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September 12, 2005

DDDb Press Release: 32 Organizations Demand MTA Release Ratner Profit Projections

Sweet Deal for Ratner Kept Secret While Taxpayers Get Raw Deal

NEW YORK, NY–The public has not yet seen Bruce Ratner's projected profit for his proposed arena and 17 skyscrapers in Brooklyn.

While the MTA is on the verge of awarding its 8.5-acre Vanderbilt rail yards to the lower bidder, Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) and 31 other public interest and community groups have sent a letter to the MTA demanding the release of Bruce Ratner's pro forma income statement. The 20-year financial projection was required by the MTA's Request for Proposals (RFP), but does not appear in the FCRC proposal the MTA released publicly. High-bidder Extell Development Company's pro forma cash-flow statement was released to the public, but FCRC's pro forma cash-flow statement has been withheld by the MTA.

"We know Bruce Ratner's corporation stands to make upwards of $1 billion profit from his project," said DDDB spokesperson Daniel Goldstein. "Why has Mr. Ratner and the MTA hid this from the public? Contrast Bruce Ratner's profit with New York City's microscopic profit from his arena, as projected by the Independent Budget Office, and we can understand the secrecy. The MTA and FCR don't want to publicize their sweetheart deal while taxpayers get such a raw deal."

An excerpt from the letter to the MTA reads:

*In light of the fact that:

* neither bid met the appraised value for the Yards ($214.5 million),
* you chose to exclude the higher bidder (Extell) from the negotiation process, and
* according to the Sept 7 edition of The New York Times, you will be settling for a sale of the Yards to FCRC at less than half of the appraised value and at two-thirds the value of the Extell bid,

we believe that it is in the public interest to understand, not just what the public is getting back in revenues for our investment, but also what FCRC is getting in profits from our investment.

The taxpayers are being asked to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the arena, relinquish city-owned property to private interests, accept the bypassing of the city-review process, accept the condemnation of citizens' property, accept the eviction of renters and business owners, and accept a lower bid to the MTA at less than half the appraised value of the yards - all in return for what the Independent Budget Office has identified as a 1% annual return to the city on their financial investment.

In the interest of transparency, the taxpayers also have the right to know what and how much the developer will be getting from this transaction.

To read the complete letter to the MTA visit: http://www.dddb.net/mta/proforma.

Posted by lumi at September 12, 2005 10:07 AM