hires rival’s chief
The chief of staff to one of the highest-profile opponents to the Atlantic
Yards project has quit her job to work for her former boss’s biggest
foe — Bruce Ratner.
It is unclear what Janella Meeks, former chief of staff to City Councilwoman
Letitia James (D-Prospect Heights) will be doing for Ratner, but the still-unpublicized
revolving-door move certainly had insiders buzzing.
“Oooh, this is too good,” cooed one supporter of Atlantic Yards
— and an opponent of James’s. “How does it look for Tish
James to lose her chief of staff to Bruce Ratner?”
Sources say that James and Meeks —sister of pro-Atlantic Yards Rep.
Gregory Meeks (D-Queens) — disagreed on Ratner’s plan to build
a basketball arena and 17 skyscrapers within James’s district. Before
going to work for James, Meeks was an aide to arena cheerleader Assemblyman
Roger Green (D-Prospect Heights).
“Janella felt very alone in Tish’s office,” said a colleague
in city government.
But James said Meeks quit simply because she moved to New Jersey —
a jump across state lines that made it illegal for her to remain on the
“Obviously she needed a change,” James told The Brooklyn Papers.
“She was looking for an opportunity, and Forest City offered it.
“I guess she needed additional income and she took advantage of a
deal I couldn’t provide her with,” James added.
News of Meeks’ defection first appeared on The Brooklyn Papers’
website Monday. Neither Meeks, nor Forest City Ratner, returned phone
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010