Law defends her BID departure

Mabel Law, who recently tendered her resignation as Executive Director of the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID), is taking issue with suggestions that she “jumped ship” over the Flushing Commons project.

“It’s been seven years,” Law, a founding member of the BID, told The Queens Courier. “It was time to do something else.” She confirmed her intention to seek the Party office of Democratic District Leader and pointed out that she had sent out a press release announcing her resignation weeks ago.

“I thought it was an appropriate moment to announce it publically at the BID meeting,” she said. Law pointed out that she will continue to serve until a replacement is found.

Meanwhile, the more abrupt resignation of BID Chair James Gerson is resulting in charges and counter-charges. Gerson reportedly said supporters of the $850 million project, to rise in place of a Municipal Parking Lot, “made Mabel’s life very, very difficult” after the BID voted to fund creation of a business assistance plan for those disadvantaged during construction.

While insisting that 400 more parking spaces, once promised, be restored to the project, Gerson is also quoted as saying, “I honestly think that the project could destroy the community.”

Michael Meyer, both a member of the BID and a principal in the 1 million square-foot project, called Gerson’s accusations “nonsense.”

“The BID is not in the business of commissioning studies for businesses that aren’t even in its area,” Meyer said. “The business assistance plans are properly being taken care of by elected officials who have both the responsibility and the budget.”

Meyer also accused Gerson of “playing politics” and suggested ulterior motives.

“He owns a residential property with no parking, right there. He wants additional spaces so his tenants can use them for long term parking – and make his property more desirable,” Meyer said.

Meyer also said that BIDS throughout the city are organized by local business, to keep the streets clean, do plantings and otherwise make their own blocks more attractive to shoppers. “BIDS don’t do lobbying,” he insisted. Law agreed with both the characterization and the observation.

Thus far, the project has been approved both by Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshal. Under the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, it is being reviewed by the Department of City Planning, before going to the City Council for a vote. As a major project, it can only be voted up or down – not changed.