New York Zoological Society/Wildlife Conservation Society
The Wildlife Conservation Society [WCS] is an alter ego of the New York Zoological Society [NYZS] WCS is the NYZS. Therefore, the City of New York and WCS should operate in accordance with the New York State laws controlling NYZS; namely, Chapter 435 of the Laws of the State of New York 1895, as amended by Chapter 146 of the Laws of the State of New York of 1902, as amended by Chapter 924 of the Laws of the State of New York of 1969 and as amended by Chapter 383 of the Laws of the State of New York of 1991.
In effect, WCS operates in the form of a “doing business as” [see definition] of NYZS. It is not incorporated as a separate entity [see WCS’s “Name History” section in filings with New York State’s Division of Corporations]. Accordingly, as to each of the entities managed and operated by WCS, namely: the Bronx Zoo [BZ/NHZS-WHC], Central Park Zoo [CPZ/NYSZ-WCS], Prospect Park Zoo [PPZ/NYZS-WCS], Queens Zoo [QZ/NYZS-WCS] and the New York Aquarium [NYA/NYZS-WCS], the terms of New Yorkers’ rights are spelled out in each entity’s page in PARK INSTITUTIONS.
New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation [DPR] reports on its Zoos/Aquariums website page that it owns these five WCS facilities and that these facilities are “managed and administered” by WCS. Yet, Section 18-127 of the NYC Administrative Code, authorized DPR to enter Agreements only with NYZS and not the WCS regarding PPZ, QZ and CPZ.
Important to WCS being NYZS is the conclusion that New York State laws supersede New York City’s Administrative Code and/or contracts the City entered with NYZS which disavow New Yorkers’ right to three days a week free access, as provided by New York State law. Further, Chapter 924 of the Laws of the State of New York of 1969 significantly amended NYZS’s “purpose” as set forth in Chapter 435 of the Laws of the State of New York 1895, by eliminating NYZS’s obligation to provide “instruction and recreation” to New Yorkers and denied NYZS its authority to do “zoological research and publication” – the latter being the benchmark of WCS’s mission [see Incorporating v. Current Purpose chart reported in each of the WCS entities’ page listed in PARK INSTITUTIONS].
DPR responded to FA’s Freedom of Information Law [FOIL] requests by producing Agreements with the City of New York and NYZS [not WCS] dated in the 1950s for NYA/NYZS-WCS and 1980 or 1981 for the CPZ/NYZS-WCS, PPZ/NYZS-WCS and QZ/NYZS-WCS. No Agreement was produced for BZ/NYZS-WCS, which was the original “zoological garden” Chapter 435 of the Laws of the State of New York 1895 authorized NYZS to establish. In this regard, DPR produced a copy of a March 24, 1897, Resolution of a special meeting of the Commissioners of the 2 Sinking Fund, City of New York, setting out the parameters under which the NYZS was “to exercise entire control and management over all the affairs of the said Zoological Garden.” In each of the agreements, DPR does not refer to the controlling and amending New York State laws. Yet, each Agreement requires the City, through the Parks Commissioner, to secure the approval of New York City’s Corporation Counsel, any other governmental official or entity whose consent or approval is required by law, and the State Legislature was to amend NYZS’s corporate charter. Also, the Agreements authorized NYZS [not WCS] to administer to its admission fee policy, with the approval of the Commissioner. DPR did not produce copies of any documents demonstrating fulfillment of these requisites.
Further, DPR did not produce evidence that NYZS undertook to Amend its Agreements with the City to effect either a name change or change in ownership to WCS. Yet the City directly and indirectly subsidized WCS in an amount exceeding $154 MILLION in 2018 [with an approximate $43 MILLION committed to WCS for work to restore the NYA/NYZS-WCS after Hurricane Sandy, for a total of $197 MILLION.] In addition, the City has invested more than $385 MILLION of New Yorkers’ tax dollars in WCS’s depreciated physical plant.
Noteworthy, is that PPZ/NYZS-WCS, QZ/NYZS-WCS and CPZ/NYZS-WCS are not members of New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs [DCA] Cultural Institutions Group [CIG], which oversees the operation of 34 New York City cultural institutions, including the other 14 PPP/PEC institutions. CIG holds its members accountable to meeting certain prerequisites to qualify for City funding [see DCA’s “Procedures Manual”]. DPR did not produce its own version of DCA’s “Procedures Manual,” demonstrating that DPR defined and follows a process and enforces procedures DPR put in place, to hold NYZS-WCS accountable to comply with the provisions of each entity’s Agreement.
It is imperative that the new Mayoral administration in collaboration with New York’s City Council remedy the longstanding breaches by the City and for New Yorkers to SIGN FA’s PETITION NOW!