The City Council voted Tuesday, without holding a public hearing, to create a new entity of the kind that state comptroller Tom DiNapoli warns in a recent report enables governments to “circumvent the law” and exposes taxpayers to increased “risk of waste, fraud or abuse of taxpayer dollars or assets”.
The new entity will be what is known as a local development corporation, or LDC. The LDC adopted by the council will be called the Local Economic Assistance Corporation, a nonprofit with an initial five-member board composed of current Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency officials.
Newsday reports that the NYS Authorities Budget Offices has also warned about these LDCs, as these boards may or may not comply with open meetings law or FOIL (Freedom Of Information Law) disclosures.
The Comptroller’s Office report notes that LDCs have “proliferated” since January 2008, when a law allowing IDAs to finance “facilities owned or operated by not-for-profit operations” expired.
Still, LDCs must be adopted in accordance with nonprofit law for several purposes, such as, first and foremost, “relieving and reducing unemployment”, in addition to “promoting and enhancing employment opportunities”, along with job training, scientific research, and “lessening the burdens of government”.
The obvious problem with this is that another report by DiNapoli’s office found that Glen Cove’s IDA had the worst job creation record in all of New York, according to 2012 data. Glen Cove’s IDA picked five winners to receive $2.3 million in exemptions, resulting in 48 new jobs as per 2012, $46,951 per job. The state average was $4,828 and the Long Island average was $2,148.
Now the mayor wants to expand the IDA, with this track record, with an even more nontransparent corporation. What could possibly go wrong?
The City Council also voted Tuesday to ban hookah bars in Glen Cove.