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December 19, 2011

Times, in front-page story, critiques gerrymandering in New York's EB-5 projects, gets defensive response from feds; unmentioned are other rules being stretched

Atlantic Yards Report

In a front-page article today headlined Rules Stretched as Green Cards Go to Investors, the New York Times jumps on one aspect of the EB-5 story, the gerrymandering to ensure that immigrant investor projects qualify as located in high-unemployment areas.

The Times cites the International Gem Tower in the diamond district, the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, and yes, Atlantic Yards (as I wrote 12/9/11), as taking advantage of gerrymandering. The Battery Maritime Building's Targeted Employment Area, the Times reveals, even "jumps across the East River to annex the Farragut Houses project in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn."

Unmentioned: other rules being stretched regarding EB-5, such as the lack of actual job creation (defined via murky, non-public reports by hired economists), or the credit given to immigration investors for investments made by others, including taxpayers.

Also unmentioned is the enormous, sometimes deceptive hype behind project promotion, as well as the participation by city and state officials in such promotion--and the finder's fee to the New York City Economic Development Corporation in brokering EB-5 deals.

In other words, the problem goes much deeper than gerrymandering.
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Diminishing AYR impact

Describing me as a "local blogger," while not inaccurate, also is imprecise, and diminishes my experience as a journalist. It makes it harder to believe that I might have written more than 100 articles investigating the EB-5 issue.

Moreover, the paragraph leaves the impression that the gerrymandered map was publicly known, and that I merely named it. Rather, the issue was first reported on this blog, based on documents gathered via a Freedom of Information Act request.

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Posted by eric at December 19, 2011 10:26 AM