For Immediate Release October 10, 2014
Candidate for NYS Attorney General Files Complaint With JCOPE About FreshDirect Lobbying
Contact Ramon J. Jimenez 917 517 1320 Also Available for Spanish Language Interviews
Complaint focuses on failure to disclose lobbying by firm paid tens of thousands of dollars
In response to the recent revelations about The Parkside Group apparent lobbying of the NYC Mayor’s office on behalf of trucking company Fresh Direct, Green Party candidate for NYS Attorney General Ramon J. Jimenez today filed a complaint with the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
As demonstrated in the complaint, The Parkside Group has apparently engaged in lobbying activity in New York State on behalf of an effort to obtain tax subsidies, cash grants and living wage law provisions for the trucking company Fresh Direct, but the lobbying firm seems not to have disclosed the full extent of its activity as required by the Lobbying Act.
In 2012, without any open discussion, Fresh Direct was offered a controversial package of public subsidies that include cash grants, tax breaks and asset acquisition for the potential relocation to publicly owned land on New York State Department of Transportation property that amounts to over $140 million at this point, without a current environment impact statement.
“While on the campaign trail DeBlasio used the Bloomberg era FreshDirect subsidy proposal as an example of what his Administration would NOT do. Over nine months in office and he has yet to kill this rotten deal. Leaked emails between Parkside and the Deputy Mayor show communications about millions of dollars in potential cash grants and tax break subsidies have not been reported in the mandated bimonthly JCOPE disclosure forms. The public deserves to have the legally mandated information to understand what pressure is brought to bear on our elected officials and inform open debate. As Attorney General I will vigorously investigate and prosecute ethics violations and bring more transparency to our government.” says Ramon J. Jimenez.
Fresh Direct has so far evaded having to comply with the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act and the recent Mayoral Executive Order that further mandates employers that are considered for $1 million or more in public subsidies to pay a Living Wage. Fresh Direct is under consideration for nearly $90 million in City support and the Living Wage mandate has not been publicly affirmed despite hundreds of their workers making less than $9 an hour. “As Attorney General of the State of New York I will work to hold companies accountable to all City and State Living Wage legislation and procurement rules and no lobbyist will be able to secretly negotiate deals to avoid it.” added Ramon J. Jimenez.
“The environmental impact of thousands of diesel truck trips in the South Bronx an area with one of the highest rates of asthma in the nation would be catastrophic. It is unconscionable that a proposal of this magnitude was not required to have a current and accurate Environmental Impact Statement. We do not know what role any backroom lobbyists played in that decision either. There needs to be a reset on this whole proposal and the South Bronx community must be included in future planning for the waterfront, which is owned by the State of New York and has for too long served as the dumping ground for the polluting facilities that benefit the rest of NYC.” Ramon J. Jimenez added.
About Ramon J. Jimenez
Ramon Jimenez is a longtime Bronx based lawyer, community activist and writer. For more than 30 years, he’s represented low income families, injured workers and community groups in the poorest Congressional District in the U.S.
He earned his law degree from Harvard School of Law in 1974. As a professor at Hostos Community College in the Bronx in 1976, Ramon led students, faculty members and others in a demonstration and occupation of the college in protest of plans to shut the school or merge it with another college. The protest was successful and Hostos saved. In the ’80s, Ramon served as an administrative law judge for the State Workers Compensation Board.
More about him here: http://ramonjjimenez.wordpress.com