A former senior member of the Bloomberg Administration who served as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation broke the city’s conflict of interest laws when he helped his private sector employer bid for a city contract to develop the West Side Rail Yards, the Conflict of Interest Board ruled today.
After working for Bloomberg’s top aide, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, Joshua Sirefman was shipped in 2006 to the Economic Development Corporation, where he served as Interim President for six months. One responsibility of the EDC director is to sit on the boards of directors of various local development corporations, including the Hudson Yards Development Corporation. The city’s charter prohibits a public servant from appearing before an city agency for a year from the date of the public servant’s resignation.
But in December 2006, Sirefman had been hired as senior vice president of Brookfield Properties Corporation, a large commercial real estate firm that was bidding on an MTA contract to develop the West Side Rail Yards…
Brookfield’s ambitious mega-design for the Yards between 30th and 33rd Streets was always considered a long shot, and the company withdrew its bid in February of 2008. Sirefman started at Brookfield in late January of 2007, less than a month after resigning from EDC. In October, he appeared at a meeting in which he lobbied members of the MTA’s contract selection committee and two directors of the Hudson Yards Development Corporation on behalf of Brookfield. He wasn’t a silent bystander at the meeting either: He fielded direct questions from the Hudson Yards Development Corporation’s President, the Conflict of Interest Board says.
And this was six months after he had sought legal advice from the Conflict of Interest Board about how he could lobby the Hudson Yards Development Corporation. At the time, he was given specific intructions not to “communicate” with the Hudson Yards Development Corporation for a year.
Sirefman has been fined $1,500.