New York Post: As city funds lag, Park conservancy bosses get big salaries

Douglas Blonsky, Central Park Conservancy President

As artist/activist Robert Lederman commented in relation to this piece: “Non-profit sure is profitable!”

Sunday, April 6th New York Post: Nonprofit parks executives get big paydays as city funds lag

by Kate Briquelet

These park honchos are rolling in the green.

The president of Central Park Conservancy scored a $112,000 raise in 2012, the latest available tax returns show. Doug Blonsky pulled in $537,293 plus $32,004 in benefits, compared to $424,315 and $32,004 in benefits in 2011.

Meanwhile, Daniel Biederman, who heads both Bryant Park Corp. and the 34th Street Partnership, received a $132,000 raise, bringing his total pay up to $573,730.

Both nonprofit executives make more than double the salary of the city Parks commissioner. In 2013, then-Commissioner Veronica White’s pay was $205,180, records show.

The Parks Department has increasingly relied on private nonprofit groups to provide a budget for the city’s parks in certain areas.

Some receive taxpayer money, while others, such as Bryant Park Corp., rely solely on private donations and revenue from events.

For the most part, these groups pay their executive salaries with private rather than public funds.

Here’s how execs of the biggest park groups fared:

— Biederman made $314,365 at Bryant Park, while also securing $259,365 at the 34th Street Partnership in the fiscal year ending in June 2012, records show. In the previous year, he made $225,761 at Bryant Park and $215,761 at 34th Street.

Robert Hammond, former Friends of the High Line director, scored a $42,000 raise from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, he got $383,667 in salary and benefits, including a $45,000 bonus, tax forms show; in 2011, he snagged $326,154 in salary and benefits, which included a $50,000 bonus.

—  Madison Square Park Conservancy’s former president, Debbie Landau, reaped an $18,276 raise in that same period. In 2012, she made $263,945 in salary and benefits, including a $25,000 bonus, records show. The previous year, she raked in $245,669 in salary and benefits, including a $20,000 bonus.

Aimee Boden, president of Randall’s Island Park Alliance, received $186,567 in 2012, records show. She got $63,928 from the nonprofit while also collecting a $122,639, taxpayer-funded salary as the park’s administrator. In 2011, she made $185,709 — $62,745 from the alliance and $122,964 from the city.

Several groups have agreements with the department that allow them to keep revenues from concessions.

“They’re diverting millions in revenues to fill their own pockets,” said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates.

Photo: David McGlynn

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