Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And has the Atlantic Yards arena site been assessed? Not that I've been told

In order to generate PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) sufficient for the Atlantic Yards arena bond, would the land under the arena be assessed in the same questionable way that the land under Yankee Stadium was assessed?

The Yankee Stadium site, as pointed out in investigations by committees led by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, was subject to a curious and precipitous increase in value, and to get to the increased value, comparables from Manhattan (including far-off Alphabet City), and failed to adjust for size, location, and time.

If the same thing is happening in Brooklyn, well, we don't know.

FOILs come up empty

On October 21, I filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC):
Under the Freedom of Information Law, I request records regarding the financing for and assessed valuation of the planned Atlantic Yards arena.

It is my understanding that a preliminary application for tax-exempt financing has been filed with ESDC. I would like a copy of that application or--if one exists--a final application.

It is my understanding that ESDC has been provided information by the New York City Department of Finance that describes the assessed valuation of the arena and/or arena site. I would like a copy of such documents.


In a letter dated October 28, the ESDC stated "there are no responsive records in ESDC's files."

I got a similar answer from the New York City Industrial Development Authority, which issued bonds for the Yankees deal but would defer to the ESDC for the arena.

As for the New York City Department of Finance, well, a response to my FOIL request is overdue.

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