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March 19, 2009

Under fire, Finance Commissioner Stark gives up moonlighting job; won't talk about conflict-of-interest situation

Atlantic Yards Report

Norman Oder rounds up coverage of revelations that NYC Finance Commish Martha Stark has a second job (a no-no for City department heads) and ingnored ethical concerns over a subordinate.

In October, New York City Finance Commissioner Martha Stark seemed unflappable when she testified before a Congressional subcommittee regarding the valuations for the Yankee Stadium site, valuations that critics believed were "gamed" to ensure sufficient PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) to repay construction bonds.

Despite Stark's confidence, there was still a big gap between her explanation that, when choosing comparable sites for an assessment, the first priority is proximity, and the city's practice, which included a vastly non-comparable site in Alphabet City, more than seven miles away.

Should the Atlantic Yards arena proceed, Stark's department will have a crucial role in ensuring an assessment commensurate with the bonds. This week, there are new reasons to question Stark's judgment and integrity.

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Posted by lumi at March 19, 2009 5:15 AM