Controversy at NYCIDA Hearing over the Related Companies Track Record, Community Benefits
New York, NY—The New York City Industrial Development Agency (NYCIDA) hearing heated up this morning, as advocates testified against granting huge public subsidies to the Related Companies to develop the Eastern Rail Yards, as known as Hudson Yards, on Manhattan’s West Side.
Nathalie Alegre, an organizer with ALIGN and the Getting Our Money’s Worth coalition, gave testimony questioning the track record of the Related Companies in honoring its agreements. The testimony also questioned the NYCIDA’s track record in crafting successful agreements and holding companies accountable to their jobs and other community benefits promises.
“The NYCIDA needs to tell us how many jobs will be created, and if they will be good jobs for local people, or poverty-wage Walmart jobs,” said Alegre. “Considering Related’s lack of transparency in trying to bring Walmart into a community in East New York, and their broken promises at Willets Point, the NYCIDA needs this development to ensure community benefits and give New Yorkers a money-back guarantee if Related falls short.”
Alegre’s testimony described how Related has refused to meet with residents and the Community Board of East New York who are concerned about Walmart coming into their community. It also detailed how Related is refusing to build affordable housing in Willets Point, another massive and heavily-subsidized development project in Queens, until 2025.
Speaking to IDA Board Members and the concerned members of the public in the hearing room, Alegre emphasized the failure of the NYCIDA in prioritizing and enforcing community benefits in its corporate subsidy agreements. She raised the example of Merrill Lynch, another wealthy recipient of public subsidies. The investment bank’s 15-year subsidy ended late last month, with the company cutting jobs and falling nearly 5,000 jobs short of its agreement. Alegre asserted that the NYCIDA should have clawed back much more of the $12.3 million subsidy that Merrill Lynch received.
“The public has a right to know how the NYCIDA will avoid the problems of the past and plan for a better future for all New Yorkers,” concluded Alegre.
Full testimony from the hearing can be found at https://www.alignny.org/?p=4501
ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York’s mission is to create good jobs, vibrant communities, and an accountable democracy for all New Yorkers. Our work unites worker, community, and other allies to build a more just and sustainable New York. ALIGN was formed in April 2011 through the merger of New York Jobs and Justice and Urban Agenda. Visit www.ALIGNny.org for more information.
The Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition is a broad coalition of public policy experts, government watchdogs, labor unions, community and religious organizations, and concerned small business owners, workers and taxpayers. The statewide coalition is anchored by ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York and the Buffalo-based Coalition for Economic Justice