A ruling from a judge nearly prevented a swanky Williamsburg hotel from opening this past March, but they went forward regardless, thanks to the help of their legal counsel.
New reporting from NY Daily News shows that after a judge ruled that the Moxy had been zoned improperly, throwing a wrench into the hotel’s plans to open within the next few days, the hotel’s ownership retained the counsel of Frank Carone, Mayor Eric Adams’ former chief of staff.
The hotel ultimately opened on March 7, operating with a temporary certificate of occupancy that was initially set to expire in May. The Moxy’s ownership group, the Lightstone Group, hired Carone in early March. The City’s Department of Buildings ultimately extended the certificate of occupancy to end in August.
“Simultaneous to Carone taking the case to the courts, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff, Menashe Shapiro, was in contact with the DOB regarding the hotel, sources told the Daily News,” said The RealDeal. “From January to March, a government relations firm was also lobbying Shapiro on behalf of Lightstone.”
TheRealDeal notes that while Carone is no longer part of Adams’ administration, he is currently running the mayor’s reelection campaign. As a former city government employee, Carone is officially barred from directly lobbying city government until January 2024.
But this incident with the Moxy is far from the only example of Carone seemingly using his influence to maneuver within the city’s bureaucracy. A recent story in THE CITY reveals a notorious Brooklyn landlord obtained a multimillion dollar deal with the city after hiring Carone as his lawyer.
Carone’s apparent undue influence hits close to home for our community. Earlier this year, Council Member Lincoln Restler introduced legislation to expand the time period preventing former city government employees from lobbying from one year to two years.
“The package is widely viewed as a way to limit Carone’s influence, according to two lawmakers who would only speak on background and not for attribution,” POLITICO reports.