Quick stop in Battery Park City, as authority president resigns

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | Demetrios Boutris, president and chief operating officer of the Battery Park City Authority, handed in his resignation Aug. 16, 10 months after he had been appointed to that position by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In a letter to the staff announcing Boutris’ resignation, B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel said, “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his service to the authority.”

At the Aug. 20 B.P.C.A. board of directors meeting, Robert Serpico, the authority’s chief financial officer, was confirmed as interim president and C.O.O. while the authority searches for a new president. The B.P.C.A. president is responsible for the authority’s day-to-day operations.

Serpico will continue to hold the position of chief financial officer — a position with urgent responsibilities of its own as the B.P.C.A. prepares to go into capital markets with a $300 million bond offering.

Serpico has been the B.P.C.A.’s chief financial officer for 26 years, after briefly serving as treasurer. Simultaneously, for 17 years he was president of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. He holds an M.B.A. from the Syracuse University School of Management.

Boutris’ resignation was not mentioned at the board of directors meeting. Following the meeting, Mehiel answered questions from reporters about Boutris’ departure. He said that Boutris had been working 70 to 80 hours a week, seven days a week, and had taken a 40 percent pay cut to come to the authority.

Mehiel indicated that Boutris had another “time sensitive” offer in the private sector that he wished to accept. He said that he believed that Boutris would be moving back to California, where he had been, among other things, legal affairs secretary and counsel to the governor of California (Gray Davis) and head of the Boutris Group, a business and policy advisement firm.

KT Communities, a land development and land consulting company based in Roseville, California, announced the next day that Boutris will become its president and chief executive officer, effective Oct. 1. Boutris had previously consulted extensively with KT Communities and its founder and chairman, Kyriakos Tsakopoulos.

Mehiel said that neither he nor anyone else had placed any pressure on Boutris to resign and that there was no truth to rumors that Boutris was being investigated by a New York State agency.

Mehiel said that Boutris first discussed his intentions with him several weeks ago. Mehiel said he was only “half” surprised at the resignation. “People resign,” he said, with a shrug.

Since Mehiel is both C.E.O. and chairperson of the authority, he said that the only practical consequence of Boutris’ departure would be that he would have more work to do until a replacement can be found.

He said that the B.P.C.A.’s proposed bond offering would not be affected by Boutris’ resignation. “This is an informed judgment,” he added.

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