Friday, January 15, 2010

Brodsky seeks investigation of "shady, inadequate, unfunded" MTA agreement on tunnel repairs associated with Atlantic Yards (fake)

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, the watchdog of public authorities, leader on public authority reform, fierce after-the-fact critic of the Yankee Stadium deal, and putative Attorney General candidate, has chosen not to look closely at Atlantic Yards (despite occasional swipes at the MTA's failure to fulfill its fiduciary duty), so the below press release is only what Brodsky might have said.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 15, 2010

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, (D-Westchester), Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, today released a letter to Governor Paterson that insists that the Governor explain the state's willingness to let the Atlantic Yards project proceed without knowledge of the costs or the extent of needed subway tunnel repairs.

Brodsky expressed dismay that repairs on damaged subway tunnels around the Atlantic Yards site in Brooklyn would be supposedly paid for via a contingency fund in the budget for the arena project.

"However, the extent of the damage has not been assessed," Brodsky declared. "Nor can an honest price tag be affixed. This is putting the cart before the horse."

"I am deeply skeptical that the $8.1 million available for Infrastructure Contingency in the Arena Project budget can accomplish this work," Brodsky said. "The agreement seems shady, inadequate, and unfunded. Neither the Metropolitan Transportation Authority nor the Empire State Development Corporation should have signed documents for the Master Closing last month without publicly vetting this deal."

Moreover, Brodsky pointed to confusing language in the Barclays Center Official Statement, which could lead readers to conclude that the budget for so-called Transit Improvements would encompass such repairs. He noted that the Official Statement makes reference to a "Transit Improvement Agreement" that has been kept under wraps, but should have been made public before the Master Closing documents were signed.

"And I am deeply disturbed that, after such an historic effort to achieve public authority reform, one of the state's most important authorities--and clearly the one most important to New York City residents--continues to operate with no transparency, backroom deals, and open-ended agreements that quite possibly expose the public to costs more properly attributable to a developer," he said.

"Though my personal political ambitions have caused me to tread lightly on the Atlantic Yards issue--I must maintain comity with Speaker Sheldon Silver, who supports the project--I cannot stand idly by," Brodsky said. "If I am to be a watchdog of authorities, such important government entities cannot be permitted to sign such open-ended deals and put the public treasury at risk."

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