The head of the consulting firm hired by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to do an independent review of the Central Park carriage industry has a history of horsing around with animal rights activists.
The mayor’s office chose Langan for the environmental review even though Gockel was listed on NYCLASS flyers as a backer .
His firm has also done extensive for Edison Properties — the company of wealthy developer and NYCLASS funder Steve Nislick.
Critics were foaming at the mouth at the report.
“I’m shocked. This is not an unbiased opinion, and I find it hard to believe the administration did not check this out,” says Demos Demopoulos, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 553, which reps carriage drivers.
Langan’s website also says it has “been retained by multiple teams” involved in the development of Hudson Yards — a real estate project close to many of the West Side stables where carriage horses are kept.
Many of the carriage owners suspect their valuable real estate assets are driving NYCLASS’s and Nislick’s determined efforts to get the industry shut down.
It’s a claim NYCLASS has dismissed as ludicrous.
But there’s no denying Gockel’s ties to the group — or his firm’s financial interest in Hudson Yards development.
The CEO shows up among the “prominent New Yorkers” NYCLASS listed as supporters of their cause.
He also appeared on an earlier NYCLASS website, under the “Business, Real Estate & Law” section of wealthy backers.
If de Blasio’s ban is enacted, it will go into effect in May 2016 — and that will put 300 working-class drivers out of a job, Demopoulos says.
City Hall says there was no truth to allegations Langan was biased.
“Langan was selected through a competitive bid process and won based on their proposal and their successful track record,” a spokesman says. “Disqualifying an applicant based on the personal beliefs of an individual ... would be a clear violation of procurement law and the First Amendment.”