As we have already commented the city's actions over the Baldor's RFP raises some good questions about how the EDC makes its land use decisions. The article in today's NY Daily News points out some additional issues that should be examined by the City Council. It appears to us that, given Judge Billings' observations, the legislature should be looking to have more oversight before the ULURP process commences.
What the judge observed in this case was an apparent pattern of both favoritism by EDC and dissembling by Brian Murphy, Baldor's CEO. The reason for all of this sleight-of-hand was that the city was trying to find a way out of the BTM by using the abandoned Baldor's site as a destination for the BTM merchants.
As the News points out, "Baldor was also aware that the city wanted to secure its current site in order to relocate ethnic food merchants from the Bronx Terminal Market..." All of which is quite strange to us since the city never thought it wise to actively involve the merchants themselves in all of this maneuvering.
In any case, All Hail Judge Billings! Unlike the lamentable Judge Cahn, who saw precedents were none should have been found in the BTM litigation and toadied up to EDC in the process, Billings examined a rotten process and ruled accordingly.
All of which could set some interesting precedents of its own. As winning attorney Mastro told the News, the judge's decision "'speaks volumes about how shocking and unfair the city's disposition process was here'...and could set a 'very important precedent' involving future city requests for proposals.'"
Heads up Willets Point!