Dick Dadey, Executive Director
Citizens Union

Gene Russianoff, Staff Attorney
NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign

Lucy Koteen, Atlantic Yards Task Force
Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter

William Dipalla, Director
Times Up! Environmental Organization

Paul Steely White, Executive Director
Transportation Alternatives

Jon Orcutt, Executive Director
Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Sandy Balboza, President
Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association

Sue Wolfe, President
Boerum Hill Association

Jon Crow, Garden Coordinator
Brooklyn Bears Community Garden

Heloise Gruneberg, President
Brooklyn Vision

Micheael McLeod, President
Cambridge Place Action Coalition

Olive Freud, Vice President
Committee For Environmentally Sound Development

Downtown Brooklyn Leadership Coalition (DBLC) Members: Black Veterans for Social Justice (Job Masharaki), Church of the Open Door (Rev. Mark V.C. Taylor), Brooklyn Christian Center (Rev. Dennis Dillon), Brown Memorial Baptist Church (Rev. Clinton Miller), Emmanuel Baptist Church (Rev. Anthony L. Trufant), Hanson Place Central United Methodist Church (Rev. Patrick Perrin), Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church (Rev. David Dyson), Old First Reformed Church (Rev. Daniel Meeter)

Daniel Goldstein, Spokesperson
Develop Dont Destroy ­ Brooklyn Inc.

James Vogel, Secretary
East Pacific Block Association

Robert Witherwax, Co-Chair
The Eastern Parkway Cultural Row Neighborhood Association

Scott Turner, Coordinator
Fans For Fair Play

Michelle De La Uz, Executive Director
The Fifth Avenue Committee

Phillip Kellogg, Chair
Fort Greene Association

Marlene Donnelly, Water Quality Representative
Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus

Cathy Wassylenko, President
New York Preservation Alliance

Lydia Denworth, President
Park Slope Civic Council

Daniella Liebling, Coordinator
Park Slope Greens

Eric McClure, Atlantic Yards Campaign Coordinator
Park Slope Neighbors

Deborah Howard, Executive Director
Pratt Area Community Council

Brad Lander, Director
Pratt Center for Community Development

Gib Veconi, Chairman
Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Elizabeth Broad
Revel Arts

Simon Bertrang, Atlantic Yards Committee Coordinator
South Portland Block Association

Christine Niles, Garden Co-ordinator
Warren St. Marks Community Garden

Chairman Peter S. Kalikow
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
347 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Re: Release of Bid Information on Vanderbilt Yards

September 9, 2005

Dear Mr. Kalikow,

The disposition of the development rights to the Vanderbilt rail yards (“the Yards”) demands that the public financial interest be protected. As such, it is imperative that the process of disposing of such a significant asset be conducted in a manner that is transparent and that provides for the maximum level of public oversight and involvement.

As you are certainly aware these goals are embodied in legislation _ the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005 - recently enacted by the New York State Legislature and awaiting the signature of Governor George E. Pataki The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Senator Vincent Leibell, requires public authorities such as the MTA to assure the public of the fairness of the bid review process by in turn requiring that:
  • an appraisal is conducted by an independent appraiser where, such as is the case with the Vanderbilt Yard, the unique nature of the property renders it not subject to fair market pricing;
  • and all bids are publicly disclosed.
While we commend you for taking an initial step by releasing the appraised value of $214.5 million and the Extell Development Company (“Extell”) bid of $150 million on July 22, we decry the fact that you have only partially released the $50 million bid submitted by Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC).

Paragraph V.4.c. of your Request For Proposals (RFP) for the Yards requires that pro forma cash-flow statements, with documentation of assumptions for a 20-year period be included as part of the bid.

Extells pro forma cash-flow statements were released to the public, but FCRCs pro forma cash-flow statements have been withheld by the MTA.

In light of the fact that:
  • neither bid met the appraised value for the Yards,
  • you chose to exclude the higher bidder from the negotiation process, and
  • according to the Sept 7 edition of The New York Times, you will be settling for a sale of the Yards to FCRC at less than half of the appraised value and at 2/3 the value of the Extell bid,

we believe that it is in the public interest to understand, not just what the public is getting back in revenues for our investment, but also what FCRC is getting in profits from our investment.

The taxpayers are being asked to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the arena, relinquish city-owned property to private interests, accept the bypassing of the city-review process, accept the condemnation of citizens property, accept the eviction of renters and business owners, and accept a lower bid to the MTA at less than half the appraised value of the yards - all in return for what the Independent Budget Office has identified as a 1% annual return to the city on their financial investment.

In the interest of transparency, the taxpayers also have the right to know what and how much the developer will be getting from this transaction.

The co-signers of this letter respectfully call upon you and the other members of the MTA Board to follow the spirit of Public Authorities Accountability Act now, even before it is signed into law, by releasing to the public the complete bid information received by the MTA for the sale of the property. We call upon you to release the pro forma information submitted by FCRC in their bid, as required by paragraph V.4.c. in your RFP, in the section titled "Submission Requirements."

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Daniel Goldstein
Spokesperson, Develop Dont Destroy­Brooklyn Inc., on behalf of the Co-signers

Cc: Hon. Governor George Pataki
Hon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Hon. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky
Hon. NY State Senator Vincent Leibell
Hon. US Congressman Major Owens
Hon. NY State Senator Velmanette Montgomery
Hon. NY State Assemblyman James Brennan
Hon. NY City Council Member David Yassky
Hon. NY City Council Member Letitia James
Katherine Lapp, Executive Director, MTA
Roco Krsulic, Director of Real Estate, MTA
David S. Mack, Vice Chairman, MTA
Edward B. Dunn, Vice Chairman, MTA
Andrew Albert, Board Member, MTA
John H. Banks III, Board Member, MTA
James F. Blair, Board Member, MTA
Nancy Shevell Blakeman, Board Member, MTA
Anthony J. Bottalico, Board Member, MTA
Micharel J. Canino, Board Member, MTA
Barry Feinstein, Board Member, MTA
James H. Harding Jr. , Board Member, MTA
Susan Kupferman, Board Member, MTA
Mark D. Lebow, Board Member, MTA
James L. McGovern, Board Member, MTA
Susan G. Metzger, Board Member, MTA
Mark Page, Board Member, MTA
Mitchell H. Pally, Board Member, MTA
Francis H. Powers, Board Member, MTA
Andrew M. Saul, Board Member, MTA
James L. Sedore Jr. , Board Member, MTA
Edward A. Vrooman, Board Member, MTA
Ed Watt, Board Member, MTA
Carl V. Wortendyke, Board Member, MTA

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