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December 28, 2006

At Gargano’s valedictory, transparency on AY still hard to find

Atlantic Yards Report

Outgoing Empire State Development Corporation head Charles Gargano meets the press:

Rather, Gargano made himself available to the media, as he has long done, declared his desire to continue to help “this great city and state,” and took the opportunity to urge his successors to move ahead with the expansion of the Javits Convention Center and a plan for Moynihan Station. (Most questions concerned the stalled Moynihan Station project.)

When asked some tough Atlantic Yards questions, Gargano, for the most part, deflected them. Perhaps a cross-examination might have drilled down farther, but his answers spoke for themselves, depicting an agency for which transparency has not been a high priority.

Here's a particularly interesting exchange with reporter Norman Oder, who is still trying to get to the bottom of who's paying for what and how much will Forest City Ratner make from the Atlantic Yards project.

Q: My understanding, from reading one press account, is that there is a more full account of the net new revenues. I know that there was a five or six page memo that was released in the week after the December 8 meeting, but I’m told that there’s a more full analysis of the net new revenues.

A: Well, we do provide full analysis of the financial part of the project—there’s no question about it. If there were was some additional information required, that’s what we forward—

Q: When would that be made public?

Eileen Mildenberger, the ESDC’s Chief Operating Officer, responded from the wings:

We gave that to them on the basis of a confidentiality agreement, so we’re not sure that it is going to be made public.

Gargano picked up the thread:

This is a confidentiality agreement that we have with the developer itself. Naturally, the members of the PACB need that information for them to make a decision, but we are under a confidentiality agreement with the developer.

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NoLandGrab: Is it just us, or is anyone else getting the sneaking suspicion that developer Forest City Ratner is going to make a killing off this deal? Which leads us to wonder, isn't there a cheaper way to build affordable housing?

Posted by lumi at December 28, 2006 7:43 AM