It is important to understand that the current Zoning Board of Appeals is really Mayor Joanne Yepsen’s legacy. During her two terms in office she appointed 5 of the current 7 members.
While she made some good appointments of people who are independent of the real estate industry, she also reappointed former Mayor Scott Johnson appointee Bill Moore as chair. As readers may recall Bill Moore played a significant role in the approval of the Murphy Lane debacle as well as the Witt Downton Walk project among others.
Consider also Yepsen’s appointments of Oksana Ludd and Brad Gallagher as alternates. As it turns out, both work for the law firm Barklay Damon. This is a large corporate law firm with offices across the state. It employs approximately two hundred and seventy-five attorneys. The Barklay in the name is William “Will” Barklay who is the Republican deputy minority leader in the New York State Assembly.
Here is an amusing tidbit from his Wikipedia page:
As chairman of the New York State Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, Barklay set in motion—and insists in the legality of—the so-called “Edward Hennessey Stalking Incident” in which on behalf of Barklay’s chosen candidate Dean Murray, a Democratic opponent, Edward Hennessey,was surveilled in his home and a GPS tracking bug affixed to his automobile, to which Mr. Barklay expounded: “One of the methods of doing that is tracking where the guy is staying at night.”
This is a link to the full article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Barclay_(New_York_politician)
According to a reliable source, Barklay Damon’s practice includes lobbying services and they have represented corporations fighting Super Fund clean ups.
In the true spirit of these kinds of practices, they are not partisan when it comes to donating to politicians or in who is associated with their firm. Senator Neil Breslin who is a Democrat and represents Albany is associated with their firm.
I have previously posted information about Mr. Gallagher’s area of law. Here is a description of Ms. Ludd’s practice from the Barklay Damon website.
“Oksana Ludd concentrates her practice in commercial real estate and various types of commercial lending and other finance transactions. Oksana has extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of commercial real estate development including acquisition, construction, financing, and leasing. She handles complex financings and is actively engaged in commercial mortgage and asset-based secured loans on behalf of lenders and borrowers.”
Ms. Ludd and Mr. Gallagher joined with Johnson appointees Keith Kaplan and Adam McNeil to approve the extraordinary variances granted the owner of the S. Franklin Street scrap metal business located across the alley from Chairman Bill Moore’s home which was described in a previous post.
For some of us it is extremely frustrating that with all the appointments that Mayor Yepsen had the authority to make, that we are still saddled with a current ZBA majority that votes for the kind of projects we saw approved on S. Franklin Street.
Unfortunately Meg Kelly recently appointed Mr. Gallagher to a regular board position for a seven year term.