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Elusive accountability from ESD: still waiting for notes from last Quality of Life meeting and agenda for **Sept. 20** meeting (updated)

Updated with correct date.

I wrote Friday that, despite the upcoming bi-monthly Quality of Life meeting scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday, Sept. 20, Empire State Development (ESD) has not yet released notes from the previous meeting, despite a stated goal to release them in three weeks or less.

Nor has ESD, the state authority that oversee/shepherds the project, yet released an agenda for tomorrow's meeting, which typically lists merely the entities making presentations: ESD, Barclays Center, developer Greenland Forest City Partners. (Maybe it will surface today.)

Why does this matter? Because, among other things, project-related questions and suggested agenda items are typically due (to the day before, though this time no deadline was listed. (Presumably, the deadline will be Sept. 19.)

Also, the gubernatorially-controlled ESD is not exactly pursuing accountability regarding:

  • the fines for the missing Urban Room
  • the timetable for the required remaining 876 (or 877) units of affordable housing
  • the reason for the delayed start of the platform over the first block of the Vanderbilt Yard, crucial to the development of three towers and future income-targeted ("affordable") housing
  • even the discrepancy between after-hours work announced in the bi-weekly Construction Update and the actual permits granted by the Department of Buildings
More questions about the governor

This is by no means the most glaring example of a lack of accountability. The Albany Times-Union's Chris Bragg on 9/8/22 reported how a company owned by a donor to Gov Kathy Hochul, Digital Gadgets, was paid an average of $12.25 per COVID-19 test, while "other companies charged no more than $7.80, and some were paid $5."

There's a lot in there that's questionable: Digital Gadgets was merely a distribution company (with a history in hoverboards and electronic devices), not a manufacturer, and if the products it provided really were of such high quality that the others weren't reliable, why did the state keep buying the latter? 

Also see New York Post columnist Nicole Gelinas, who yesterday wrote Why does the Legislature allow Hochul’s pay-to-play COVID corruption?