Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Bloomberg and Ratner dodge on indirect subsidies for Atlantic Yards

It was last December when the New York Observer broke the news that Forest City Ratner was seeking additional direct and indirect subsidies, the latter including a delay in paying the Metropolitan Transportation Authority the $100 million it pledged to pay for the Vanderbilt Yard.

This week, after 48 hours after the deal surfaced, the MTA approved it.

Noticing New York's Michael D.D. White points to Mayor Mike Bloomberg's public claim last month, via the Brooklyn Paper, that "We’re not putting money in" to Atlantic Yards.

White writes:
What did Bloomberg really mean? He meant that he was about to ram through a deal to give his friend Bruce Ratner more than another $180 million out of the public till.

(I'm not sure everyone would agree on $180 million, nor is it a direct subsidy, but the value to Ratner is well over $100 million, given that he'd save $100 million alone on the replacement railyard.)

What about Ratner?

That same Brooklyn Paper article includes this claim from Forest City Ratner CEO Bruce Ratner:
“We don’t need anything more [from the city and state],” he said.

Dishonest, as well.

Flashback, 2004

Shortly after the project was announced, in January 2004, Bloomberg, asked about government support for the project, claimed:
Fundamentally, the answer to your question is: this will be done with private money, and any city monies of any meaningful size will be debt issues financed by the extra tax revenues that come from this. So, we’re not going to have to divert money from education, or police or fire or any other part of the city to do this. No. It is private money in that sense.

Along with "police" and "fire," he might have mentioned "mass transit."

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