Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mastro and the Merchants

In today's NY Daily News the paper reports that merchants at the Hunts Point market are planning to bid on the site that the city had, according to Judge Billings, improperly awarded to Baldor's Foods. Judge Billings plans to force EDC to issue a new RFP for the 15 acre city-owned site.

As we commented yesterday, the Alliance was skeptical that the city's "sham bidding process" had anything to do with a desire on their part to accommodate the BTM merchants. In a post we did last year we pointed out that the site had been deemed unsuitable by the merchants prior to the mayor's press conference announcing the Baldor's move.

We did, however, have a conversation with Randy Mastro, the attorney for the Hunts Point wholesalers. Randy is convinced that the city saw the Baldor's site as an alternative for the BTM merchants and a way out of the public relations nightmare that the Alliance had created for the city. Perhaps, but if so it only increases our disrespect for the way that EDC conducted the entire BTM business.

Mastro also was quite candid in his disdain for the judge's ruling on the BTM. He told us that it made no sense for the city to have the power, under the "market exception," to in effect eliminate the facility that the power applied to. In addition, he agreed with our assessment that, under the logic of Judge Cahn's ruling, Rudy Guiliani and Randy Mastro didn't need to get to the council to pass Local Law 28 (The public markets measure), because the inherent powers already existed.

All of which seems to point toward the need for the City Council to address the travesty of Judge Cahn's ruling. The ruling, if left standing, makes a mockery of the City Charter and puts all of the public market businesses and workers at risk.