Sunday, October 17, 2004
Politicians:Grants helpcities, townsacross NY
$7.4 MILLION: CANADIAN AMERICAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS
How CNY fared
More than 100 projects aroundCentral New York have receivedgrants from the state’s borrowed-pork programs since 1997. A listof 1,720 projects statewide will bepublished Tuesday in The Post-Standard
Owasco Seawall Restoration $500,000Schine Theater 100,000Auburn City (Casey Park) Ice Rink 100,000Harriet Tubman Home 50,000YMCA Auburn Elevator Installation 50,000
Village Water Remediation 50,000
Cayuga County total $850,000
Heritage Farm $50,000
Canastota Industrial Development 382,000International Boxing Hall of Fame 250,000Greater Lenox Ambulance Service Inc. 50,000Canastota Vol. Fire Dept Renovation 50,000
Cazenovia College 100,000Cazenovia Memorial Association Inc. 50,000Village of Cazenovia 50,000
Town of Sullivan Development Corp. 250,000Chitt. Landing Museum Education 100,000SARDA Inc. 68,000Arise @ Marshall Farms Indoor Riding Arena65,000Arise @ Marshall Farms Indoor Riding Arena35,000SARDA Inc. 32,000
Village of Hamilton 250,000
Pleasant Valley Grange 50,000
Morrisville Auxiliary Corp. 100,000Heart of New York Foundation 50,000Madison Hall Association Inc. 50,000
Ferris Industries Inc. 500,000
New Woodstock Free Library 50,000New Woodstock Library, Children’s Rm. 50,000
Oneida Community Mansion House 100,000Greater Oneida Civic Center Inc. 75,000Madison County Chapter, NYSARC Inc. 58,000
County Aquatic Vegetation Harvester 100,000
Madison County total $2,965,000
Town of Lysander $50,000
West Genesee Athletic Club 50,000
Town of Cicero 500,000
Town of Clay 50,000
Delphi Falls Fire Co Building Project 125,000
Jewish Comm. Center of Syracuse 600,000Familycapped/Pediatric Respite House 250,000Town of DeWitt 100,000
Village of East Syracuse 500,000Hope Lodge Renovation 250,000
Fabius Area Community Center 400,000Fabius Area Community Center 100,000
Matilda J. Gage Foundation 75,000Town of Manlius Recreation Center 50,000
Town of Elbridge Community Center 250,000Village/Erie Canal Wall Restoration 50,000
Central NY Jazz Arts Foundation 250,000Town of Salina 50,000Liverpool Central School District 50,000
Village Recreation Building 100,000Village - Emergency Generator 50,000
Otisco Lake Community Center 50,000
Village of Minoa 300,000
Seneca Data Infra 50,000
Skaneateles Recreational Facility 500,000Skan. Recreational Charitable Trust 500,000
Solvay-Geddes Youth Center 58,515Village of Solvay 50,000
Ctr of Excellence in Environmental 10,000,000Metropolitan Devel. Found. of CNY 8,400,000Excellus Expansion 5,000,000SUNY Upstate (Metropolitan Devel.Foundation) 5,000,000Carrier Dome 4,200,000Syracuse University 3,000,000Landmark Theatre 2,000,000Metropolitan Development Assoc. 658,000Metropolitan Devel. Found. of CNY 500,000Syracuse M.O.S.T. 500,000South Salina Corridor Business 350,000Syracuse Young Men’s Christian Assoc. 300,000Boys & Girls Clubs of Syracuse 250,000Boys & Girls Clubs of Syracuse 250,000City of Syracuse 250,000City of Syracuse 250,000Everson Museum of Art Expansion 250,000Onon. Park Botan. Garden/Arboretum 250,000Syracuse YMCA 250,000City of Syracuse - Cannon Street 200,000Elmcrest Children’s Ctr 200,000Harriet May Mills Development 125,000Friends of Jowonio 100,000Boys & Girls Clubs of Syracuse 87,000Syr. Brick House/Women’s Halfway House75,000City of Syracuse - Bob Cecile Center 50,000City of Syracuse - Lewis Park Playscape 50,000City of Syracuse - St. Louis Ave. Culvert 50,000East Side Soccer 50,000Francis House 50,000Mid-State Youth Hockey 50,000North Area Athletic Club 50,000People’s Equal Action & Comm. Effort 50,000Salt City Playhouse Renovation 50,000Syracuse Comm. Health Center Inc. 50,000Syracuse Fire Fighters Assoc., Local 280 50,000
Onondaga County total $48,403,515
Friends of History In Fulton, N.Y. Inc. $50,000
Village of Lacona/Railroad Depot 50,000
Oswego EDZ/Scriba Sewer Project 250,000Operation Oswego County/IDA 75,000Town of Oswego Town Barn 50,000
Town West Side Water District 50,000
Oswego County total $525,000CNY GRAND TOTAL $52,743,515
Sources: Dormitory Authority of theState of New York and the Empire StateDevelopment Corp.
POLITICIANS, FROM PAGE A-1
New York taxpayers spendmore than $100 million a year topay off the borrowed money.The interest alone will cost NewYorkers $248 million over thelife of the debt.Pataki, Bruno and Silverwould not comment about theborrowing and spending, despitemore than a month of attemptsby The Post-Standard. Theirstaffs say the money has helpedcommunities across New York.Examples include CarnegieHall, the National Baseball Hallof Fame in Cooperstown, theCarrier Dome and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.‘‘Local communities rely onthese kinds of state aid to realizewhat they want to accomplish intheir communities,’’ said Sil-ver’s spokesman, Charles Car-rier.Pataki spokesman KevinQuinn said, ‘‘New Yorkersknow that Gov. Pataki makes alldecisions regarding such projectsstrictly on the merits.’’Legislators defend the practiceof giving individual lawmakersin the majority party the powerto select projects for statemoney. They say they best un-derstand the needs of their com-munities.‘‘Would it be fair if I said noand the money went else-where?’’ said Sen. John DeFran-cisco, R-Syracuse. ‘‘Or would itbe fairer if the governor distrib-utes all the funds?’’Legislators also praised thetargeted discretionary programslike the ones created in 2002.Those aim to support high-tech-nology efforts, including theCenters for Excellence.One of the borrowing pro-grams controlled by Pataki, theEmpire Opportunity Fund, wasopen to competitive applications,Empire State DevelopmentCorp. spokesman Ron Jury said.Winners and losers were decidedby ESDC staff, not Pataki, Jurysaid. Democrats disagree that itis competitive.
Museum in purgatory
Some of the state’s borrowedmoney went to the National Mu-seum of Catholic Art & Historyin East Harlem.In 2002, the state AttorneyGeneral’s Office announced thatthe museum’s founder a for-mer Playboy bunny with no edu-cational background in art ormuseum administration hadimproperly spent $86,328 in mu-seum money on herself. Thefounder, Christina Cox, told in-vestigators she spent museummoney on her apartment’s rent,nail and tanning treatments, herson’s day camp and other per-sonal expenses, according to re-cords. It ordered her to repay themoney.Already, the New York Cityarchdiocese had opposed the mu-seum, worried that people wouldmistakenly assume the RomanCatholic Church was involved.The Village Voice, a New York City weekly newspaper, alsowrote a series of stories that por-trayed the museum as a snake pitof mismanagement, misappropri-ation and sexual intrigue.Despite these clouds over themuseum, Pataki’s office steered$4 million in borrowed money toit in 2002 and 2003, recordsshow.State taxpayers renovated themuseum’s building, with newoak floors throughout and mar-ble floors in the bathroom. Itsexhibits include a collection of retail-store-quality nun dolls.The museum remains closedto the public, although it hasbeen raising funds for a decade.Its state charter to operate as amuseum expired in 2000.Who could convince the gov-ernor’s office that such a shakyoperation deserves a multimilli-on-dollar investment from tax-payers? Edward J. Malloy, chair-
AUTHORITIES, PAGE A-15
The Associated Press
waves a flag when the Spirit of Ontario arrives in Rochester’s port April 27; its maiden voyage to Torontowas June 18. The operators shut down the service Sept. 8. Ferry officials are unsure when they will restart service. The stateborrowed money to give the ferry $7.4 million in grants; it will take taxpayers until 2013 to pay off the loans.
Fast ferry runs for 82 days and closes
By Mike McAndrew
There’s a five-story-highfloating monument to bor-rowed pork-barrel spending,and it sits on Rochester’sshoreline of Lake Ontario.The private company thatstarted fast-ferry service be-tween Rochester and Torontothis summer received $7.4million in grants from Gov.George Pataki and leaders of the Assembly and Senate. Thestate also gave the owners a$6 million loan.On Sept. 8, after 82 days of service, Canadian AmericanTransportation Systems laidoff most of its 200 employeesand indefinitely suspended itsferry operations, having accu-mulated $1.7 million in debts.Taxpayers are scheduled tobe paying off the bonds thatfinanced the grants through2013.Pataki, Senate MajorityLeader Joseph Bruno and As-sembly Speaker Sheldon Sil-ver announced the grants inSeptember 2002 one daybefore Pataki was to faceRochester businessman TomGolisano in an IndependenceParty primary.The leaders didn’t disclosein their news release that NewYork was borrowing moneyfor the ferry.Nor did the politicians men-tion that CATS founder Do-minick DeLucia and his wifecontributed $10,000 to Pata-ki’s campaign and $8,500 tothe campaign of Sen. MikeNozzolio, R-Fayette, while thecompany was seeking the stategrants.Nozzolio was one of foursponsors of the Senate’s shareof the CATS grants $2.4million. Nozzolio wouldn’tcomment, his staff said.The $42 million boat which can carry 750 walk-onpassengers, up to 220 cars andup to 10 trucks and buses was making two trips a daybetween the cities this sum-mer. About 140,000 passen-gers rode the ferry.Including the time spentboarding and unloading, theboat trips often took travelersmore than three hours aslong as it might take to drivebetween the cities. One-waytickets cost $28 for walk-uppassengers and $40 per car making the trip more expen-sive by boat.CATS has promised to re-sume operations no later thanApril 15, 2005. A federaljudge impounded the boatSept. 28 while a fuel supplierpressed its claim for an unpaidfuel bill.‘‘We do plan to start theferry up,’’ CATS ChairmanCornel Martin said that day.But he noted, ‘‘It’s not a cer-tainty.’’Martin said he didn’t seeany way that CATS wouldhave to pay back New York for the $7.4 million in grants.
The Associated Press
president of Canadian American Trans-portation Systems (CATS)
(center, facing microphones
) con-tributed $10,000 to Gov. Pataki’s campaign and $8,500 tothe campaign of Sen. Mike Nozzolio, while CATS was secur-ing $7.4 million in state grants. Nozzolio co-sponsored theSenate portion of the grants.
Income taxespaid by NewYork’s workerscontinue to beset aside to makepayments on thebonds.
How your state government creates and spends $1 billion
New York’s political leadership uses this system to borrow money through public authorities and to decide where to spend it:
In the wheeling and dealing thatsettles much of Albany’s business forthe year, Senate Majority LeaderJoseph Bruno, Gov. George Patakiand Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silveragree to borrow a pile of money forthem to pass out. For example, oneyear it was $225 million, another year$425 million. The money is referredto in the final state budget. But thelegislators don’t vote on the specificprojects that will get that money.
The programgets a very official-sounding name,like CommunityEnhancementFacilities AssistanceProgram.
Aseparate dealamong thethree leaders a memorandumof understanding divvies upthe money three ways. The BigThree of state politics, or theiraides, sign that agreement, butthe rank-and-file legislatorsdon’t vote on that either.
The state governmentcan’t borrow the money;the state constitutionrequires asking voters forapproval. That’s why theBig Three turn to stateauthorities, which hold theillusion of distance from the rest of stategovernment. Mostly, the Democrats inthe Assembly use the DormitoryAuthority; the Republicansin the Senate and governor’soffice do their banking withthe Empire StateDevelopment Corp.
Those authorities sellhundreds of millions of dollarsof municipal bonds to investors.The money raised is the BigThree’s slush fund. Theinvestors are repaid withinterest over time, usually fiveto 10 years, mostly by NewYorkers’ income taxes. Thatbecomes one of the state’s mostimportant debts, one theypromise to pay even when theleaders can’t agree on otherkinds of spending.
Now, it’s time tospend that money.The Assembly andSenate leadership lettheir members andalmost always justthose in the majorityparty pick suchprojects as LittleLeagues and artsgroups. Thegovernorgives awayhis share,too.
Periodically, the Big Threesend a list of projects to theirbank-like authorities. Theauthorities require somepaperwork of any group thatwants money (a two-pageapplication, for example). Butthe authorities never refuse tofund a project recommendedby the Big Three. In some of thestate’s programs, each of theBig Three has the power to vetoa project, but no one seems tohave evidence of thathappening in public.
The authority cuts acheck to the group.
The legislator getsto announce that he orshe fought to get$50,000 for a firedepartment, or$150,000 for a newtourist attraction, or$7.4 million for a fastboat from Rochester toToronto.
Peter Allen/Staff artist
Number Got Group in N.Y. handouts
Kiwanis clubs 315 1Churches 11,000 19Cemeteries 5,900 2AmericanLegion posts 1,051 6Libraries 1,022 23Firedepartments 1,786 49
The chosen ones
New York’s governor andlegislators use their borrowedmoney to help out a select fewof favored groups with insideaccess. Here are six types ofgroups, their numbers in thestate and how many were givenborrowed-pork grants.
Michelle Breidenbach andMike McAndrew
Stephen D. Cannerelli andDavid Lassman