Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Perkins to Cuomo: issue an opinion as to whether AY bond process was legal

Well, if state Senator Bill Perkins can't get a written statement from Governor David Paterson's office regarding the Atlantic Yards bond deal, maybe Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will weigh in.

Perkins, as he promised, sent a letter to Cuomo yesterday:
I write to request your opinion of the recent bond issuance on behalf of Forest City Ratner for the construction of the arena at Atlantic Yards.

On December 18, 2009 I sent a letter to Governor Paterson outlining my concerns. Your office was carbon copied. In essence, the ESDC crafted an unusual transaction whereby a nearly defunct entity, the Job Development Authority (JDA) was used to form the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards Development Corporation (BALDC) which then issued the $511 million worth of arena construction bonds.

I believe that the bond issuance was done in this manner to avoid a review by the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) and the state Comptroller. I respectfully request that your office issue an opinion as to whether the process employed during the bond issuance was legal, as the public must have utmost confidence in the processes of government.

Enclosed please find a copy of my letter to the Governor. I look forward to your diligent response.
Update: note contrast

Note that Perkins's letter focused on the avoidance of PACB review, not the other issue raised in his letter to Paterson, whether the BALDC deserves a tax exemption.

Some coverage

While the Times has so far ignored Perkins's concerns, some other news outlets have taken notice. The Bond Buyer reported, in an article headlined Atlantic Yards Deal Closes:
Also on Wednesday, Sen. Bill Perkins, D-Harlem, announced he had made a formal request to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for a legal opinion on whether the Empire State Development Corp., the lead agency on the project, had complied with all necessary legal and statutory requirements of the state’s public authorities laws.
And the Wall Street Journal, in an article headlined Opponents Unbowed Amid Nets' Arena Deal, reported:
Tuesday, state Sen. Bill Perkins, from Manhattan, continued to lobby Gov. David Paterson and other top officials in the state to prevent the public Empire State Development Corp. from going through with Wednesday's closing on the half-billion-dollar bond sale, which took place last week. According to the senator, the state's Public Authorities Control Board didn't have a chance to vote on the bond sale, rendering it illegal.

No comments:

Post a Comment