Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bum Deal!

Kudos to the Times Ledger for their slicing and dicing of the city's giveaway to Sterling Equities and Related-even more so because the paper had endorsed the first development plan put forward by EDC. Kind of makes you really recognize how much the Daily News and Mort Zuckerman are in the tank for the mayor with their knee jerk praise of the new plan:

"Unless one believes in the benevolence, integrity and generosity of the Wilpons and Sterling Equities of the New York Mets, the city’s plan for the redevelopment of the area around Citi Field does not appear to be a good deal for the city."

The Ledger isn't sanguine about the postponing of the housing deal-rightly assuming the Wimpy nature of the postponement of the only real public benefit; and the paper gives thumbs down to the crony capitalism that animates this smelly scheme:

"But now we are told the construction of the housing and a school won’t begin until 2025 at the earliest. Worse, we learned last week this piece of land was given to the Wilpons and their partner, Sterling Equities, which formed the Queens Development Group, for free. To thank them for accepting this gift, the city is committed to spending $500 million building sewers, creating better access to the Long Island Expressway and repairing roads."

The Ledger also understands just how much EDC snookered the city council back in2008: "When the City Council approved the deal, it reportedly knew nothing of the land giveaway and trusted in the mayor’s promise to get back the money spent on buying out the businesses pressed into relocating."

This is a deal that is nothing more than a giveaway to two billionaire pals of the mayor-and if the mayor himself wasn't so rich the law enforcement community would be all over this. Apparently, taking care of your friends at the expense of the public interest is alright if you're wealthy. But that doesn't mean that the city council should go along with the deal-especially without the public benefit of housing front-loaded:

"Show us the numbers, Mayor Bloomberg. How will the city recoup the money it already spent? Where is the study showing that hotels and a convention center will be viable? There are already hotels close by serving LaGuardia passengers. No shovel should hit the ground until a plan to build affordable housing is in place — and not in 2025. It should be done simultaneously with the other building.

Despite these reservations, we look forward to the day when Mets fans can walk through a beautiful plaza before and after a game. But let’s make sure the city gets a fair deal from the Wilpons and Sterling."

The Ledger almost had us-that is until this last thought. What the paper leaves out is that this was a scheme that was concocted by the Wilpons over 20 years ago-and they employed a number of dubious methods in its pursuit-not the least of which was getting the city to use the threat of condemnation to take away property that has now been given over to Sterling Equities.

They don't deserve a nickle of the tax payers' money-having already taken $500,000 for their truly inspired lobbying effort fronted by Claire Shulman. What they deserve is a swift retribution for their fraud and deception-and we also look forward to a plaza for Mets fans, on the west side of CitiField-bought and paid for by the new owners not by these scoundrels.