Today’s news:

Marty goes on the record on Barclays

The Brooklyn Paper

Editor’s note: When Bruce Ratner announced he had sold naming rights on his Nets arena to slavery-linked Barclays bank, we asked Borough President Markowitz for his view of the deal. At the time, he chose not to comment.

Since then, other elected officials — some opponents of Atlantic Yards, others, like Markowitz, supporters — have condemned the Barclays deal.

Others have demanded that the bank put up more than the $2.5 million it pledged to repair basketball courts around the borough.

Until now, Markowitz was silent. But questions about his view of the deal persisted.

Finally, a constituent sent the Beep a letter demanding that he condemn the Ratner-Barclays deal. Markowitz’s response was nuanced. Rather than depict it one way or the other, we wanted to let the Borough President speak for himself:

Dear [name withheld],

I agree that faithful study of the past is truly the only way to ensure that we, as human beings, progress wisely. And, just as you do, I deplore any and all violations of human rights, now and at any time in the past. However, when we look from a historical perspective, it is a fact of life that many institutions with long histories, from banks to auto manufacturers to multi-national conglomerates, have had dealings at some point in their histories that run counter to the values of all who hold human rights dear.

Therefore, and I think you’ll concur, when the public and private sector partner for the benefit of city residents, we must be vigilant in determining a company’s record and most importantly [sic], its intentions. In this case, I must tell you, I am confident that a partnership with Barclays will be good for Brooklyn...

It is my hope — and it will be our goal — for Barclays to contribute even more in Brooklyn by becoming a full philanthropic partner, perhaps opening a regional headquarters here, and certainly providing ongoing financial support.

Sincerely, (Signed) Marty Markowitz

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