When two parties enter into a contract, transparency and honesty are critical to ensuring that both benefit from the agreement. Over 10 years ago Forrest City Ratner Companies (F.C.R.C.) entered into a contract with our communities. We supported their development in the form of public meetings, protests, calls to politicians, and $1.5 billion in tax revenues. In exchange for this support they promised the community economic development in the form of jobs, business opportunities and affordable housing. 10 years later and it’s clear that F.C.R.C. hasn’t fulfilled the contract, doesn’t plan on it, and lacks the respect and decency to disclose how short they’ve fallen or why.
Last week Ashley Cotton, senior vice president of external affairs at Forest City Ratner Companies (F.C.R.C.), met with Devotion NYC to discuss implementation of the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (C.B.A.) in our communities.
She ran off a bunch of promising statistics, but conveniently didn’t have them with her in writing. She had over a month to prepare for our meeting. As the head of the project’s public relations efforts, it’s amazing that she couldn’t produce anything in that time to show us the work they’ve alleged to have done.
We gave Ashley additional time. We asked her for a full report on F.C.R.C.’s C.B.A. work in the area of economic development. She agreed to deliver the statistics in writing. Ms. Cotton was given a week to produce this report, but she’s failed to produce anything at all.
As the spokesperson for the project, Ashley Cotton’s inaction lets us know that her bosses have not taken adequate steps toward fulfilling the C.B.A., that they don’t plan on doing so and that they don’t care who knows.
F.C.R.C. has displayed a blatant pattern of dismissing the economic disenfranchisement they’ve caused by not implementing the C.B.A. within our communities. It’s apparent that F.C.R.C. and their partners in the project (Greenland USA, and Onexim) don’t respect us enough to willingly implement the C.B.A. fully. Ashley Cotton’s behavior is just the latest example of this issue.
F.C.R.C. and their partners don’t want to be held accountable for their actions. It’s up to all of us to make sure that they are. With your help, we’ll make sure they supply our communities with the resources and opportunities we were promised!
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @Devotion_NYC_ or join our email list for next steps!
Yesterday Ashley Cotton of F.C.R.C. met with Michael West of Devotion NYC to discuss C.B.A. implementation and compliance monitoring since 2005. The meeting was a great success, and we’re extremely hopeful moving forward!
Here’s what happened:
Ms. Cotton was extremely eager to discuss the alleged C.B.A. statistics. She confidently communicated a number of stats regarding employment, construction contracting, post-construction contracting, business development and more. The figures sounded overwhelmingly positive upon first listen, but Ms. Cotton didn’t have the numbers in writing for us at that moment.
Since 2005 F.C.R.C. has never published a record fully outlining C.B.A. implementation. Many in our communities are unsure of exactly what the developer’s done, for whom, or how they’ve done it. So although the numbers that Ms. Cotton divulged during the meeting sounded great, we had to ask for them in writing. We asked for this written record because we’re eager to share the data with you, the community.
We asked Ashley Cotton for a complete record of F.C.R.C.’s C.B.A. work within a week. She agreed to send us one! This is a huge for the community. It means that for the first time, the work F.C.R.C. has done will be public!
Once this record is public, our communities will be able to fully take advantage of the resources and opportunities designated for us in the C.B.A.
We’ll keep you in the loop here on our blog and on social media. Follow us @Devotion_NYC_ for instant updates!