The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park
By Kevin Connor  •  Oct 05, 2011 at 13:57 EST

There are growing signs that the powers that be feel threatened by #OccupyWallStreet and the movement it has inspired. Yesterday, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s assignment editor at the New York Times big bank CEO friend asked him to check out the protests to see if they were a threat. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg was asked if he would let the protesters stay in the park, and he responded with an ambiguous “We’ll see” before absurdly taking the protesters to task for protesting “people who make $40,000 and $50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet.” And today, WNYC reported that NYPD sources are saying that an “indefinite” occupation of the Zuccotti Park is not an option, based on their talks with the park’s owner.

If the city moves to squash the revolt by evicting the protesters, Mayor Bloomberg and the owner of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Properties, will be inviting a lot more attention from the occupiers, the press, and the public. The public-private partnership that controls the park has not received much scrutiny so far. An eviction would change that dramatically.

It has not been reported, for instance, that Bloomberg’s longtime, live-in girlfriend, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield. The relationship gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “public-private partnership.” Numerous articles have noted that Brookfield owns the park and is in close contact with the city about the situation there, but oddly enough no one seems to have looked at its board (not hard to do). The connection should confirm, in case there was any question, that Bloomberg and the owner of the park are in constant communication.

Bloomberg's longtime, live-in girlfriend, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield Properties, which owns the park that Wall Street protesters are occupying.

Bloomberg's longtime, live-in girlfriend, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield Properties, which owns the park that Wall Street protesters are occupying.

Taylor is an investment banker and prominent New York City fundraiser. She joined the board of Brookfield in 2007 following a stint as New York State’s Superintendent of Banks. She currently works at Wolfensohn, an investment firm run by former World Bank head James Wolfensohn, and also sits on the board of Citigroup. Taylor and Bloomberg met, fittingly enough, at a Citizens Budget Commission luncheon in 2001. The Citizens Budget Commission is a committee of elites committed to financial austerity, i.e. tax cuts for the 1%, service and job cuts for everyone else. A group of bankers founded it during the Depression to fight for this brand of fiscal seriousness in New York City.

Coincidentally, Taylor has been the subject of a spate of puff pieces in recent weeks, including a New York Times article, a Talk of the Town piece in the New Yorker, and a New York Observer feature. None have mentioned her ties to the owner of Zuccotti Park (though the Observer piece mentions that she sits on the board of Brookfield).

Taylor has taken some flack for criticizing Obama in the Observer piece, at one point invoking Sarah Palin by saying that he hasn’t come through on his “hopey-changey stuff.” According to Crain’s, her comments “surprised insiders” given her partner’s more neutral position and the protocol that typically governs high-powered fundraisers for charity. One lobbyist speculated that her comments positioned her for a role in a Republican administration, which may explain all the press. She also sounded off about the Dodd Frank financial reform legislation, speaking from the neutral standpoint of someone who made $286,250 last year as a director Citigroup.

The cozy, overlooked relationship between Bloomberg and Brookfield, and Brookfield’s ownership of Zuccotti Park, highlights the very dynamic #OccupyWallStreet is protesting: the control of public resources, and government itself, by the wealthy and powerful – the 1%. The occupiers have taken an important first step towards correcting this imbalance. The message is resonating and the movement is growing. If Bloomberg & Brookfield (LLP) move to re-assert 1% control of the park, it could really backfire on them. If they attempt to shut down the protesters by cutting off supplies, or implementing restrictions designed to make life in the park impossible in cold weather, it could really backfire on them. And Andrew Ross Sorkin’s assignment editor would not like that.

***

Note: I set up a LittleSis research group today for folks interested in conducting research on 1% networks, in solidarity with (and in order to assist) the occupiers and the broader movement against finance capital they have inspired. If you don’t have an account yet, use this link to sign up. I haven’t settled on any specific research questions to tackle just yet, but if you have any thoughts, join the group and write a note.

25 Responses to “The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park”

  1. @christjesusf Says:

    What you’re reading here is called journalism. Thank you very much for publishing this story. Bravo!

  2. SDB Evening News Reads for 100611: About to whip somebody’s 1 percent « Sky Dancing Says:

    [...] LittleSis, there was this post today…h/t Susie Madrak: The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park – Eyes on the Ties It has not been reported, for instance, that Bloomberg’s longtime, live-in girlfriend, Diana [...]

  3. christjesusf Says:

    Boom! Congrats Kevin on some good work.

  4. Simone Says:

    This IS real journalism. Thank you so much for this insight. I am the 99%. Let’s keep the movement moving!

  5. ncpuma Says:

    Awesome reporting.

  6. Nick Angelozzi Says:

    Thank you for what you are doing. I just happened to run across this site and will disseminate it widely (I hope it doesn’t clutter up your server, just let me know what to do). I am a member of Occupy Baltimore.

  7. Links 10/7/11 « naked capitalism Says:

    [...] The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park LittleSis [...]

  8. Links 10/7/11 | Freedom Developers Says:

    [...] The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park LittleSis [...]

  9. furiouscalves Says:

    they will need sub zero sleeping bags and wall tents with stoves pretty soon. If they think they will just leave when it gets colder…well lets see TPTB bring down the hammer and not pay the consequences.

  10. Pamela Brown Says:

    I have started this petition demanding that Bloomberg step down:

    http://signon.org/sign/mayor-bloomberg-its-time?source=c.url&r_by=769036

  11. Who owns New York City and its cops? JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Mike Bloomberg (and his girlfriend)…. (2 items) :: News From Underground Says:

    [...] The Public-Private Partnership Behind Zuccotti Park By Kevin Connor • Oct 05, 2011 at 13:57 EST http://blog.littlesis.org/2011/10/05/the-public-private-partnership-behind-zuccotti-park/ Related Posts:Good coverage of the Wall Street protest, NYPD violence, and the corporate [...]

  12. Occupy Wall Street- Just a thought | David Turcotte Photography Says:

    [...] Zucotti park is privately owned, managed by a holding company called Brookfield properties.  Brookfield properties, has an interesting connection to mayor Bloomberg.  “Bloomberg’s longtime, live-in girlfriend, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield. The relationship gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “public-private partnership.” Numerous articles have noted that Brookfield owns the park and is in close contact with the city about the situation there, but oddly enough no one seems to have looked at its board (not hard to do). The connection should confirm, in case there was any question, that Bloomberg and the owner of the park are in constant communication (from Littlesis.org)”. [...]

  13. .THE OTHER SHOE DROPS: A current events round-up for conservatives | Tennesseans Watching Federal & State Government Says:

    [...] The park OWS is camping in is privately owned by a corporation called Brookfield Properties. Bloomberg’s live-in girlfriend is a board member. http://blog.littlesis.org/2011/10/05/the-public-private-partnership… [...]

  14. EMERGENCY: Stop Bloomberg from Shutting Down Occupy Wall Street | Blog | Rebuild the Dream Says:

    [...] worth mentioning at this point that not only does Mayor Bloomberg’s girlfriend sit on the board of the public-private partnership that manages Zuccotti Park, she’s also a [...]

  15. banshee Says:

    Frankly, I don’t care who’s sleeping with whom. Is the park private property, or not? The occupiers would be best off leaving for the cleaning and coming back. Lower Manhattan is viciously cold in the winter and I can’t see many people living outdoors there for too much longer.

  16. Malcolm James Says:

    For sharing of data, a credible Canadian, public policy research firm is the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. It might be mutually beneficial to compare notes on shared issues and save redundancy in research. I enjoyed your article.

  17. Moonbattery » More Background on Owner of Zuccotti Park Says:

    [...] New York’s Mayor for Life Michael Bloomberg has deliberately allowed the situation to fester rather than attempting to maintain law and order, obviously as a result of this billionaire Bolshevik’s leftist political inclinations. Lo and behold, his live-in girlfriend sits on the board of Brookfield Properties. [...]

  18. Geo Says:

    Great article and investigation. Thank you for your work!

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  20. The View From One PercentLand « Broadside Says:

    [...] lives in the nabe, in two townhouses (only a few of his residences), on East 79th. Street. His long-time live-in partner, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Zuccotti Park, the privately-owned Manhattan park where the Occupy Wall Street crowd has pitched its [...]

  21. The Brookfield-NYPD Nexus - Eyes on the Ties Says:

    [...] month, LittleSis first reported that Mayor Bloomberg’s longtime partner, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park. The connection was subsequently noted in a number of media outlets, and [...]

  22. Kevin Connor: The Brookfield-NYPD Nexus | Crime News Says:

    [...] month, LittleSis.org first reported that Mayor Bloomberg’s longtime partner, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park. The connection was subsequently noted in a number of media outlets, and [...]

  23. Kevin Connor: Masters and Mercenaries: Who’s Working For Whom in the NYPD? « CrimeAlertBlog.Com Says:

    [...] month, LittleSis first reported that Mayor Bloomberg’s longtime partner, Diana Taylor, sits on the board of Brookfield Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park. The connection was subsequently noted in a number of media outlets, and [...]

  24. Find some private amateur stuff Says:

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  25. Guess Whose “Live-In Girlfriend” is on the Board at the Corporate Owner of Occupy Wall Street’s Zuccotti Park Basecamp | New York Journal Says:

    [...] From littlesis: [...]

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