The Brooklyn Navy Yard has fired its hand-picked developer for a controversial supermarket project after he was arrested in a widening bribery scandal that has already implicated two Albany legislators and a well-connected lobbyist.
The Navy Yard confirmed last week that it Aaron Malinsky and his PA Associates would no longer be developing the
$60-million ShopRite supermarket at the corner of Flushing Avenue and Navy Street — but the agency insisted that there would be no delay in the now-developer-less project.
“We will continue to move forward, with public review plan of the site expected to begin in the coming weeks,” spokesman Shane Kavanagh said in a statement.
He added that Malinsky’s replacement would not be named until the public review process is completed.
Malinsky was arrested alongside state Sen. Carl Kruger (D–Mill Basin) and six others on March 10 as the FBI unveiled a bribery scandal that involves a number of Brooklyn projects, including the controversial Atlantic Yards (brooklynpaper.com/stories/34/11/all_krugerforestcity_2011_3_18_bk.htm).
PA Associates was hired to build a White House–sized supermarket as well a retail complex comparable to half a football field. Industrial space had also been proposed.
It is unclear if ShopRite will remain on the project after a new development team is named.
Calls to PA Associates were not returned. Malinsky’s lawyer Scott Mollen said only, “There is a vast difference between making mere allegations and proving a case at trial.”
According to the federal complaint, Malinsky sent $472,500 to a dummy company that Kruger had set up with Michael Turano, his alleged lover.
In return, Kruger:
• Tried to get Forest City Ratner Companies, the lead developer on the soon-to-be-built Four Sparrows Retail Center on the southern tip of Flatbush Avenue, to give a portion of the project to Malinsky so he could build a department store on the city-owned site. Kruger set up a meeting between Malinsky and Ratner.
•Promoted Malinsky’s plans to put a small-scale clothing store at Four Sparrows
Retail Center during a recent scoping session on the project.
• Greased the wheels so Malinsky could develop the $65-million Canarsie Plaza Shopping Center on city-owned land at the corner of Avenue D and Remsen Avenue.
The federal complaint doesn’t mention the Brooklyn Navy Yard development or the massive 65-story City Point project in Downtown that Malinsky has a small stake in.
Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Clinton Hill) was relieved that Navy Yard project apparently would not be delayed.
“They’ll probably just look at who was the next lowest bidder and move ahead,” James said. “The residents of Vinegar Hill and Farragut and Whitman public housing live in a food desert. They desperately need a supermarket and the jobs that it would bring.”