The Real Deal reports that U.S. Attorney Preet Brahrara and Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr. are looking into the deal under which the Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (photo) was sold to developer Hudson Companies for demolition and redevelopment as a high rise mixed use residential and commercial building with a new branch library on part of its ground floor and below grade level. The deal also committed Hudson to building two affordable housing buildings off site, but within the district of Community Board 2. The deal appeared to be final as of the beginning of March, when the Brooklyn Borough Board, the last governmental entity that needed to approve it, said “yes.”
The two Manhattan based prosecutors are said to be examining the deal because it is one of several in which it has been alleged that developers who had contributed to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “One New York Fund”. Hudson’s head, Heights resident David Kramer, was a fundraiser for de Blasio. It’s said that other developers, including Toll Brothers, developers of Pierhouse, had made higher bids. The City responded that the Hudson proposal offered superior interior accommodations for the new branch library, a better interim library facility for use during construction, a quicker construction schedule, and more affordable housing. According to the Real Deal story, Bharara and Vance have issued subpoenas to several developers who bid on the project, but that none has yet been issued to Kramer.