1. Reinvent Albany supports a bill ending the State’s 421-a program, which cuts NYC property taxes to real estate developers in return for them building affordable housing. Prominent elected officials and civic groups have criticized the Governor’s proposal to modify the program, which cost NYC taxpayers $1.7 billion a year and is set to expire in June.
We also published five memos of support for financial disclosure transparency bills. Two bills would require members of Regional Economic Development Councils to file disclosure statements, which would be subject to FOIL.
The real estate industry claims that 421-a is the most effective way for taxpayers to fund affordable housing in NY, but the Community Service Society of New York and the Legal Aid Society – groups that have no pocket-book interest in the fate of the 421-a program – have repeatedly debunked this.
2. Seven years after the Buffalo Billion bid-rigging scandal, former Cuomo “nano-czar” Alain Kaloyeros is slated to report to prison on March 14th.Kaloyeros was convicted of wire fraud in 2018, but has been free on bail while appealing the case.
A report released to the public Friday revealed two separate but similar schemes involving the construction of a casino at the Tioga Downs harness track in the town of Nichols, near the Pennsylvania border, between 2016 and 2018. The report also highlighted that the compliance team of the Gaming Commission — the state agency that oversees gambling and horse racing licenses — did not conduct the basic oversight of contracting at Tioga Downs to uncover the arrangements.
3. A report by the NY state inspector general found more fraud in MWBE certifications, with two casino vendors in Tioga Downs using MWBEs as a pass-through to appear to be meeting state diversity standards (Times Union).
Don’t miss the Times Union’s excellent reporting last week on the $2.9 billion the state has provided for horse racing.
Originally scheduled to start his sentence this month, Kaloyeros was able to get his report date moved to March 14 after his attorney wrote a letter to trial judge Valerie Caproni saying that Kaloyeros needed extra time to deal with a “recent health concern” to ensure that it does not become a “potentially serious medical condition.”
Last week’s issue misspelled reporter Emilie Munson’s name. We apologize for the oversight.
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