From the NY Post:
State leaders went out of their way to push through a controversial land deal -- which robbed taxpayers of millions of dollars -- to gain the favor of a politically powerful Indian church, sources said.
Former Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Queens) championed the sale of 4.5 acres of the old Creedmoor Hospital to the cash-poor Indian Cultural and Community Center, going so far as to hound state Dormitory Authority officials to OK the deal without the usual attorney general's review, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) claims.
"Why would you want to circumvent the normal contract-review process? Only if you want to hide something," charged Avella, who is pushing the AG's Office to investigate the fishy deal.
Padavan's 2006 legislation authorized the sale of the Queens psych-hospital parcel for $1.8 million, a fraction of its estimated market value of $7.3 million. The measure allows the Floral Park group to build a community center and apartment buildings.
Sale of state land is usually conducted through an auction to the highest bidder, or granted to public entities. Since 2006, the Creedmoor parcels were the only sale of state Dormitory Authority land to be pushed through with special legislation, according to state records.
This year, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens) shopped around another bill to sell the group roughly six more acres as they seek to erect 126 potentially lucrative apartments.
Padavan -- who lost a re-election bid last year -- and Clark received a combined total of $5,201 in campaign contributions from the cultural group's members, elections records show.
The nonprofit is led by a circle of increasingly powerful Queens and Long Island businessmen.