Carlo Scissura Out of the Running as EDC Head

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Mayor Eric Adams’ likely pick to head the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) — Carlo Scissura, the CEO of the New York Building Congress — is out, a month after it was revealed that Scissura was contracted by a developer to help push through private property deals without registering as a lobbyist.

Scissura confirmed to Commercial Observer that he will remain at his post as the head of the trade group the Building Congress, where he has been president and CEO since 2017.

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“I have loved serving as president and CEO of the New York Building Congress for the last five years and am thrilled to recommit to this historic organization,” Scissura said in a statement. “This is the best way that I can serve the people of our city and state at this crucial time.” 

A spokesperson for Adams declined to comment on Scissura’s potential appointment.

“As stated previously, it is not our policy to comment on the appointment process until appointments are made,” a spokesperson for Adams said in a statement. “Carlo Scissura has been a great civic leader for New Yorkers, and as we embark on building a robust and equitable recovery from COVID-19 it is so important to have his continued service at the New York Building Congress.”

Scissura was reportedly being pushed by Adams’ chief of staff, Frank Carone, to head the EDC, but quickly came under scrutiny after THE CITY reported that he worked on behalf of property owner Tim Ziss to garner support for the development of five Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, properties from elected officials and city agencies. 

Scissura was not registered in the city or state lobbyist record systems at the time, but his actions may have met the state’s definition of lobbying, which includes trying to influence public officials “related to a governmental procurement.” 

He could be penalized up to $30,000 for his actions, which included work on the sale of a pricy site to the city’s School Construction Authority, THE CITY reported. Ziss also allegedly agreed to pay Scissura a $15,000 retainer fee in July 2018, payments of $6,000 a month starting in October 2018, and a $100,000 performance bonus for successfully striking a rent deal with the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development on an Astoria, Queens-based affordable housing complex, according to THE CITY. Ziss’ plans to take over the property allegedly delayed needed repairs for the building, whose residents complained that their apartments often lacked heat.

Scissura said in a statement at the time his work was advice for a friend.

“This was work conducted outside of my role at the New York Building Congress,” Scissura previously told CO. “This was advice for a friend, who is not a member of the organization, seeking help to navigate through the complexity of city government, especially given my past experience on a local school board.”

Scissura was one of a few of the newly minted mayor’s choices to pose ethical concerns. Adams hired his own brother, Bernard Adams, to lead his security team, but is only paying him $1 a year rather than his proposed $210,000 after a ruling from the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. Adams also picked Phil Banks for deputy mayor for public safety — despite Banks being an unindicted co-conspirator in a New York City Police Department corruption and bribery case. 

His chief of staff, Carone, was subpoenaed last week in a $4.5 million federal lawsuit over alleged fraudulent insurance charges. Carone, a former lawyer, is not a defendant in the lawsuit nor has he been accused of misconduct, Bloomberg reported. But Carrone’s other dealings have gained scrutiny, like his donations to then-mayor Bill de Blasio while he represented a pair of landlords who sold 17 code violation-filled buildings for $30 million more than they were valued to the city in 2019. 

Carone did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.