One of Bruce Ratner’s boosters at the pro–Atlantic Yards rally on Saturday is a former strip club manager who used to arrange for dancers to have sex with NBA stars.
The Atlantic Yards supporter, Thomas “Ziggy” Sicignano, who now runs Brooklyn U.S.A., a youth basketball program in Park Slope, said that Ratner’s foundation gave his organization $10,000 in 2005.
That donation came four years after his stunning courtroom admission that he prostituted strippers to attract NBA stars to the Gold Club in Atlanta.
“Forest City Ratner has been able to help us get T-shirts and shorts, and pay for referees — those kinds of expenses,” Sicignano told The Brooklyn Paper on Saturday.
Despite his seedy past, Sicignano was more than eager to talk to reporters about his support for Atlantic Yards and grant money that Ratner has given his program.
Sicigano said the organization helped train Stephon Marbury, Sebastian Telfair and Jamaal Tinsley — all of whom went on to greatness in the NBA, but also had problems with the law.
“I was never arrested, indicted or convicted of anything,” said Sicignano, who was sentenced to probation after cooperating in the bombshell 2001 investigation of the Gold Club, where he and his boss arranged for dancers to have sex with former New York Knick stars Patrick Ewing and John Starks.
“I was handed a subpoena to go to the grand jury and I told the truth,” said Sicignano.
Since the prostitution case, Sicignano said he has has concentrated on his youth teams.
He said his relationship with Ratner is limited.
“I’ve met Bruce Ratner once or twice. I’ve shaken his hand,” Sicignano said.
“I’ve assured him that the real Brooklynites are behind him.”
Forest City Ratner would not comment on its relationship with Sicignano.
©2008 Community News Group
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