« Indiana Decisions - Four Court of Appeals Decisions Posted | Main | Law - Still more on juror issues »

Monday, April 12, 2004

Economic Development - State of NY creates entity to lure Indiana business to New York

The GothamGazette.com has a fascinating story today on Public Authorities. According to the article, the State of New York has 640 authorities. More:

While they are created by the state government and operate for a public purpose, they are exempt from many of the rules and review under which government agencies normally operate. These authorities run the airports, operate bridges and tunnels, foster economic development, encourage development and oversee the subways and buses.

And, an increasing number of critics charge, they also:

  • Provide jobs and contracts to political cronies
  • Amass excessive amounts of debt
  • Operate outside public scrutiny and taxpayer control
  • And in general defy standard practices of good government.
Public authorities are the Enrons of state government, New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer charged in a speech last year, "hiding spots, breeding grounds for inertia, incompetence and, at times, worse." Faced with such concerns, public officials have proposed to reform the system. Ideas range from a modest directive issued by Governor George Pataki, whose appointees run many of the authorities, to State Assembly member Richard Brodsky's call to eliminate authorities entirely.
There is much more, including details about how Robert Moses adopted this concept for his own purposes. (Immediately I thought about Indiana's most recent effort in this area, the Indiana Economic Development Commission, but I'll leave that for another post.)

After listing and describing a number of these New York authorities, the author points to "the Overcoat Development Corporation."

And what about the Overcoat Development Corporation? Although it is allegedly located at 633 Third Avenue, no one there had heard of it, a New York Times reporter found. He discovered the agency is what remains of an effort to lure an Indiana coat company to Amsterdam, New York... in 1986.
Here is the NYT article, from March 20th. It concludes:
JUST as we were piecing things together, someone from state government called back with the "official" story:

The corporation is the remnant of an economic-incentive effort that offered a favorable lease on a building in Amsterdam, N.Y., to lure a men's outerwear company from Indiana in 1986. The company eventually folded, but the O.D.C. continued to exist because of a long-term lease it signed with another company to fulfill property-tax obligations.

"It's basically a dormant corporation," the state official explained.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 12, 2004 03:43 PM
Posted to Indiana economic development