Associated Press Offers Primer on How Real Estate Development Corruption Works

Written By: Robert Cox

The Associated Press has an excellent article on the New Jersey corruption cases recently brought by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Northern Jersey which serves as a useful primer on how political corruption and real estate development work.

As the AP notes:

The criminal complaints paint a picture of building and zoning departments where influence, connections and payoffs determine who gets a prompt hearing and a smooth approval process on their applications and who is left at the mercy of a process so seemingly dysfunctional that developers sometimes budget for bribes.

1. Start with a “development boom”.

2. Offer tax abatements to favored developers even when no longer necessary to induce investment.

3. Find elected officials who will ask few questions about the site, especially regarding public safety issues.

4. Be able to offer access to confidential information, alerts to pending government action concerning the property, assistant to facilitate needed zoning change, environmental paperwork and any other resistance within the law and within government bureaucracy.

5. Bring in developers willing to “invest” in elected officials.

In New Jersey, developers came to run local government at every level. Is there any reason to think New Rochelle is different?

5 thoughts on “Associated Press Offers Primer on How Real Estate Development Corruption Works”

  1. Now THAT’S Eerie
    Sounds like a page from a NR civics lesson . Follow the money I always say . Nowadays things are to sophisticated to have outright bribery , but the quid pro quo nature of business these days behooves you to look at the money trail . Housing and development lobbyists all make donations to politicians . Track it back . Unfortunately , a lot of the “support” from favored developers comes in the form of campaign support after the projects go through . When any “consideration” in anticipation of future support is given , THAT is improper influence and skirts the law . Doesn’t matter who is involved and very hard to prove . This is where ethics and character should shine through . Not all politicians partake in the bounty , they’re called honest .

  2. New Rochelle residents, more zoning changes proposed, Aug.ll
    This scenario sounds too close to home. There will be massive zoning changes proposed on August ll for North Avenue. Soon there will be no suburb left in New Rochelle.

    1. Unless you’re lucky
      The only suburb left will be for those who are lucky enough to live north of Eastchester Rd .

Comments are closed.