From the Daily News:
The agency that collects rent on city property failed to turn over millions to the city - but still managed to spend big bucks on extravagant travel.
The Economic Development Corp. paid for luxury hotels in China, London, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and Washington, expenses from January 2008 through April show.
The records show that EDC operates under looser travel rules than city employees, who are supposed to fly coach, stay in economy hotels and limit how much they spend on food and drink.
In contrast, EDC dropped nearly $17,000 to fly two workers to China to drum up investments, charging taxpayers $600 for a meal at a Beijing restaurant.
The agency also paid for:
* A $55 bottle of wine in San Francisco.
* A $368-per-night room at the Club Quarters in London.
* A $119 lunch for four city employees.
* $48 for room service and $80 for extra legroom on a flight.
An EDC spokesman said its travel guidelines adhere to the "spirit" of city worker rules.
A spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg defended the agency, saying EDC has trimmed its travel budget to "less than $45,000" in fiscal year2010.
"We are in a worldwide competition for jobs and investment, and the notion that New York City's economic development arm should act less aggressively than those in other cities is short-sighted," spokesman Andrew Brent said.
City workers must follow an edict known as Directive 6 restricting expenses for travel. EDC officials "do not believe EDC is subject to Directive 6," spokesman David Lombino said.
The Daily News also found the EDC often didn't even follow its own less restrictive rules.
Time to reform public authorities. Now.