Joe Lhota: Atlantic Yards developers 'bought' de Blasio

From left to right: NYC Mayoral Candidate Republican From left to right: NYC Mayoral Candidate Republican Joe Lhota arrives for a debate; Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio greets supporters after a rally for immigration reform. (Oct. 22, 2013, Oct. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle, Charles Eckert

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Down 45 polling points with eight days to go before the election, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota Monday accused front-runner Bill de Blasio of being "bought" by Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards developers.

Lhota slammed de Blasio for what he said is the Democrat's failure as public advocate to push Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to build more than 2,200 affordable housing units, along with the project's centerpiece Barclays Center, as promised in a 2005 community-benefits agreement.

De Blasio's "been silent, because he's been bought," Lhota said, standing across the street from the arena. "The people who built the Barclays Center and who promised to build all of the affordable housing have given contributions to him over and over again."

Forest City Ratner executive vice president Robert Sanna has bundled $13,600 for de Blasio's campaign, according to Campaign Finance Board records.

Forest City declined to comment.

De Blasio, speaking to reporters in Cobble Hill Monday after a rally to protest the layoffs of 500 Long Island College Hospital workers, said: "Just a year ago, Mr. Lhota was lavishly praising the Atlantic Yards development. . . . And now that it's politically expedient, he seems to be changing his tune."

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If elected, de Blasio vowed "to have mayoral leadership really holding the feet of the state and of the developer to the fire to make sure that this affordable housing gets built."

Lhota said his support for the project waned because "the developer did not follow through on what he said." As mayor, Lhota said, he would press Ratner to make good on the deal.

Neither candidate detailed how he would hold the developer accountable.

Meanwhile, Monday de Blasio held fast to a 45-percentage point lead over Lhota in a New York Times/Siena College poll. The survey is consistent with past polls, including last week's amNewYork-News 12 poll, in showing de Blasio with a 3-1 advantage over Lhota. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-1 in New York City.

De Blasio said the poll results were "gratifying."

The final debate was rescheduled to Wednesday night at 7 p.m. on WNBC-TV in deference to the first anniversary of superstorm Sandy.

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