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December 1, 2009

NYS May Give More Aid to Atlantic Yards Project

WNYC Radio
by Matthew Schuerman

New York State's economic development agency says it recently considered giving Brooklyn's controversial Atlantic Yards project more financial help than previously announced. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports.

REPORTER: In 2006, the state officials voted to give $100 million to developer Forest City Ratner for infrastructure costs and then provide tax-exempt bonds to build a basketball arena. But in September, members of a state entity agreed behind the scenes to preliminarily approve another $400 million in tax exempt bonds.

It's unclear whether the state or Ratner would ultimately pay the bonds back, but critics say that either way, the taxpayer's burden would increase considerably. The Atlantic Yards Report blog reported the secret allocation first.

The Empire State Development Corporation says it's abandoned the plan, but wouldn't comment further. Last week, officials stuck to the original plan and approved only bonds slotted for the arena. For WNYC, I'm Matthew Schuerman.

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.

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NoLandGrab: We can rest assured that the ESDC is working feverishly on a Plan B, designed to elude nosy reporters like Norman Oder and Matthew Schuerman, for conveying more public money to Forest City.

Posted by eric at December 1, 2009 12:06 PM