Thursday, June 30, 2005

Where’s the Outrage?

In reviewing the incredible testimony on the Bronx Terminal Market by EDC President Andrew Alper the only question is: Where’s the outrage? Here we have the dollar a year former managing partner of Goldman Sachs basically saying that he negotiated a lease on 1,000,000 sq. ft. of city-owned land on the Bronx waterfront without even appraising the value of the property. Not only that, Alper also admitted, under questioning from Hiram Monseratte, that in the vaunted swap of the Bronx House of Detention for the Olympic velodrome, EDC never appraised the detention facility either.

One thing is abundantly clear. If the old Bronx machine had tried pulling off this kind of deal and had made the ultimate beneficiary of the largesse a close friend of the old county chairman (remember Stanley Friedman?), we can image that the local press would have raised holy hell. What’s different in this situation?

The difference lies in the cast of characters. From the mayor on down to the EDC Chairman, the Masters of the Universe persona rules. These ultra wealthy benefactors, graciously ruling over us for a dollar a year, couldn’t have any untoward or selfish motivation, could they? That is why the incredibly tainted relationship between Deputy Doctoroff and Steve Ross (The University of Michigan’s $100 million man) has not been given the kind of scrutiny that, lets say, Stanley Simon and Wedtech got in the 1980s.

No editorial comment whatsoever about Doctoroff-Ross, even after the huge exposé done by Charles Bagli in the Times? Even Rudy Giuliani wouldn’t have gotten away with transferring property in this manner to one of Ray Harding’s clients.

It is time for the Times and other local papers to start performing the kind of ethical oversight that is necessary for this Bloomberg cohort precisely because of its great wealth. The wealth cultivates a particular kind of noblesse oblige that is fertile grounds for self-serving behavior ultimately not in the interest of the general public. If you feel this is simply overwrought rhetoric then please take a close look at the BTM deal. It is that scandalously bad.