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Dolly Williams is fined for her conflicted Yards vote

The Brooklyn Paper
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Borough President Markowitz’s appointee to the city’s powerful Planning Commission has admitted she violated ethical standards by investing in the controversial Atlantic Yards project and then voting on the project three weeks later — but critics say her apology is too little, too late.

Planning Commissioner Dolly Williams has admitted guilt and agreed to pay a $4,000 fine.

“I acknowledge that by voting on the Downtown Brooklyn Plan, which conferred a benefit on the Atlantic Yards project in which I was an investor … I violated [the law],” Williams said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The admission was a far cry from her assertion to The Brooklyn Paper in October that she had served her term with integrity.

Williams, who runs a Gowanus construction company and is a Park Slope resident, was Borough President Markowitz’s appointee to the Commission, which votes on important land-use issues citywide, including those related to the controversial, 16-skyscraper-and-arena Atlantic Yards project. In October, he announced that he would not reappoint her.

According to the Conflicts of Interest Board investigation released on Tuesday, on May 10, 2004, Williams voted in favor of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan, the rezoning that allowed for the Atlantic Yards project to move forward — a project in which she had invested $250,000 three weeks before.

Critics question why the investigation took so long to complete.

“It should have been resolved three years ago,” said Daniel Goldstein of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.

The fine for Williams is only the latest in a series of embarrassments for the hot-tempered, bright-yellow-Porsche-driving entrepreneur.

In February, Williams was barred from voting on an upcoming rezoning proposal for the Gowanus Canal area, where she owns substantial property. Williams also earned plenty of rolled eyes when she was spotted at a 2006 Atlantic Yards hearing cheering on project developer Bruce Ratner.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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