Even Bertha Lewis With All Her Baggage is Over the Mayor Who is Kidding Who
.de Blasio Sends Flower$ to Bertha
de Blasio Turns Against Another Friend Bertha Lewis
De Blasioangers Bertha Lewis when aides refuse to let her attend City Hall roundtable(NYDN) Mayor de Blasio has ticked off another friend. This time he’s angered longtime pal Bertha Lewis, a founding member of the Working Families Party, when his aides refused to let her attend a City Hall roundtable on her pet issue — the city’s use of minority and women-owned businesses. Lewis found out about the meeting Monday from another advocate and called up to see if she could send a representative from the Black Institute, the think tank she founded. She was shocked to learn she wasn’t on the invite list. Maya Wiley, the mayor’s counsel, who is working to boost the number of city contracts awarded to women and minorities, told her it would be “inappropriate” to come because the meeting was just for developers, according to Lewis. “That was her word,” said Lewis. “She said it was by ‘invitation only and it’s closed.’ I was like, ‘Are you serious?’” Undeterred, Lewis — whose relationship with the mayor goes back to the 1990s — sent a rep to the meeting, but he only got as far as the police desk. “Why is there such secrecy around such a public issue?” said Lewis. * De Blasio upset a longtime friend and ally, Bertha Lewis, a founding member of the Working Families Party, when his aides refused to let her attend a City Hall roundtable on her pet issue — the city’s use of minority and women-owned businesses.* De Blasio wants city agencies to adopt new measures to hire more minority- and women-owned businesses so the city can reach its goal of investing $16 billion in the businesses over the next decade, Capital NewYork reports: * City Reaches Compromise Over Waste Transfer Location on Upper East Side (WSJ) *City Reaches Compromise Over Waste Transfer Location on Upper East Side (NY1)
de Blasio Hours After Daily News Fight Story Approves A New Ramp For Bertha
Update A Quickie Makeup for Bertha And de Blasio who is A Lobbyist Against the Waste Transfer Station De Blasio moves controversial ramp at E. 91st Street (Capital) * New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration plans to move the entrance of an
de Blasio's ACORN Election Machine Falling Apart?
ACORN sowed seeds for de Blasio (NYP) The leftist group ACORN has been plotting for more than a decade to install Bill de Blasio at City Hall, a Democratic Party source has told The Post. “Without exaggeration, ACORN’s long-range plan since 2001 was to elect de Blasio mayor,” said the Democratic insider. “De Blasio was a big ACORN project.” The Democratic mayoral candidate has marched in lock step with ACORN, now renamed New York Communities for Change, even before he took public office in 2001. The group backed de Blasio that year over Legal Aid Services director Steven Banks in a six-way Brooklyn City Council race, despite Banks’ reputation at the time as a one of the city’s leading champions of the poor and liberal causes. Eight years later, ACORN was back at de Blasio’s side and, with the union-financed Working Families Party, helped him become public advocate, a perch he used to become the Democratic nominee for mayor. A key cog in the de Blasio political machine is Bertha Lewis, the former ACORN head who also co-founded the Working Families Party. On primary election night earlier this month, when she stood on stage t next to de Blasio, Lewis made it clear ACORN’s work had paid off. “We’re baaaack. The right wing will have to deal with it,” she chuckled.More on Bertha Lewis
ACORN, NY Communities for Change
Bertha Lewis and the Ratner Game
Bertha Lewis Sees Reflection; Shrieks (City Council Watch) Bertha Lewis, the last CEO and “Chief Organizer” of ACORN before that group’s descent into ignominy, wrote last week that while
New York State political corruption is unfortunate, the real problem in New York is MWBE fraud. Companies seeking preferential government contracts put minorities or women forward in order to get bids or tax credits, says Lewis, but these “fronts” deprive real minority businesses of opportunities. The case Lewis cites involves Skanska, which in 2011 was fined because the construction giant gave $5.6 million to a minority-run business to pretend it was a subcontractor on the Dey Street entrance to the Fulton subway station. The business, which was run by an Indian-American gentleman named Balu Kamat, was not capable of doing the work, though it did in fact get the money. Skanska wound up doing the work itself. In other countries they have different names for this sort of arrangement. Balu Kamat pled guilty to fraud and served two years of probation, including six months under home confinement.
Bertha Lewis, the founder and president of The Black Institute, which operates out of the offices of well-known political consultancy The Advance Group, insists that this sort of fraud is “not a victimless crime,” and that minority “fronts,” or “men-in-skirts” as she calls them, have “blocked the creation of new jobs in communities of color.” May I remind my readers of a speech that Bertha Lewis gave in 2004, when she stood in front of Brooklyn Community Board 2, and praised Bruce Ratner and his Atlantic Yards development, saying, we have negotiated what we believe is the real jewel in this crown: not an arena, but a 50/50 housing program, the only program of its type in this country. No other developer has ever committed to 50% of their housing, as of right, which they could do, they could do all market housing.
As Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report has pointed out, this claim was entirely false. A large portion of the site was zoned for manufacturing, and required extensive rezoning to allow for any housing, much less the massive towers that Ratner wanted. Bertha Lewis’ job was to provide Forest City Ratner with political cover so he could push ahead with the development, which in any case has scantily delivered on its promises. In fact, by some counts, the current wave of development in downtown
Brooklyn has had the effect of destroying far more affordable units than it will ever create.
Bertha Lewis’ whole career has consisted of serving as a front of one sort or another. In her article she demands the creation of an official
New York City "Chief Diversity Officer." Surely she has someone close at hand in mind for the job...maybe, Bertha Lewis herself? Certainly, given her PR work for Forest City Ratner, nobody can say she is not well-qualified for the position.
Litwin's Fed Rat Dorego Help Fund Pledge 2 Which Funded Lewis and Advance
Crain’s New York Business looked at how Bertha Lewis, an early de Blasio endorser, was hired to pressure the mayor on theMore on Bertha Lewis
Upper East Side waste transfer station, noting “a person with knowledge of the hiring said Ms. Lewis’ connection with him was ‘a huge part’ of the decision. It’s an example of how those in the new mayor’s orbit can benefit from proximity to him.”* De Blasio ally paid to fight him over Upper East Side trash station plan(NYDN) Pledge 2 Protect hired the Advance Group, a Manhattan-based Democratic consulting firm that had just run a $1 million campaign to sink de Blasio rival Christine Quinn. Pledge 2 Protect also hired Ms. Lewis, who shares an office with the Advance Group and whose nonprofit is a client of it.* City to shut down part of Asphalt Green — used by 100,000 children a year on Upper East Side — during construction of controversial waste-transfer station ramp(NYDN) Sources told Crain's that Mr. Dorego was a major funder of the group, but does not appear to have registered as a nonprofit or released a tax return, so its finances are unclear. Gracie Point 's first lobbying disclosure with the city, from 2003, lists Mr. Dorego as the contact. Mr. Dorego did not return a phone call.* Bertha Lewis to Run Citywide Tour BoostingMinority and Women-Owned Businesses (NYO) Gracie Point
How Bruce Ratner Wins Approval for his Projects
Daily News Editorial:
Bertha Lewis Bags Plastic $$$The Plastic Bag Fight imposing a 10-cent fee on paper and plastic grocery bags, is a regressive tax upon the poor and working class Its About the Bag Company Owners Funding Lobbyists To Stop An Ideology Over Reality Driven Council
In a tough new ad campaign, neighborhood activists plan to take direct aim at de Blasio, accusing him of endangering children and turning his back on a pledge to make the city safer for pedestrians with plans to place a truck ramp on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Times reports:
New York City bag tax, which would impose a 10-cent fee on paper and plastic grocery bags, is a regressive tax upon the poor and working class and should be rejected by the New York City Council, the Post writes:
The dispute centers on an unused garbage transfer station on the shore of the
East River, which is set to be reopened soon, over residents’ objections. Bag lobby pays anti-fee advocate(Capital) Bertha Lewis, founder of the the Black Leadership Action Coalition and an outspoken opponent of a proposed plastic bag fee, is receiving payments from the pro-bag American Progressive Bag Alliance, the head of the group confirmed to reporters today. When asked how much BLAC was getting paid, Daniels said, "I really ... that's through an association, I don't know the number."
Lewis recently published an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette opposing the fee, which supporters argue will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic bags that the city uses. Opponents say it will exact an unfair burden on low-income residents. Lewis said she had been working on building a coalition against the bag fee and approached Daniels as a partner. * City Council debates10 cent fee for plastic and paper bags(NYDN)* New York Today: Plastic Bag Talk(NYT)* New York City Council Hearing on Fee for Bags Becomes Heated(NYT)
Lobbyists Patricia Lynch Is Being Paid 50,000 by the American Progressive Bag Alliance to Work With Bertha Lewis to Kill the Could Bill
She vehemently denied that she was acting in exchange for payment. Earlier this year Crain's reported that another group run by Lewis, the Black Institute, also received payment from a group of Upper East Side residents opposed to the 91st Street marine transfer facility. Lewis spoke out against that plan as well.* Mayor's ally being paid to fight him(Crains) When Bill de Blasio took the stage upon winning his mayoral primary last fall, community organizer Bertha Lewis stood beside him, crowing about liberalism's ascendancy in
New York City. Yet last month, hours before Mr. de Blasio gave his first budget address, the outspoken Ms. Lewis was trashing a de Blasio-backed waste-management plan on the steps of City Hall. Ms. Lewis and Mr. de Blasio are longtime allies. They helped found the Working Families Party in 1998 and supported the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn. Ms. Lewis' connection with Ratner raised eyebrows at the time: * New TV ad: "DeBlasio's dirty little secret"(NYDN) Atlantic Yards developer Forest City
Bertha Lewis Has Made Her Own Niche in Campaign Lobbyists Shadow Government
Lewis Who Work With Advance in ACORN Now Works With Advance as Lobbyists Trying to Stop the Westside Waste Transfer Station
As her nonprofit Acorn was facing dire financial problems in 2008 because of an embezzlement scandal, the developer lent it $1 million and promised $500,000 in grants. Last spring, Pledge 2 Protect raised nearly $429,000 between April and October and spent more than $131,000 on mailers telling
Upper East Side voters which 2013 candidates supported and opposed the transfer station. After Mr. de Blasio won the Democratic primary despite being targeted by the group, leaders of Pledge 2 Protect met with a consulting firm, Mercury Public Affairs, which was running an independent spending campaign funded by billionaire David Koch and others boosting Mr. de Blasio's general-election opponent, Republican Joseph Lhota. Instead of opposing the heavily favored Mr. de Blasio in the general election, however, Pledge 2 Protect hired the Advance Group, a Manhattan-based Democratic consulting firm that had just run a $1 million campaign to sink de Blasio rival Christine Quinn. Pledge 2 Protect also hired Ms. Lewis, who shares an office with the Advance Group and whose nonprofit is a client of it.* City to shut down part of Asphalt Green — used by 100,000 children a year on Upper East Side — during construction of controversial waste-transfer station ramp(NYDN)
Less Than Six Degrees of Bertha Lewis Separation: de Blasio Teachout Edition
Less Than Six Degrees of Bertha Lewis Separation: de Blasio Teachout Edition
"The Working Families Party is urging people to vote for Andrew Cuomo by using a picture of NYC mayor Bill de Blasio"
W.F.P. mailer features Bill de Blasio(Capital) The Working Families Party is urging people to vote for Governor Andrew Cuomo by using a picture of
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio. The labor-backed party has faced persistent criticism since it backed Cuomo over Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout after de Blasio brokered a deal for Cuomo to endorse a Democratic takeover of the State Senate. The W.F.P. is hoping to bolster its vote total, lest it slip behind the Green Party (led by Howie Hawkins) or the Women's Equality Party (created by Cuomo.)* Giuliani: Obama SaidSame Thing about Black Crime as I Did, But I Was Called a Racist(NYO
Bertha Lewis A Founder of WFP In the Battle to Save It
Hawkins is now getting between 7 percent and 9 percent in polls. “We will become the alternative voice to the establishment. We’ll have two parties on the left — the Green Party and the Democratic Party,” he said. * Working Families Party co-founder and activist Bertha Lewis is sending an email to WFP members urging them to vote on the party’s line to ensure its survival, the Daily News reports: * Working Families Party members told to vote for party, notcandidate, in governor's race (NYDN) Activist Bertha Lewis is sending an email to WFP members urging them to vote on the party’s line to ensure its survival. 'Other people may vote personalities, but I believe it's also important to vote for the party — it's only through organized people that we will transform our state,' Lewis wrote.* Working Families Party founding co-chair Bertha Lewis on whyshe is joining progressives to #VoteWFP on Election Day:
Union plans rude greeting for new West Village grocer http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20140528/BLOGS04/140529880 …
Fredo You Will Always Be My Brother
-- BERTHA LEWIS, to Capital, on the WFP’s potential challenge to Cuomo: “Progressives are finally speaking out about what they don’t like. And, you know, you need a little bit more substance and real action and not just saying, you know, i support you. Now, [it’s] not too late. I am the eternal optimist. I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I am optimistic that Aaandreeew will come aaaaaround. And actually come out with a bold, issue that matters to the WFP. … Now make no doubt about it. Pushing gun [control] and marriage equality and those kind of things, you know, absolutely … but of course, we’re like that Prince song, we’re never satisfied. Hahaha.”
More on Bertha Lewis
6. Bertha Lewis, co-founder of the New York chapter of the Working Families Party, and the former head of ACORN, created the Black Institute in order to promote issues of concern to African-Americans, including education, economic fairness and immigration.Seth Barron (
* ACORN, NY Communities for Change
3. As noted by City & State, the Bertha Lewis-led nonprofit the Black Institute continues to operate out of the Advance Group offices, unlike NYCLASS. Ms. Lewis is close to Mayor Bill de Blasio. It is interesting to note that the Black Institute shares office space with the prominent consulting firm the Advance Group, which has deep ties to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and WFP candidates generally. Until her recent departure from the Advance Group, both the firm and the Black Institute had the same spokeswoman, Chelsea Connor, who handled press inquiries for both organizations.
The Mayor's Lobbyist
Crain’s New York Business looked at how Bertha Lewis, an early de Blasio endorser, was hired to pressure the mayor on the Upper East Side waste transfer station, noting “a person with knowledge of the hiring said Ms. Lewis’ connection with him was ‘a huge part’ of the decision. It’s an example of how those in the new mayor’s orbit can benefit from proximity to him.”* De Blasio ally paid to fight him over Upper East Side trash station plan(NYDN) The Daily News reported last fall that Lewis, the former head of ACORN, a community-organizing group, had jumped onboard the anti-garbage station campaign. She said at the time she wanted to fight the perception that only rich white people would be hurt by the project, which is near a public housing project and a recreation facility. She and the mayor have long been allies and helped to form the Working Families Party. Both supported developer Bruce Ratner’s controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
NY Post Repeats CrainsNY Bertha Lewis Eastside Trash $tory
Last Time Bertha Lewis Registered As A Lobbyist With NYC Was in 2008 . . Is the Black Institute Hired to lobby?
We’ve all heard of crony capitalism. Turns out, the left has its own version. And Bertha Lewis is proving herself a master. The one-time head of the radical group ACORN, Lewis is a co-founder of the Working Families Party with Bill de Blasio. Now she has a new nonprofit, called the Black Institute. And it is being funded by Pledge 2 Protect, another nonprofit that is fighting the mayor over plans to locate a waste-station? on the Upper East Side. That’s rich. The UES site was part of deal designed to spread the pain around instead of sticking poor and minority neighborhoods with the trash stations. So you don’t expect a former ACORN leader more comfortable with excoriating the “1 percenters” to be making common cause with them to keep a smelly station out of their neighborhood. For her part, Lewis says she’s opposed the project since 2003 (others say she’s gone back and forth), because it would also impact a nearby low-income housing project. But it’s not the first time she’s gained from her chumminess with the high and mighty. A few years ago, developer Bruce Ratner helped bail out ACORN with a $500,000 donation and $1 million loan. No surprise, Lewis provided crucial support for Ratner’s Atlantic Yards development project. We don’t begrudge Bertha Lewis the right to make a buck. But when she advocates, New Yorkers might do well to look at who’s signing her checks.* As noted Monday by City & State, the Bertha Lewis-led nonprofit the Black Institute continues to operate out of the Advance Group offices, unlike NYCLASS. Ms. Lewis is close to Mayor Bill de Blasio, but there's no indication she was involved in the Advance Group's 2013 electoral efforts, including a super PAC funded in part by NYCLASS that targeted Mr. de Blasio's mayoral rival, Christine Quinn. Other top de Blasio supporters did help fund the group.
Does the Advance Group Work for Former Acorn Leader Bertha Lewis?
It is interesting to note that the Black Institute shares office space with the prominent consulting firm the Advance Group, which has deep ties to Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and WFP candidates generally. Until her recent departure from the Advance Group, both the firm and the Black Institute had the same spokeswoman, Chelsea Connor, who handled press inquiries for both organizations. The Advance Group, run by Scott Levenson, made headlines recently for its campaign work in the 2013 elections, during which the firm apparently took campaign dollars from individual campaigns as well as from outside groups supporting the same candidates through independent expenditures. Assurances that there was no improper coordination of resources have been met with skepticism by some observers (and possibly regulators). Bertha Lewis, co-founder of the New York chapter of the Working Families Party, and the former head of ACORN, created the Black Institute in order to promote issues of concern to African-Americans, including education, economic fairness and immigration.Seth Barron (
City Limits package on Atlantic Yards: Bertha Lewis accepts Forest City's failure to live up to housing promises, still thinks AY will live up to its billing(AYR)
"They're in violation": the not-yet-said words (by Bill de Blasio, Bertha Lewis, Al Sharpton) about Forest City Ratner's obligation, under the Community Benefits Agreement, to hire an Independent Compliance Monitor(AUR)
More details emerge about Forest City Ratner bailout of ACORN: did Bertha Lewis mislead her board?(AYR)
ACORN chief gets back in the game(NYP)
ACORN’s successor group, New York Communities for Change, endorsed de Blasio for mayor in early spring, and a Lewis protege, NYCC field director Harold Miller, helped run de Blasio’s field operation.
Like its predecessor, NYCC is closely linked to the teachers’ union.
The United Federation of Teachers paid NYCC $400,000 last year for union organizing efforts, including for opposition to charter schools.
Minority Contracts Corruption
A grand jury impaneled by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance has found widespread fraud and abuse among contractors purporting to work with minority- and women-owned business enterprises — amounting to $10 million of money diverted in just two cases.* Grand Jury Report Finds ‘Systemic CriminalConduct’ in MWBE Contracts (NYO) * Grand Jury Says Fraud Is Persistent in Efforts to Diversify Contracts in New York City and State(NYT)