Trash Clash: Someone Spending Big Bucks to Stop Marine Transfer Station

Curbed New York

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A very interesting piece in Crain's reveals that opponents of the Upper East Side Marine Transfer Station have been spending a surprising (or maybe not that surprising) amount of money in their ongoing efforts to block the project. Pledge 2 Protect, the group that has been leading the charge, has spent more than $1.2 million and raised $963,000 since last April, disclosures show. And where is all that money coming from? Therein lies the rub. $690,000 has come from — or, rather, through — a boutique law firm by the name of Marquart & Small, which is based out of Flatiron, has three employees, specializes in fashion, arts and media, and would seem to have little vested interested in whether or not there is a garbage station at East 91st Street. Crain's, and some legal experts they found, posit that the law firm is being used as a "pass-through" to allow people or groups to donate to the cause anonymously, taking advantage of a loophole in the 2011 ethics law reform that was meant to eliminate that sort of thing. "These privileged Nimby forces don't seem to think any rules apply to them," the executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance told Crain's. "The question now is, will the authorities investigate this apparent end-run, or will the political and financial power of Upper East Side real estate interests hold sway?"

If it's true that Upper East Siders and/or real estate interests have been able to raise almost a million dollars to fund the battle against the Marine Transfer Station (and the alternative explanation is that a boutique fashion law firm in Flatiron really cares a whole lot), it puts a somewhat comical spin on the Transfer Station opponents' repeated assertions that the Upper East Side isn't as rich as you think, and that it will be mostly poor people people hurt by the plan. Maybe so, but they're not the ones funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists. (This isn't the first time that the arguments leveled against the Transfer Station have come off as somewhat disingenuous, either.)
· East Side garbage foes hide behind loophole [Crain's]
· Marine Transfer Station coverage [Curbed]

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