Any good development firm worth its salt has got to have a former City Hall staffer or two on hand to navigate the bureaucracy. Last month, Brookfield Properties sent its latest government hire, Joshua Sirefman, into a meeting to help present the company’s multi-billion dollar plan for the West Side rail yards to a joint city-Metropolitan Transportation Authority selection committee.
As The Observer will report in tomorrow’s paper, Brookfield has asked for “clarification” from the city’s Conflict of Interest Board as to Mr. Sirefman’s status, Brookfield spokeswoman Melissa Coley said. The city charter prohibits former employees from addressing the agency where they worked for a full year after they move to the private sector. Mr. Sirefman was a rising star in the Bloomberg administration and worked for Dan Doctoroff, the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, in a couple of capacities–most recently, until December 2006, as the interim president of the Economic Development Corporation.
The selection committee includes four members appointed by the MTA, and two appointed by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, a city agency that worked closely with EDC. One of the city’s appointees, in fact, is Mr. Doctoroff himself, although, according to City Hall, he was not present during Brookfield’s presentation.
The involvement of a former Bloomberg official in the West Side bids is hardly unusual, however. As The Observer will explain tomorrow, each of the five teams bidding on the MTA-owned rail yards has some sort of connection to the current administration. Stay tuned for details.