Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Atlantic Yards headscratcher

From Atlantic Yards Report:

A master closing involving the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), and developer Forest City Ratner is expected to be held [today].

But the ESDC tells me that the documents won't be made publicly available until a week or two after the closing.

That's backwards, isn't it?

a June 2008 court hearing, an ESDC lawyer said that Forest City Ratner is required to use “commercially reasonable efforts” to move forward.

Similarly, in the pending litigation challenging the ESDC's September approval of the 2009 MGPP, the ESDC states (right; click to enlarge) that a Development Agreement, still under negotiation, would not permit Forest City to construct the project without including the required affordable housing.

But the affordable housing is dependent on subsidies, so shouldn't the public and elected officials see what the Development Agreement says about that obligation, and shouldn't we see that before it's signed?

Or how about this (also from AY Report)?

I spoke yesterday with Perkins, who said he’d spoken with Peter Kiernan, Paterson's Counsel, on Monday.

“I asked him, as per our prior conversation on Friday, what he came up with," Perkins recalled. "And he said 'We’re satisfied with what we got from ESDC and others.' I said, 'Well, what does that mean?' He said, "It’s a creation of JDA.' So I said, 'OK, Is that a subsidiary?' He says, 'No, it’s a creation.' I say, 'What does that mean? Because that sounds like a new word in the context of the conversation… because you said at first it was a subsidiary.'"

That means, Perkins said, that the governor's office believes that the BALDC is not subject to the PACB, which includes scrutiny by the state Comptroller's office and a unanimous vote by the governor, Assembly Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader.

And that's a "violation of the spirit of the [public authority] reforms that we just signed into law," Perkins said. "And obviously it is not the way in which the people expect us to do business."

"[Kiernan] said, well, that’s his answer, that’s what he got," Perkins recalled.

"I found to be unacceptable, because, as I said, it seems to have been a creation to avoid the opportunity to scrutinize the financing," Perkins said. "Usually, you don’t hide unless you have something to hide. Why are we being so exotic about the financing? It’s not being subject to the kind of scrutiny that the legislation that we just passed was intended to provide."

..."We're not anti-development, we just want it to be in accordance with the values of the democracy we're in. Clearly, they are raising the suspicions, not us."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

But the ESDC tells me that the documents won't be made publicly available until a week or two after the closing.

That's backwards, isn't it?

No, that is what an out of control agency can do when our politicans hide from them as they beat up communities and only come out when told to for a few photo ops.

The press? They take anything fed to them by EDC without comment.