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December 2, 2009

How the BALDC seemingly flouts the state Open Meetings Law, and why it probably doesn't scotch the AY bond deal

Atlantic Yards Report

When the Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation (BALDC) adopted several resolutions in September--including a predicate to the issuance of tax-exempt arena bonds--without a public meeting, it seemingly violated the state's Open Meetings Law.

However, that seeming violation likely had no impact on the issuance of those bonds because another clause in the law says its provisions won't affect the validity of bond issues.

Official concerns

The issue was first raised in a report on WNYC radio, quoting Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government (COOG):

REPORTER: Robert Freeman, a state official overseeing freedom of information law, says the September decision was apparently invalid anyway, given that it took place not in an open meeting, but by written consent.

(This report concerned only the now-abandoned plan to issue $400 million in tax-exempt bonds for infrastructure.)
...

Freeman, in an interview, said that the BALDC, which he called a "dummy not-for-profit corporation," should not be allowed to avoid meeting in public. However, he backed off from assertions that decisions made by the BALDC regarding bonds were thus invalid.

Read on for the fine print.

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Posted by eric at December 2, 2009 10:41 AM