apparently replace since between the potentially community initiated 197-a plans and ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) these two committees would control any changes prospectively affecting the land use in the district or its review).   SPOUSE Jeanine D. Liburd- Works for Viacom as Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility for BET Networks.  "She is responsible for managing the corporate brand and positioning of the company's diversified assets, including several cable television channels, digital offerings, mobile, and a music festival/events business."  Viacom, controlled through National Amusements, Inc. by the Redstone family is an American global mass media company with interests in cinema and cable television. It is the world's sixth largest broadcasting and cable company in terms of revenue and includes BET Networks, Viacom Media Networks, and Paramount Pictures.  It is aggressive about asserting copyright interests it owns. 
Susan Marcinek

Susan Marcinek-  Ms. Marcinek has a Master of Library & Information Science from Pratt and an MBA from NYU.  She is a co-founder/Advisor of New Narratives which focuses on reporting from Africa and a new media capacity building model in Africa as an opportunity to participate actively in an emerging democracy.   As of 1/4/2016 Susan Marcinek's Twitter account follows 17 others, one of which is the NYC Mayor's office. SPOUSE: David M. Marcinek, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs and is on the Prospect Park Alliance Board of Directors which is currently chaired by Iris Weinshall, Senator Chuck Schumer's wife who took over David Offensend's position and library sale projects at the NYPL.    Sharon Greenberger, a former BPL library trustee (see below) who had key involvement pushing forward the library sales, is also on on the Prospect Park Alliance board.
Gino P. Menchini

Gino P. Menchini- Appointed by Mayor Bloomberg Mr. Menchini was the Bloomberg administration's Commissioner in charge of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.  He was involved with the implementation of New York's version of the 311 program.  While that was viewed as success, Bloomberg had a very questionable record when it comes to implementation of computer program upgrades.  In 2006 he went to work for CA Technologies.  Later on he was mentioned in his role as a lobbyist in connection with the CityTime kickback scandal.  Shortly after he was working for National Strategies another lobbyist firm.  He was reportedly at the wedding of Mayor Bloomberg's daughter and involved with other questionable contracts.  After college, at Pace University, he went to work for neighbor, Frank Macchiarola, the chancellor of the Board of Education; when Mr. Menchini left government for the private sector, it was to follow Mr. Macchiarola to St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He is currently on the board of Saint Francis College.  SPOUSE: Carol Menchini

Kim-Thu Posnett

Kim-Thu Posnett-  A managing director of technology and media for Goldman Sachs (the too-big-to-fail Vampire Squid investment bank that issued the bonds for the Ratner/Prokhorov arena). As part of Goldman's Media and Technology Group (with an interest in the "media and entertainment industry") she has techie credentials to promote going digital.  An appointment of someone from Goldman is perhaps consistent with BPL president Linda Johnson's statement that her ideal trustee would be Goldman CEO Llyod Blankfein a proponent of the notion that the public needs to lower its expectations about entitlements that he is firm“they're not going to get.”   Ms. Posnett was elected to the board April 2014  when Jordan Barowitz was heading nominations for the board. SPOUSE Michael Jordan Pastor- Attorney admitted 2002,  Went to NYU Law School.  New York City Assistant Corporate Counsel during Bloomberg administration and into the de Blasio administration.  Began in 2006 after three years as a litigation associate at the New York office of Morrison & Foerster.

Lisa Price- Ms. Price is the founder of Carol’s Daughter a beauty products company with a line of hair, body and skincare products that she started out of her Bedford-Stuyvesant kitchen more in the 1990's when she was working on the Cosby Show.  It was recently sold to L’Oréal USA after some financial problems involving Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  In 2011 the Brooklyn Public Library was promoting an event where Ms. Price would share entrepreneurial secrets, part of a BPL "You Can Do It, Too! Entrepreneur Series" where attendees would also hear "from the top winners of the Library's 2010 PowerUP! Business Plan Competition."  According to her book about herself  ("Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion"*) she was forced at age 28 to declare bankruptcy after running up a huge credit card debt and afterwards started her company with $100.  Carol’s Daughter was a portfolio company of private equity firm Pegasus Capital Advisors LP, according to its website.  Pegasus also underwrites National Strategies LLC (NSI) where board member Menchini now works.  Ms. Price promotes her presence on the board of  The Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now  that Mary Jane Blige (singer, songwriter, model)  established to "empower women with its education and career programs, but a slew of recent reports have found that the charity is actually running a shady operation."  It also reportedly didn't follow through on promised scholarships and was being sued by TD Bank for defaulting on a $250,000 loan.  The bank settled (reported Oct 3, 2013) to accept just $125,000 in repayment when $322,000 was owed and the foundation was soliciting more contributions as of Dec 6, 2013“Music and marketing guru” Steve Stoute, who’s wedding was reportedly attended by many stars including Beyoncé and Jay started the foundation with Blige and is also reportedly “chairman and lead investor of” the Carol's Daughter beauty brand.  Ms. Price is also on the board of The Compound Foundation.  Acording to a 2006 New York Times "Real Estate" column, Mr.Stoute was also the one who, around 2003, raised $10 million to expand Carol’s Daughter out of its single Fort Greene store, getting money "from a group of investors that included Jay-Z, the actors Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith and the record producer Tommy Mottola and his wife, the singer Thalia."   SPOUSE:  ?? (Mother of three.)

(* NOTE: At last check the BPL has seven copies of Ms. Price's book on the shelve with no one line up to get any of them.  Meanwhile, the BPL has no copy in its collection of "Understanding Power: The Indispensible Chomsky" a book, the one NYPL copy of which, has seven people in line to get.)
Alice Fisher Rubin

Hon. Alice Fisher Rubin-  Ms. Rubin, fairly high profile in her participation in votes respecting library real estate (including the vote to launch the first sale, the Brooklyn Heights Library) is the daughter of Harold L. Fisher former head of the MTA and the sister of former City Councilman Kenneth K. (Ken) Fisher who ran unsuccessfully for Borough President and now as a Land Use, Zoning ans Government Relations attorney represents politically connected developers like Walentas (involved in the BAM South library real estate deal) and represented the Downstate at LICH Holding Company involved in the dismantling of Long Island College Hospital.  Ms. Rubin is a former Judge of the New York City Civil Court, Kings County, an arbitartor and mediator, and held the previous appointed positions: Assistant Commissioner, Agency for Child Development; Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs to Governor Carey; Commissioner, New York City Commission on Women; Research and Liaison Coordinator, NYC Comptroller Beame. Additionally, she is the recipient of the Alfred E. Smith Political Science Award and the recipient of the Nettie Cox Distinguished Service Award for dedication to humanity and service from Greater New York American Red Cross - Brooklyn and the American Red Cross Northeast Mid-Atlantic Region Pride Award which is given to volunteers who make a powerful and positive impression on others. She has lectured and written in the areas of government, public administration, not-for profit organization management and law related subjects at Long Island University's Graduate School of Business and Public Administration, CUNY's New York City College of Technology and Medgar Evers College.
Sandra Schubert

Sandra Schubert-  Sandra Jiyeun Schubert is a Vice-President at Goldman Sachs & Co,a broker and  a financial advisor.  Prior to working at Goldman Sachs, Sandra was a media and telecom strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York. She also spent several years in Seoul, Korea and in Paris, France heading the ELLE Merchandise operations of Hachette Filipacchi Presse in Korea.  She lives in Bronxville with her husband and two young children.  SPOUSE: Yes. Peter Brandon Schubert?- Real Estate Board of New York- TerraCRG LLC ("a commercial brokerage and advisory firm dedicated solely to commercial transactions in Brooklyn")
Robin Shanus at a BPL board meeting.

Robin Shanus - Secretary-  Attorney and is or was at Weiss, Peck & Greer Private Equity as deputy general counsel.  She is on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy with John Dew who as a Brooklyn Community Board 2 member took a lead in promoting the Brooklyn Heights Library sale.  She served served on the board of Friends of Hudson River Park (which also has its development issues) since 2000. Her father was a partner in Shanus Iron Works, a steel-construction company based in the Bronx.  SPOUSE- Stephen Marcus Merkel, general counsel to Cantor Fitzerald, a securities brokerage company.  Ms. Shanus does not like to be photographed. She went to great efforts to avoid our photographing her.

Christina Tettonis

Christina Tettonis-  Ms. Christina (Poulos) Christina Tettonis is principal of a charter school, The Hellenic Classical Charter School since 2007. Her school has recently celebrated their second full term charter renewal. She is a member of the Deputy Chancellor’s Principal Advisory Group and an active alumni fellow for The Cahn Fellows Program for Distinguished New York City Principals at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was on hand for publicity with de Blasio about the launch of his Pre-K program. Christina was principal of Public School 170 for the NYC Department of Education from 2002- 2007 and Director of The Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program for Community School District 20 from 1997-2002.  She was honored buy the New York City Council for a "Greek Independence Celebration."  She is on the board of Brooklyn Center For Performing Arts with fellow BPL trustee Antonia Yuille Williams (Director, Public Affairs, Con Edison.)  SPOUSE: Mark Tettonis- Port engineer at New York City Department of Transportation.  The NYC DOT is where Iris Weinshall was once commissioner.
Dr. Lucille Cole Thomas

Antonia Yuille Williams* Director, Public Affairs, Con Edison - See more at: http://www.brooklyncenter.org/about-us/staff-and-board#sthash.CwyINk3w.dpuf 
Dr. Lucille C. Thomas- Dr. Lucille Cole Thomas has a long history with the BPL and actual and impressive credentials as a librarian.  Back in the day when she was appointed to the board by a pre-Bloomberg mayor (David Dinkins in 1993 who came before Giuliani), she was elected to serve as the president of the BPL (when the official, less corporate title was "Executive Director")  for three years.  She was the first and only African American president of the New York Library Association (1977-1978), and the first African American to serve as president of the School Library Media Section (SLMS) (1973-1974) of the New York Library Association (NYLA). In addition, she was the first African American elected president of the New York City School Librarians Association (1970-1972) and The New York Library Club (1977-1978). Dr. Thomas received her library science degree from Columbia University (1957), where she was active as president of the alumni association. She is also a graduate of New York University and Bennett College.  At the December 2015 BPL trustees meeting it was announced that the BPL would create an award to hand out in Dr. Thomas' honor and that they would figure out what it would be in time.
Patrick Train Gutiérrez

Patrick Train Gutiérrez- Appointed September 2015, Mr  Gutiérrez was one of Mayor de Blasio's first three appointments to the board Patrick Train Gutiérrez (or Patrick Alan Train-Gutiérrez) is a lawyer who does intellectual property and other litigation at Kaplan Landau LLP.  SPOUSE: Magda Jimenez Train- a lawyer is former legal partner and long-time friend (along with her husband) of current BPL Chairman Nicholas Gravante (Boise Shiller and Flexner).  She is now working in-house at Barclays as Director, Litigation, Investigations and Enforcement.  Announcing the appointment of Gutiérrez, Gravante told the BPL trustees that he hoped that Magda's contacts at Barclays (a legally troubled bank) would serve the BPL well.

Antonia Yuille Williams

 Antonia Yuille Williams- Reappointed by Bloomberg in 2008 Ms. Williams ("Toni") was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2005 by Borough President Marty Markowitz. Currently, she is the director of Public Affairs, Government Relations of Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc., and prior to that, she was the Director of the Human Resources Administration’s first Voucher Day Care Program.  Antonia (Toni) Yuille Williams is the director of Public Affairs, Government Relations, for Con Edison Company of New York, Inc. Her responsibilities for Con-Ed include government relations (so do those of former BPL trustee Kyle Kimball also now at Con Edison), corporate community relations, media relations, employee communications, volunteerism, and special events.  Ms. Williams (According to her second annual True Beauty Women’s Celebration bio) is also the creator, on air personality and executive producer of Brooklyn Savvy, a Talk Show which airs weekly on NYCLife channel 25. NYC Media (New York City's Station): "the official TV, radio and online network of New York City informing, educating and entertaining New Yorkers about the City's diverse people, and neighborhoods, government, services, attractions and activities."  (Season 9 Episode 13, most recent as we post: “What's Your Sign"- Astrologer Ray Sette talks about astrology, intuition and psychic abilities.")  Mrs. Yuille Williams is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Art. Ms. Williams gets many awards.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Commission of Women's Issues honored Ms. Williams at their Annual Women's History Month Program in 2011 for her part in shaping the dialogue around women's issues and "the former Borough President of the Borough of Brooklyn Marty Markowitz awarded her with the highest honor a leader can receive the `Outstanding Brooklynite Award,' given only to those who have made an outstanding contribution, and provided exemplary service to the Borough." She is recipient to the Progressive Democratic Political Association's Woman Leadership Award and Top Women in Business "not to mention many others."  Ms. Williams is also on many, many boards, not only the Brooklyn Public Library, but also: The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (with fellow BPL trustee Hank Gutman), the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (along with fellow BPL trustee Anthony Crowell and where she works with formerly fellow BPL trustee Carlo A. Scissura as president), The board of BRIC Arts Media (where she is with fellow BPL trustee Peter Aschkenasy), The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation  (along with library-selling David Offensend, the husband of once fellow BPL trustee Janet Offensend), the board of the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts (along with fellow BPL trustee Christina Tettonis) The City Tech Foundation (where she is with fellow BPL trustee Alice Fisher Rubin chairing).  She is also an adjunct professor at Saint Francis College where fellow BPL trustee Gino P. Menchini is on the board.   SPOUSE: Kelvin Williams.

Board Members Who Are Ex-Officio Members & Designated Representatives

For Hon. Bill de Blasio
Mayor of the City of New York
Represented by Rachel Lauter- Rachel Lauter, appointed by Mayor de Balsio in September 2015 was one of de Blasio's first three appointments to the board.  She came to the BPL after being made de Blasio's new appointments secretary (a powerful and key administration position- If you work high up in the de Blasio administration, who do you think you might have on speed-dial?).   Rachel Lauter, had served as appointments secretary for de Blasio since the previous spring.   She previously served as Counsel for City Legislative Affairs. She joined the Mayor's Office in the first month of the de Blasio Administration as an attorney in the Office of Appointments. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served as Assistant Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo and clerked for the Honorable Paul G. Gardephe in the Southern District of New York. Lauter is co-founder of the New Kings Democrats, a local Brooklyn-based political club. She began her career in New York City government as a New York City Urban Fellow. She is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, where she served as President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the oldest student-run legal services provider in the country.
Ingrid Lewis-Martin represents Eric Adams

Hon. Eric Adams
President of the Borough of Brooklyn
Represented by Ingrid Lewis-Martin

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, when push came to shove, recommended against the sale and shrinkage of the first proposed library sale, the Brooklyn Heights Library.  Ingrid Lewis-Martinis his executive assistant.

Hon. Melissa Mark-Viverito
Speaker of the New York City Council  
Represented by Reginald D. Shell

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at City Council voted for the precedent-setting sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library.  Its the first time ever the City Council voted on such a proposal and the sale is supposed to be a model for similar sales throughout New York City, in Queens and for NYPL libraries, not just libraries of the BPL.  It is also viewed as a model for doing similar things involving sale of NYC schools for redevelopment.   Reginald D. Shell is Ms. Viverito's representative on the BPL board, but we can find no information to tell you more about him or provide you with a picture.

Gregory Davidzon

Hon. Scott M. Stringer
Comptroller of the City of New York
Represented by Gregory Davidzon

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer's office issued a letter criticizing the BPL's selling off of libraries.  The question is whether the Comptroller will now do more to be effective in stopping the plunder/squander of these public assest.  Gregory Davidzon is the Comptroller's representative on the BPL board. 
Janet Offensend

Janet Offensend- Janet Offensend stepping in at a pivotal time makes her first appearance in the BPL's minutes September 21, 2004 although she didn’t get appointed to the board until the end of 2005.  In 2007 there was a reconstitute of the BPL board resulting in greater mayoral control for Bloomberg after which BPL real estate plans got rolling.  Ms. Offensend's appearance in the minutes occurs about half a year after her husband David Offensend's assumption of the position of Chief Operating Officer at the NYPL where he would oversee the sudden, secretive sale of the Donnell Library in 2007 plus the Central Library Plan, another massive boondoggle involving library shrinkage and the proposed sale of the Mid-Manhattan Library and SIBL, the 34th Street Science, Industry and Business Library, together with the destruction of stacks at the 42nd Street Central Reference Library and removal of its books.

David G. Offensend started as Chief Operating Officer at the NYPL in the first half of 2004, coming from Evercore, a private equity and investment firm that spun off from the Blackstone Group, an investment company which has, as just one of its many lines of business, the world's largest real estate investment company, and which is headed by Stephen A. Schwarzman.  Mr. Schwarzman transferred $100 million to the NYPL when it was his understanding that the Central Library Plan would then proceed with its plans to shed valuable Manhattan real estate.  Oddly, months before the relatively contemporaneous Donnell sale was publicly known, there was weird speculation in the press that Schwarzman and his Blackstone Group would be involved in an acquisition of Orient Express, the company that it was revealed had contracted to purchase Donnell when information about the apparently bidless sale came out.

Janet Offensend was in place to preside over the BPL's introduction of real estate plans to "leverage" all the BPL's library real estate with its "Strategic Real Estate Plan."  That plan launched with the proposed sale and drastic shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights central destination library in Downtown Brooklyn that very exactly replicates the Donnell deal that her husban David implemented.  It was planned at exactly the same time and while Mr Offensend was implementing the sale of Donnell.

Janet Offensend's husband, David Offensend is another player amongst the Brooklyn Heights power elite (another former Brooklyn Heights Association board member and president) and, on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) has been a big pusher for development in Brooklyn Bridge Park where he and fellow BBPC board member, Hank Gutman a BPL trustee listed above have also been purchasing condos in the such new development, something the Conflicts of Interest Board ruled not to be a conflict.  Presumably Janet will also like in that Brooklyn Bridge Park condominium.

Sharon Lee Greenberger

Sharon L. Greenberger-   While Ms. Greenberger is no longer a trustee, she was one of the very most influential ones in terms of launching library sales while she was.  She is also still in the background respecting library sales because she is now on the board of the “Charles H. Revson Foundation which has been supporting the sale and shrinkage of New York City Libraries in quite a few ways.  (Recently the Revson Foundation was one of a principal movers and funders behind “Re-imagining New York City's Branch Libraries” that set up an orchestration of “six interdisciplinary teams to present innovative design solutions for the challenges facing branch libraries.”)

When she was a BPL trustee Ms. Greenberger fascinatingly emerged as a spearhead pushing the plans to put library real estate in the hands of developers. The “L” in her name stands for “Lee.”  She was appointed to the BPL board by Mayor Bloomberg showing up on the BPL board in December of 2004, appointed by Mayor Bloomberg (for a five year term).  This is roughly the same time that Janet Offensend makes her first appearance in the BPL's minutes.

Ms. Greenberger was chief of staff for Bloomberg’s top development aid, Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding.

It was Ms. Greenberger who became the key designated leader of a BPL board task force created in the fall of 2008 to promote the "Strategic Real Estate Plan."  She regularly appears in the minutes pushing it forward. She is the one who introduced to the board Karen Backus, the former Forest City Ratner vice president, who was hired to create the real estate plan in 2007 and who in her task force role was responsible for coordinating with Backus and being a conduit for all board comments to her.  Greenberger’s committee in February 2009 also reviews whether to hold off on capital work that needs to be done at the Sunset Park Library, given that a secret “Revson Study” called for that library to become a “Mixed Use Real Estate” opportunity.

The BPL even now, years afterward, refuses to furnish the “Revson Study” pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law as it is required to.

February 2009 was also when Ms. Greenberg’s real estate committee is reportedly in communication with New York City’s Landmarks Commission to ensure that landmark designations don’t interfere with the real estate-related ambitions the BPL has for its multiple historic libraries.

Greenberger over time winds up in a fair number of other development and government related positions, all of which are interesting.

For a while Greenburger was involved with NYU’s controversial expansion plan as Vice President of Campus Planning and Real Estate for New York University.  She was described as having “bolted” from it.  When she left to become President and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority, Greenwich Village Historic District Director Andrew Berman  criticized her for her involvement in selling air rights to developers while at NYU and quipped that the same thing might now happen to NYC schools, something that ultimately proved to be a very valid concern. (See: Planning czar bolts N.Y.U. for Bloomberg schools job, By Lincoln Anderson, April 19 - 25 2006.

From the School Construction Authority Ms. Greenberger moved on to the Department of Education.  She left there in 2011 following the exceptionally brief troubled tenure and departure of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, the Bloomberg appointee from the public relations world who had no education experience.

Until recently Sharon L. Greenberger was at New York Presbyterian, SVP for Facilities Development and Engineering.

Greenberger has just now arrived at another institution that caretakes appreciable other assets about which the public cares.  About a month ago the YMCA announced Ms. Greenberger is becoming its new president.  She starts in July.  See: YMCA of Greater New York Announces Sharon Greenberger as New President & CEO, April 7, 2015.

Laurel Blatchford

Laurel Blatchford- Ms. Blatchford, served on the BPL board appointed by the mayor on the BPL board 2007-2009 (roughly the same time as Offensend).  Ms. Blatchford was a Senior Policy Advisor to Daniel Doctoroff before she moved on to become Deputy Commissioner for Strategy Planning, Policy, and Communications at New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).  She later was involved on the private sector side in events working towards the dismantling of the South Street Historic District. General Growth Properties is the company that put the South Street Seaport into bankruptcy.  See: Bankruptcy Unlikely to Shut the South Street Seaport, by Charles V. Bagli, April 17, 2009. Ms. Blatchford then went to work under Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, who himself went to Washington from his job with the Bloomberg administration as housing chief, where one of the things he had worked on before he left was privatizing NYCHA property.  Although still representing Mayor Bloomberg on the BPL board, Blatchford was no longer working for the city when she went to work for Donovan.

Thomas Amon

Thomas G. Amon (Sr.)- Former Chair-  Mr. Thomas Graham Amon recently came back after being on the board to be part of the "Community Advisory Committee" ("CAC")whose job it was to steer the Brooklyn Heights to sale without that sale being opposed or the amount of the proposed shrinkage debated.  Even before he returned to join the CAC he was part of mysterious "steering committee" that oddly made the deicison for the "Friends of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library" that the Brooklyn Heights Library should be sold and shrunk.  That decision was made with the steering committee generating a circulated statement on or around 2/20/2013 and then adopted and posted (coordinating with the Brooklyn Heights Association) on 3/17/2-13.  He was first appointed to the BPL Board of Trustees in 2003 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and served as Board Chair beginning 2006. He is an attorney in private practice in New York City. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of a number of public and private companies and has lived in Brooklyn Heights with his wife Carol and their three sons for decades (since about 1974).  Mr. Amon commented on his appointment: "Our fully-engaged, recently consolidated Board of Trustees is unique amongst not-for-profit organizations – their energy and tireless dedication to this institution is something that amazes and inspires all of us." In 1999 the New York Post reported that Mr. Amon was accused by his former law partner and law firm employees of a squandering loss for personal gain of $147,000 of the firm’s $180,000 retirement fund, plus there reportedly was an additional $20,000 in funds that were not litigated as part of the trial held because Mr. Amon repaid them.  Mr. Amon invested in a "'volatile' telecommunications firm that was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm was his biggest client and had made him a director" and another investment that it was claimed "Amon made in exchange for legal referrals." Mr. Amon’s law partner,  Richard Sabatini, did not ask the trial judge, Denise Cote, based on her relationship with Amon’s wife Carol, and in the end, while finding Mr. Amon responsible, the judge's decision insulated Amon from financial lose in a way detrimental to Amon’s former law partner in a way that probably surprised Mr. Sabatini.   SPOUSE: Carol Bagley Amon- Chief Judge United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York, Nominated by George H.W. Bush 1990.  SON?: Thomas Graham Amon, Jr.- Attorney for New York State Grievance Committee, 335 Adams Street.
Laura Ensler on right (standing next to First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris who was very involved is selling off libraries for Bloomberg
Laura Ensler, Treasurer- Laura was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 2003 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Ms. Ensler was more recently, in 2012, also appointed by Bloomberg as his third term ended, to the board of the soon to be besieged Queens Library board. Commenting on the Community Needs plan she seemed from the BPL minutes to be actively involved in library sale plans.  She is Director of Community Development and Outreach for the Children and Family Services of the Visiting Nurse Service of NY. Laura is also a NYC Commissioner for the Mayor's Commission on Women's Issues, serves on the National Advisory Council of Reading is Fundamental and on the national faculty of the Ounce of Prevention Scale Assessment for Pearson Early Learning. Above is a picture of Ms. Ensler with First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris who was formally the person responsible under Bloomberg for the libraries and for other key functions that overlapped with real estate.
Carlos Scissura

Carlos Scissura- Mr. Scissura was on the BPL board as the representative of former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as library sales were being planned.  In Markowitz's office he worked on the first of the planned sales and shrinkages, the Brooklyn Heights Library.  He is now president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce in which capacity he has testified in favor of selling and shrinking the library.
Eric Eve

Eric Eve-  Mr. Eve, the son of an important politician, has held a number of positions over the years,  “a veteran corporate and public policy strategist” was “senior vice president at Citigroup” and “Verizon,” “held the senior intergovernmental relations position for New York State comptroller Carl McCall."   Mr Eve was appointed with Sharon Greenberger to lead the BPL trustee task force created at the November 18, 2008 BPL trustee meeting meeting to promote the "Strategic Real Estate Plan."  All indications are that Bloomberg-appointed Ms. Greenberger was the true leader of this task force.

This post will be added to below to provide more information about the Brooklyn Public Library administration officials, present and former, involved in selling libraries:
Linda E. Johnson with City Councilman Brad Lander with whom she is close and who has been in the forefront pushing for library sales.  Johnson consders Lander "Very, very clever."
Linda E. Johnson- President- Ms. Johnson’s last publicly disclosed compensation was a 23% increase over the prior year ($404,192 as of 2013).  Two years later (June 2015), with library sales pending and pursued by the BPL, the board approved a 2-year extension of her contract at a still undisclosed salary.

Ms. Johnson was born and raised in the Philadelphia region.  She got her undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.  She got a J.D. in law from Suffolk University, in Boston.  She was admitted to practice law in 1983.  Later, (apparently around 2006) she got an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

She began her legal career at Greenberg & Prior in Princeton, New Jersey, which later merged with the Newark firm of Sills Cummis & Gross in Newark.  She practiced environmental law.  For instance defending United States Metals Refining co against a 1987 water pollution lawsuit brought by Public Interest Research Group of New Jersey  and Friends of the Earth.

Beginning what her bio refrers to as "sixteen years" in the private sector, Ms. Johnson left the practice of law in 1990 to join JCI Data Processing (200 South Route 130 Cinnaminson, New Jersey), an information technology company founded in 1958 by her father, Victor Johnson, a privately-held information services and database management provider to magazine publishers and direct marketers. Ms. Johnson led several divisions of the company, including customer service, and sales and marketing. She took over as President of Worlco Data Systems (an affiliate of JCI) in 1993, and became President of JCI in 1994 after merging the two companies.  She served as JCI’s president from 1994 until the company was sold in 2004. After the sale Ms. Johnson remained a shareholder in the payroll business, now known as American Payroll Company.

Starting November 2006 Ms. Johnson served for just over two years as CEO of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. The foundation’s job is rasing funds for the library.  During her term, Ms. Johnson’s bio information says that she raised over $40 million for a capital campaign to finance a major renovation and expansion of the Parkway Central Library.  The library was 280,000-square-foot Beaux Arts building built in 1927 to which was being added a 180,000-square-foot addition, designed by Moshe Safdie & Associates (presumably creating a 460,000 square foot library).  Explianing why the library should be enlarged by by 64% Ms. Johnson, in May 2007 explained: "This was built for books, and we need to build a space for people."

Overseeing the Library's annual giving campaigns included Ms. Johnson's responsibility for signature Library programs such as One Book, One Philadelphia (which provides 8,000 books to school children), the Free Library Festival, and Summer Reading.  She also reportedly worked on the H.O.M.E. Page Café, "a collaboration with Starbucks that brought food service to Parkway Central Library patrons while providing work opportunities for homeless Philadelphians."

In 2009 Ms. Johnson resigned as chief executive officer of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation to become Interim President and CEO of the National Constitution Center (NCC) for a while (January through November).  That year she also contributed between $25,000 and $49,999 to the center according to the giving report.  She replaced Joseph M. Torsella who served for ten years.  She was reportedly a member of the center's board since 1997.  (At that time she was put back on the library foundation's board, a spot she gave up when she became CEO.)

Assuming her post, it was said that she would work closely with the center's chairman, former President William Jefferson Clinton, who succeeded former President George H.W. Bush.

Johnson left the foundation the month (Januray 2009) that a planned groundbreaking for the major project of her tenure (the Parkway Library project involving the 180,000-square-foot addition, designed by Moshe Safdie & Associates) for which she was raising funds was postponed for financial reasons:
That project is still happening, leaders say, though a groundbreaking planned for last month was postponed, according to spokeswoman Sandra Horrocks.

"We were ready to go to groundbreaking, but with the situation with the [proposed closings of 11] branches and the economy, we decided not to go to groundbreaking just yet," Horrocks said.

    Said Johnson, "I think the project should go forward and the board should do everything they can do to make it happen. From a personal standpoint, I can't stress how committed I am to the project."

    About $105 million has been promised toward the project's $175 million goal, Horrocks said. "We have a ways to go. We're still fund-raising," she said.

    About $14 million of the money is being spent on restoration of the library's Beaux Arts building. Also, $10 million of the budget is earmarked for endowment.

    The 180,000-square-foot addition, designed by Moshe Safdie & Associates, would take about three years to build from groundbreaking, Johnson said.
The whole project was eventually scrapped in favor of simply focusing on maintaining the existing asset. The year that Ms. Johnson started at the foundation it was announced that the foundation had received a $15 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor to help fund the project, which it estimates will cost $175 million with the requirement that the money couldn't come from big foundations or corporations. It had to come from individuals and small family foundations.  See also: Philly.com- Follow the (lack of) money: Libraries hit by random closings, Kirstin Lindermayer, December 14, 2009 (“Circulation is also up, but the library's materials budget is about 40 percent less than last year.  .. "We're not talking about that much money," said [Amy Dougherty, director of the Friends of the Free Library of Philadelphia, who has been tracking the unscheduled closings] about the difference. "It can be found between the second and fourth floors in City Hall.")

Ms. Johnson started at the BPL in July 2010 commencing as new interim the Executive Director- a position thereafter corporately rechristened "president."   She became permanent August 16, 2011.  At her first meeting with the BPL board when she started Ms. Johnson told the board how the BPL's real estate plans were her priority.  In October 2011, not long after she became permanent she reminded the board of the the goal of locking the next mayor into the real estate plans that were secretly underway.

Often noted is that until December 2013 she was dating Leonard Lauder with plans to marry that were broken off just before the scheduled ceremony.  The New York Post states that they had been dating since 2012.  The Times says they were engaged in 2013.  The relationship began after Lauder’s first wife Evelyn died in 2011.  Leonard Lauder's very politically active brother Ron Lauder, also a famously wealthy billionaire was involved in clearing the prohibitions that allowed Bloomberg to get his third term.

Working for the Constitutional Center Ms. Johnson lived in Center City Philadelphia, probably near Rittenhouse Square to which she, like the parents of Jordan Barowitz's wife donated money for. Her bio information notes that during her spare time she enjoys collecting contemporary art, contemporary craft and early American folk art. She is also a long-distance runner who has completed multiple marathons.

Ms. Johnson takes postions on many boards, some presently and some on the past; Currently: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (which supports library sales), Hamilton College, Metropolitan Opera (as Advisory Director),  and she is a mmember of the The Aspen Institute (along with NYPL president Tony Marx where there is a category post about “Disrupting nonprofits to serve the world”?), and Previously, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation (not now, nor emeritus), Germantown Friends School Committee (31 West Coulter Street, Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network (Philadelphia region).
David Woloch- making a misleading presentation to Brooklyn Community Board 2 committee
David Woloch- BPL Executive Vice President and Spokesperson- Mr. Woloch’s last position before coming to work for the BPL was at the New York City Department of Transportation as DOT Deputy Commissioner for External Affairs for twelve years (2000 – 2012) where he was written about by City and State (along with BPL trustees Kyly Kimball and Carlos Scissura) as one of the “The 20 Most Influential Unelecteds.”  There, during the Bloomberg administration, he worked for, and City and State says had a “reputation of fierce loyalty to” Iris Weinshall, Senator Schumer’s wife and DOT Commissioner.  Ms. Weinshall is now at the New York Public Library as Chief Operating Officer at the NYPL replacing David Offensend and taking over where Offensend left off with various plans for the sale and shrinking of important NYPL libraries.  In connection with its real estate plans the NYPL rechristened its 42nd Street Central Reference Library the Stephen A. Schwarzman building naming it after its board member Stephen A. Schwarzman who is the head of the Blackstone Group, among other things the world’s largest real estate investment company.  Schwarzman and Blackstone are one of Schumer’s biggest campaign donors and Blackstone hired Schumer’s former staff counsel to do its lobbying.  City and State describing Woloch as “seen as a chameleon-like figure who adjusts perfectly to the changing agenda of the DOT” also, before going to the BPL, as having loyaty to the next DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (who liked and installed bike paths ex-commissioner Weinshall litigated against when she was at CUNY leveraging assets).  Paul Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives describes how Woloch used lubricating cocktails to get results with him.  Woloch started in government in 1993 his earlier positions with the city being Assistant Director NYC Mayor's Office of Operations and then Assistant Commissioner with NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services.  Since the departure from the BPL of Josh Nachowitz, Woloch has been the lead spokesperson for the BLP plans to sell libraries.  He is competent and appears to have no compunction about presenting the BPL’s misleading representations about what those plans entail.

Josh Nachowitz in the Brooklyn Heights Blog

Josh Nachowitz- Former Vice Brooklyn Public Library  President of Government and Community Relations (January 2012 - August 2014)- Mr. Nachowitz was the principal spokesperson to explain the BPL library sale plans that surfaced at the end of January 2013.  Mr. Nachowitz moved to the library system from the Bloomberg administration’s city real estate development agency the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) just in time to preside over these sell-offs. While spokesperson for the BPL Mr, Nachowtiz said some interesting things.  When the sale of the Brooklyn Heights Library was announced Mr. Nachowitz denied that the BPL was looking at real estate deals system-wide and had been doing so for some years.  This was despite the fact that the system had been looking at doing such deals for years, at least since 2007.  It was also despite the fact that the proposed sale of the Pacific Branch Library was being announced at almost the same time, and despite the fact that BPL president Linda Johnson would ultimately tell the City Council that the sale and shrinkage of the library is viewed as a “model” for transactions across the city at all three library systems. Further, in case it wasn’t noticed, the proposed Brooklyn Heights deal itself essentially replicated the Donnell Library sale announced in 2007, planned at the same time.  It was Mr. Nachowitz who explained that the BPL intended for the city to execute a deal with a developer on or before December 31, 2013, the last day of the Bloomberg administration ("a bit of a fast trot").  It was Mr. Nachowitz who explained that it shouldn’t be expected that one could enforce any MOU between the city and the BPL for returning proceeds from selling the library to the BPL for other libraries.  It was Mr. Nachowitz who, in upbeat fashion, talked about how by selling the Brooklyn Heights Library the BPL could (with whatever money it actually got from the library sale) “buy new furniture?  How much might Mr. Nacowitz's heart have been in selling libraries?  The December 15, 2015 evening that her BPL board was applauding announcement of the expected sale and shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library Ms. Johnson recounted a story about Mr. Nachowitz, no longer working at the BPL, and the backroom deal that was being secretly negotiated with Deputy Mayor for Developement Alicia Glen:
I also just want to tell you all, just a funny anecdote-  After we had been at City Hall for like three days, who should walk in to make sure that he was there. . , but Josh Nachowitz [appreciative laughter for the trustees] and we were very happy to see him and thrilled to see that he was still so involved in it and so committed that he showed up.
Mr. Nachowitz is now at the Alliance for Downtown New York as Assistant Vice President for Economic Development.  Before he worked for EDC Mr. Nachowitz worked for the New York City Council for four years as Legislative Policy Analyst, Chief of Staff, Legislative Director and then two years as Policy Director
New York for the not enitirely uncontroversial League of Conservation Voters.

David Giles

David Giles - Chief Strategy Officer- David Giles started as the BPL as "Chief Strategy Officer" at the end of November, in time for commencement of his employment to be announced by Linda John at the December 15, 2015 BPL trustees meeting.  The "Strategy" desription both at the BPL and the NYPL has been used to conote real estate activity and responsibilities.  Mr. Giles came to the BPL from the Center For an Urban Future where he spent three years writing about libraries writing two very competantly fact filled reports about libraries which Citizens Defending Libraries has frequently quoted as we feel the facts arer on our side.  The problem is that the two Center For an Urban Future reports both advocate deals sell and turn libraries into real estate transactions, the seond report probably more so and evn endorsing the sale and shrinakge of the Donnell library.  Announcing his new appointment to the board (along with the apointment of Story Bellows from Phildelphia) Ms. Johnson said:
We’ve been a big fan of his for a long time and feel incredibly fortunate.  He has decided that he‘s written enough about libraries, he’d actually like to be here and do some of the great things that he’s been developing and talking about for the last few years.

He’s testified in City Council and State Assembly about a number of topics (incuding libraries).  He’s written Op-ed pieces: We’ve always be thrilled to have an independent third party talking about the very issues that we talk about, giving us the credibility we’ve earned when we’ve been talking about topics like deferred maintenance and the deplorable conditions of some of the buildings.  So he comes with a very short learning curve.
Ms. Johnson said that Mr. Giles (and Ms. Bellow's) had been able to "hit the ground running."  The point Ms. Johnson made to the board about the Gifford Miller Center For an Urban Future reports giving third-party credibility to assertions the BPL was making was a point she had made to the board at a previous trustee meeting as well.  The Center For an Urban Future is heavily funded by the Revson Foundation (where library-selling former BPL trustee Sharon Greenberger can be found) and is just one of the groups and enterprises that the Revson Foundation is pouring money into in connectin with the promotion of library sales.  As for the Op-ed's Ms. Johnson mentioned, Mr. Gile wrote an Op-ed fro the Daily News advocating that the Sunnset Park Library be sold for developement: De Blasio's time to lead on libraries- They're in urgent need of transformation, by David Giles, November 17, 2014.   Jonathan Bowles, the editor of Mr. Giles' two reports at the Center For an Urban Futurewrote an op-ed for City and State advocating that the Brooklyn Heights Library be sold for developement: Commentary/Op-Ed- Why I support the plan to redevelop the Brooklyn Heights Library/Opinion: A creative solution to city libraries’ financial woes, By Jonathan Bowles, December 9, 2015.  The two Op-eds track each other.  Giles says the Sunset Park Library should be sold: because of “broken mechanical equipment” and for the sake of  a "bold new plan to re-invigorate the city's long-neglected branch libraries."  Bowles says the Brooklyn Heights Library should be sold: because of “emergent repair needs. . .ventilation and air-conditioning units stop working, forcing unscheduled closures” and for the sake of  a "a path forward [so] the system will be able to rejuvenate its network . . ."  The "credibility" Ms. Johnson refers to as being thereby "earned" is, however, lacking.  Rather than calling Mayor Bloomberg out for financially starving the libraries preparatorty for these sales, Giles implies in his Op-ed that the opposite is the case: "Mayor Bloomberg made new investments in cultural facilities and parks a cornerstone of his legacy."  Bowles denigrates the Brooklyn Heights Library saying what simply isn't the case: "Much of the square footage of the current Brooklyn Heights Library is dedicated to a bomb shelter and office space, and the existing branch needs more than $9 million in repairs."  There is no space devoted to a bomb shelter.  The library, substantially expanded and fully upgraded in 1993 has two half-floors underground dedicated to storga eof books for retrieval.  The extimate for repairs is also simply a repitition of the BPL's own clearly inflated figures.  Asked about the phyiscal condition of the Heights Libray when he testified before the City Planning Commission Bowles sought to denigrate it by saying he considered the library “drab and dingy.”  At the meeting where he was introduced to the trustees in his new position, the trustees were told that the sale and shrinakge of the Brooklyn Heights Library, previously decsribed by Ms. Johnson as a "model" for transactios by all three library systems' future transactions, was a “huge turning point for the library system” and “across the city in general” with Johnson `pioneering’ the future of libraries.   Mr. Giles has previously poo-pooed the idea that there was any overarching approach to the sale and shrinkage of the city's libraries.  He has maintained that the trustees not be considered to have motives ulterior to the best interests of libraries and should simply be viewed as being in serach of creative solutions.  Before he started as a research assistant at the Center for an UrbanFuture (April 2011), Mr. Giles was a freelance writer in the New York area.  When Mr. Giles introduced himself to the board he echoed Ms. Johnson saying that hje had come to "implement" what he had previously just been writing about.

Richard Reyes-Gavilan

Richard Reyes-Gavilan- Former Brooklyn Public Library Chief Librarian- Mr. Reyes-Gavilan came to the Brooklyn Public Library from the NYPL in January 2008.  He transferred just after the NYPL's announcement of the sudden secretive sale of the Donnell Library and its unveiling of the Central Library Plan that was supposed to sell of two other major NYPL libraries, the Mid-Manhattan and the 34th Street Science, Industry and Business Library (SIBL).  At the BPL Mr. Reyes-Gavilan worked on library sales, most prominently the proposed sale ad shrinkage of the Brooklyn Heights Library that closely replicates the sale and shrinkage of the Donnell library.  Mr. Reyes-Gavilan worked at the Donnell Library (starting about 1997) until he went from there to work for NYPL Central in 2002 (before Donnell he had worked for the NYPL for two years at libraries in the Bronx.). NYPL Central was making the decisions about the NYPL library sales under Chief Operating Officer David Offensend who started there in the spring of 2004.  October 18, 2011, Mr. Reyes-Gavilan was named as the Brooklyn Public Library's director and chief librarian, “the first person to assume that role.”    The creation of that new "librarian" post plus the appointment of Reyes-Gavilan it helped to cover for that fact that BPL President Linda Johnson (who became permanent in her position August 2011 was not a librarian and therefore didn't qualify to be in charge of library functions under New York State regulation.  Ms. Johnson told the BPL at her first meeting that real estate deals were her priority.  Upon being appointed Chief Librarian Reyes-Gavilan said, “I look forward to working with Linda to lead the transformation.”  The Brooklyn Eagle reported how, up until that time Mr. Reyes-Gavilan "oversaw creation of a facilities master plan for the Central Library" a plan that closely paralleled the NYPL Central Library Plan unveiled just as he departed the NYPL.  Mr. Reyes-Gavilan left the BPL to become Executive Director of the Washington, D.C. Public Library in March of 2014.  Asked by Library Journal whether there were any projects at the BPL he wished he could see through he said: "Pick a page from our latest Strategic Plan [which although FOILed is still being kept secrete so the public has never been allowed to see it], and there's something I'd like to be involved in there. We've been working for the better part of the last year to redevelop a branch in Brooklyn Heights, and it would have been great to be part of a deep community design process around that branch. I'll miss that and will follow it from afar; it's a great project for the system as a whole."  [Note: the "community design process" was entirely bogus.]  Moving to DC Reyes-Gavilan steps into a library management world with its own, but parallel problems, among them underfunding, and plans to redevelop the Martin Luther King Library that are raising hackles with a Ralph Nader opposition group, the Library Renaissance Project and another group the District Dynamos.  At one BPL board meeting (while Mr. Reyes-Gavilan was still at the BPL) BPL president Linda Johnson and then BPL board Chair Anthony Crowell discussed before the board how the BPL's keeping books off-site from libraries would be a model for other urban libraries around the country.