Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ratner On the Ropes?

let's hope!, though he manages to slime through worse, courtesy of the taxpayer... from DDDB:Atlantic Yards: The Deal is Coming Undone

The New York Times
reports that developer Bruce Ratner's stated Atlantic Yards groundbreaking date is a fantasy given numerous financial and legal obstacles. Despite the rather misleading headline,the Atlantic Yards deal is coming undone.

Three key issues are spread throughout the article.

  • The first is that the $400 million naming rights deal with Barclays Bank has a contract that requires "Forest City to close on the land and the financing by the end of November." As DDDB spokesman Daniel Goldstein states in the article, it is impossible for Forest city to close by that date. (Amongst other major financing and legal problems for Ratner, there is an eminent domain legal challenge in NY State Court that won't even be argued until 2009.)

  • It is confirmed that Ratner is actively seeking $100 million more in taxpayer subsidies. This is going to be unacceptable to nearly all local elected officials.

  • Congressman Kucinich's probe into IRS tax exempt bond regulations (a Congressional hearing on "Gaming the Tax Code: Public Subsidies, Private Profits, and Big League Sports in New York" is scheduled for September 18th) is breathing down Ratner's neck and jeopardizing his ability to gain those tax-exempt bonds.
The Atlantic Yards project is hanging by a thread, yet Ratner continues to demolish a whole section of Prospect Heights and spend taxpayer dollars on project-specific infrastructure work. It's time for that to stop. It's time to move forward with a new feasible and superior vision to develop the rail yards


I still wonder, out loud why there has been no investigation of Ratner's undo influence. Like Iraq debacle or Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, he might be so woven into the system that he's 'too big to fail'...or be prosecuted.

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