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At the CB1 meeting tonight, The BPCA’s spokesperson and community liaison Robin Forst, paid at least $130,000, was a no-show, once again. Some dapper man named Freddy Belliard filled in for her.
We asked Mr. Belliard some questions about the “study” ongoing at the BPCA to determine which agency owns the Pataki Highway after bill A8031 was signed into law in 2013, and he had no idea what we were taking about. We asked how long he had been at the BPCA and he replied, “I have been there for several years. I deal with government relations matters mostly.”.
However, sources close to the BPCA have never seen Mr. Belliard before indicating that he has not worked at the main office for “several years”. Also, this is the first time that Robin Forst’s absence has been dealt with by sending a replacement.
BatteryPark.TV has previously obtained via FOIL on several occasions the various lists of employees at the BPCA. Mr. Belliard does not appear on any of the BPCA employee lists.
Upon further investigation, we have learned that Mr. Belliard is a BPCA Parks Conservancy employee, and has been for at least one year. Why was a parks employee sent to represent the BPCA when the past replacement for Ms. Forst has been Kevin McCabe, Mr. Mehiel’s assistant?
In January, the BPCA board meeting was attended by a large angry mob as the fate of the North Cove Marina operators was decided. The sailing club members that had used the marina for two decades were outraged by Dennis Mehiel’s BPCA that allowed Brookfield and IGY Marina to take over, evicting Mike Fortenbaugh. That, and many other public relations nightmares, have been handled by Robin Forst as the “VP of External Relations”.
Ms. Forst’s predecessors, Anne Fenton and Matt Monahan, were replaced by Dennis Mehiel. Then, Ms. Forst, with no experience in corporate communications or “external relations”, was somehow handed the job.
Ms. Forst, having run the Downtown Democrats club, was supported by State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Mr. Silver has since lost that position when he was indicted by the federal government for corruption.
The BPCA website lists the RFP activity. The authority recently hired a media relations firm in February. The BPCA RFP for media relations firm is found here.
We tried calling Robin Forst to get some answers but no one picked up the phone. We also tried calling all of the numerous other direct extensions to staff at the BPCA, and no one answered, which has been typical of the BPCA office for five months ongoing.