If you read the Atlantic Yards Report's account of yesterday's MTA hearing that resulted in a 10-2 vote approving the sale of the Atlantic Yards to Forest City Ratner at a drastically reduced price (in both present and expected value terms), it's hard not to come to the conclusion that either (a) the people that sit on the MTA Board ain't too bright or (b) the fix was most certainly in. Or (c) both. The heart of the MTA's fallacious position was encapsulated by board member Jeff Kay's defense of the new pricing structure: “The market is what the market is,” declared board member Jeff Kay." Um, except that the board rejected a higher price from Extell back in 2005 and has refused to either get a current independent appraisal or solicit new offers to find out what the market price really is. (In fact, at yesterday's hearing Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's Daniel Goldstein offered $120 million for the property over 12 years, though we're not exactly clear on how he planned to pay for it.) The board ignored Assemblyman Jim Brennan who tried to remind the MTA that it is legally bound not to squander its assets; he also pointed out that the Public Authorities Accountability Act requires an independent appraisal. Council Member Letitia James pointed out the irony that taxpayers bailed out the MTA and now the MTA is bailing out a private developer, adding “How can you sell off a valuable public asset without considering market value?” Goldstein also said that it's likely his group will sue the MTA for its actions. Anyway, there's no point in rehashing the entire play-by-play here. Go read the Atlantic Yards Report's detailed account and watch the video above.
MTA Approves Deal 10-2 Despite Warnings [AY Report]
Atlantic Yards Project Enters a Crucial Period [NY Times]
Bailout! State Cuts New Deal to Save Stalled Yards [NY Post]
MTA Signs Off on Sweet Atlantic Yards Deal [NY Daily News]
MTA Approves New Deal for Atlantic Yards [WNYC]
MTA Ignores Fiduciary Duty, Approves Revised Yards Plan
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