Court Allows Willets Group At Hearing
By ROSS BARKAN
Willets Point United will be heard in court, after all.
The City Economic Development Corp. attempted to keep the collective of Willets Point property owners out of a State Supreme Court hearing on NYCEDC’s restructuring, but the court this week announced a hearing and is permitting WPU to attend.
“We are gratified that the court has recognized the obligation under the law that the EDC [sic] re-organization must be subject to a public hearing,” WPU said in a statement. “At the same time, we are saddened by the way in which a quasi-public agency has tried to stifle this mandated hearing and, even worse, try to prevent Willets Point property owners from participating. Clearly, EDC [sic] has a lot to hide and its behavior leaves a lot to be desired.”
In July, the attorney general’s office found that NYCEDC and its local development arms had been lobbying the City Council illegally. The quasi-public entity, which serves as an economic development tool for Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is barred by law from lobbying. Former Borough President Claire Shulman, the president of one of NYCEDC’s localized entities, the Flushing Corona Willets Point Local Development Corp., was found by the AG to be illegally lobbying.
To comply with the law, NYCEDC said it would restructure itself and shed its status as a local development corporation. NYCEDC will merge with the New York City Economic Growth Corp. and keep the NYCEDC name. WPU argued this was simply a way to circumvent the law.
NYCEDC did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
The restructuring hearing is set for Sept. 28 at 9:30 a.m. at 60 Centre Street in Manhattan.
Reach Reporter Ross Barkan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127.