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.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

End of February Updates For Library Defenders on Jared Kushner’s Conflicts of Interest (not to Mention Schwarzman and Blackstone) That Put the Public at Risk

As library defenders know, when the Donnell Library was sold NYPL trustee Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group was on one side helping to push the library out of public ownership and Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law and now “presidential advisor” was a principal financial beneficiary on the other.

Conflicts of interest can lead to the plundering of public assets.

Now we have some end of February, breaking news updates about Jared Kushner’s business conflicts of interest and how the public is apparently jeopardized by them.

Jared Kushner’s temporary high level security clearance has been revoked because of the conflicts of interest his business interests pose.

The Washington Post reported:
Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.
(See: Washington Post- National Security- Kushner’s overseas contacts raise concerns as foreign officials seek leverage,  By Shane Harris, Carol D. Leonnig, Greg Jaffe and Josh Dawsey February 27, 2018.)

The New York Times reported on the Washington Post's coverage:
     . .  American officials had intercepted conversations among officials from at least four foreign governments — China, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Israel — about using business opportunities to seek leverage over Mr. Kushner. One American official with knowledge of American intelligence confirmed that one of the countries, the U.A.E., has seemed particularly interested in cultivating ties to Mr. Kushner.
(See: Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance Downgraded, by Michael D. Shear and Katie Rogers Febrary 27, 2018.)

If foreign countries can manipulate Jared Kushner by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and naivete about government, what about our clever homegrown business moguls?

Asked and answered?

The next day the New York Times reported on huge loan deals for Kushner after meetings with him in the White House.   (See: Kushner’s Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings (Apollo, the private equity firm, and Citigroup made large loans last year to the family real estate business of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s senior adviser) by Jesse Drucker, Kate Kelly and Ben Protess, February 28, 2018.)

And Kushner’s old friend Mr. Schwarzman?

The same Times article went on to report:
Mr. Kushner has also met at the White House with Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the private equity firm Blackstone, which in the past has lent money to Kushner Companies for several projects, though all before the election. Until August, Mr. Schwarzman was the head of a White House business advisory council.

“Blackstone has not done any business with Kushner Companies since the election, nor has Steve ever discussed private business matters with Mr. Kushner,” said a Blackstone spokeswoman.
Does that Blackstone denial serve to give an adequate inkling of what the whole story might be?  Read this from Noticing New York to see what may have been glanced over too swiftly by such an off-hand dismissal.   Also, think about those deals described there that Kushner was making (Scharzamn involved) and probably shouldn’t have been making if Kushner was going to lose his security clearance for these reasons.
Reporting About Multiple Troublesome Real Estate Deal Connections Between Presidential Son-In-Law/Advisor Jared Kushner and Presidential Advisor Stephen A. Schwarzman, New York Times & Press Overlook Connections, Including Library Sale, Monday, January 29, 2018
By the way, that last Times article: What was being discussed in one of those Kushner White House meetings before the loan went out to his business?  It was about “infrastructure policy,” that’s the selling off of American public assets like roads and bridges.  The public loses out when those assets get sold to private interests.  Who is in the front of the line to get them?  Mr. Schwarzman and his Blackstone group- Read the Noticing New York article to learn more.

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