Tuesday, June 30, 2009

M.T.A. And Ratner's Deal Breaks The Law

The M.T.A. has no problem raising the fare for straphangers in their attempt to make ends meet. Yet when it comes to the rich and powerful, they have no problem making deals with people like Bruce Ratner in his attempt to build part of his Atlantic Yards site. The only problem though with saving Ratner some money is that the M.T.A. violated the law in doing so.

From Hot Indie News:

Brennan said the failure to include an independent appraisal prior to voting on the proposal violated the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005, which specifically requires that a public authority like the MTA conduct an independent appraisal prior to disposing of its property to assure fair market value to be paid for assets of public authorities.

Brennan said the purpose of the statute was to prevent public authorities from squandering assets in giveaways to the private sector.

Brennan said it was likely the MTA was squandering its assets to the detriment of the mass transit system, since in 2005 another bidder on the arena site and rail yards, the Extell Corporation, had already offered the MTA more money than what became the agreement between Forest City Ratner and the MTA at that time.

Brennan said the likelihood that the arena project was a boondoggle was substantial, since the New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) has already testified at a hearing of the State Senate Corporations Committee on May 29^th that a preliminary updated review of the costs and benefits of the arena showed that city and state outlays for the project would exceed positive tax revenues from the project even over a 30-year period.

I would say there is more than a substantial likelihood that this is a boondoggle, because it is definitely a boondoggle. Assemblyman Brennan knows that and so does everyone else in Brooklyn, including the principals who are orchestrating this deal. Forest City Ratner may think their legal troubles are over, but they've got another thing coming. There's a reason why laws like this one is written, and it is to stop shady pro-corporate, anti-community projects like Atlantic Yards