Farcical Public Authorities Control Board Vote Latest Penn Station Development Deal Disgrace

PACB – including representatives from the Senate and Assembly – approves non-binding, non-enforceable, figure-free, “framework agreement” between City and State

Let us get this straight: according to statements from some elected officials, today’s PACB vote means nothing, but had to happen so Penn Station could get federal funds. PACB will vote on actual dollar decisions involving things like Vornado’s potential $1.2 billion tax break in later meetings. 

Get that? We don’t. 

The Public Authorities Control Board’s job is to make sure NY State authorities are acting responsibly when they issue bonds or enter project financing agreements. Of the two dozen or so items on the PACB’s agenda today, every project being voted on had a dollar value – except the Penn Station Development deal. 

Instead of voting on an actual financing plan with actual dollars, the PACB chose to “approve” a non-binding, framework agreement which includes no dollar figures. Under the law, it is not the PACB’s job to approve non-binding, framework agreements. So what does this vote mean and why did they do it? 

We think this vote means nothing legally, but a lot politically. The Senate and Assembly think they’ve created a fig leaf for themselves to placate the growing legions of critics while delivering the Governor the headline she wants: “Deal Approved.” 

How low will the Senate and Assembly let the Governor go to deliver this deal to Vornado? Does anyone really believe the federal government is going to provide billions in aid based on financial “plans” that literally contain no dollar figures?

We thank Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for doing his job, telling the truth, and telling PACB that, because ESD has not answered basic questions, the PACB could not make a “fully informed decision” nor could the Comptroller’s office “determine whether there are sufficient funds to complete the project.”