The Culture of Cheating: Forest City gets the inside track with the MTA, then gets to revise the deal (though the MTA could have recognized its leverage)
Did it have to be that way? Maybe not.
Yes, there’s a “fundamental asymmetry” in complex projects that favors a developer, because it “can generally leave the project and even the city while politicians cannot,” as planning professor Lynne Sagalyn warned in Times Square Roulette, her epic 2001 epic analysis of redevelopment.
With Atlantic Yards, however, the public had more power: Forest City was desperate to move the money-losing Nets from New Jersey into a profitable new arena, larded with luxury suites and sponsorships enabled by the country's richest media market, and to get tax-exempt bonds sold by the end of 2009.
Instead, when Forest City asked to renegotiate, the MTA, controlled by the governor and mayor, complied. This is the Culture of Cheating from another angle: less deception than an inside deal from the start.
For the full article, click here.