We have been offering a running commentary on the absurdity of increasing the power of EDC to do more harm to New Yorkers-the subject of a city council hearing next week. There are many numerous salient examples of how EDC has operated with impunity-and without good policy judgment. So many, that we could fill an entire book with the agency's missteps in its myriad efforts at helping the city's real estate community.
One example deserves a special shout out for is outrageous misuse of city money-the proposal to grant Fresh Direct hundreds of million dollars in bribe money so that the online grocer doesn't abandon the city that subsidized it into business (with $2 million) a number of years ago. Good Jobs New York lays out the case against this inanity-and the Daily News reports on the growing controversy and legal challenge:
"When Bloomberg first ran for mayor, he vowed to curb the time-honored practice of doling out tax breaks to firms that threaten to skip town. But the subsidy package given to FreshDirect, which was being wooed by the increasingly aggressive Garden State, has led to critical discussion of a practice that remains an important part of the city’s economic development arsenal...
All of this-on top of all of the special pleading EDC has done for Steve Ross and Related-is just another indication that EDC stands for Everything Done for Cronies. There was simply zero chance that Fresh Direct was gonna move across the river-and have its trucks pay the bridge tolls a sit in traffic trying to get into the city. This was extortion with a seemingly gullible and willing victim playing along for his billionaire buddy.
So EDC wants to have more power to subsidize friends of the mayor and use the subsidies to take away land from property owner, put competing retailers at risk, and plow a path of destruction through parks and neighborhoods. Yes, an oversight hearing should be very informative and entertaining.