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
|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."|
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- 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.)
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 - 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 - 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- 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- 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- 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|
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- 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|
|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.
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.
FORMER BPL TRUSTEES INVOLVED IN LIBRARY REAL ESTATE PLANS
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- 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 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|
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- 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."|
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.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.")
"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.
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|
|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 - 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.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.
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.
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.