Skip to main content

State Comptroller: ESDC lacks transparency, fails to show impact (no discussion of AY)

A rather bland press release from the State Comptroller, DiNapoli Releases Profile of State's Economic Development Agency, became headlines like:
The gist, from the Comptroller's press release:
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released a profile of the Empire State Development Corp. (ESDC) that found there is minimal financial information for many of its 168 subsidiaries and limited public reporting on results of the economic development initiatives around the state.
“New York state spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to spur economic development and job creation through ESDC programs,”DiNapoli said. “New Yorkers deserve more thorough accounting about whether these programs are achieving desired results.”
...For fiscal year (FY) 2013, ESDC reported that its programs helped create 2,424 jobs, a figure representing approximately 1.8 percent of net private-sector job creation in the state during the year. But the authority makes little public assessment of whether its programs work effectively together or create well-paying jobs. The report suggests developing more detailed and consistent public reporting for each program.
In addition to economic development, ESDC serves as a financing vehicle for the state. Its outstanding debt totaled more than $10.7 billion for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2014, an increase of 20 percent over FY 2013. Most of the agency’s debt total is considered “backdoor borrowing,”which has been done on behalf of the state without voter approval. As noted in DiNapoli’s report, there is an increasing reliance by the state on ESDC to issue debt to fund a broader scope of projects including highways, correctional and youth facilities, and to refund debt of other authorities.
Note that the report does not address Atlantic Yards, so there's no assessment of jobs created or the value of the state subsidies. Or the limited amount of transparency, as with the Atlantic Yards CDC. The debt issued to build the Barclays Center was authorized by an ESDC alter ego, the Job Development Authority, but does not put the state on the hook.

The Cuomo response

According to Gannett:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo knocked DiNapoli, saying the state's economy is much improved in recent years.
"I disagree with the comptroller fundamentally and on his concept of economic development," Cuomo told reporters on Long Island. "This state lost its effectiveness and primacy in attracting businesses over the past decades, and we've come a long way in the past four years in actually reversing that and bringing jobs back to New York."
And ESD is not necessarily admitting problems:
Jason Conwall, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said the agency regularly releases reports on the programs it administers, such as the state's 10 regional councils and tax-credit programs.

"Many of these are the direct result of increased transparency requirements enacted during the course of this administration," Conwall said. "We'll review the comptroller office's recommendations and will be more than happy to direct them to the section of our web site where these reports are located.

Comments

  1. Anonymous1:13 PM

    What's the breakdown of AY staff's salaries? Do we know?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous6:59 AM

    Though dinapoli did not make it too much of an issue, it is good he did this, of course he can do a lot more. This is a huge scandal percolating for year after year. The Bronx EDC was censured and hasn't filed required documents, and likely still haven't. Where are the progressive State elected officials?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you point to the evidence re Bronx?

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…