Unions Blasting City's 'Corrupt Real Estate Management Practices'

The city's radio station at 91.5 FM, WNYE, just inadvertently started a show set for 1 p.m.  The preview will give you a chance to tune in soon and hear, in its entirety, two union bosses blasting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the city's own radio outlet for "corrupt real estate management practices."

The station started a recording of a weekly Communications Workers of America show, "CWA- The Communique," at noon instead of 1 p.m.  The broadcast presumably is today's show, but could have been a recent archive.

Regardless, the 10 minutes aired has host Arthur Cheliotes, president of CWA Local 1180, villifying the city for its history over 370 Jay St., the former MTA operations headquarters.

Cheliotes says that the city leased the building in the 1950s to the MTA for $1.  Now, he says, the mayor wants to turn the building over to New York University as part of a high-tech science development effort. He said the move undervalues a taxpayer asset.

The city, said Cheliotes, has put $100 million in renovation on Jay Street over the years, and should put its personnel there and other facilities instead of current leasing at 2 Broadway, where the MTA headquarters much of its operations, including the MTA Capital Construction Co. lease.

Before the show was yanked, Transport Workers Union Local 100 president John Samuelson called the actions "outrageous, a real boondoggle," as well as a scam. “The MTA’s real estate craziness is exactly what you say," Samuelson told the host, "absolutely crazy."  

Samuelson went further than Cheliotes, and said that the MTA and the city will be paying more than $50 million in leases annually to stay at 2 Broadway, which cost $845 million to renovate.  It is rejecting "buildings that are perfectly fine to put people into skyscrapers." Both Samuelson and Cheliotes said that the city also wants to leave a Livingston Street MTA facility and consolidate at 2 Broadway. They urged renovations at Jay Street, which they said would cost less than one year of 2 Broadway leasing.

Before the broadcast was cut off, host Cheliotes twice referred to a website, www.mtamoneythrownaway.com.  The site, run by the TWU Local 100 and linked to the Working Families Party, has been hammering the city throughout 2013 on the proposed Jay St. giveaway. It has a list of bad real estate deals it says the MTA has engineered.

Of course, there is another side:  the city has a grand vision regarding the Jay Street property, and sees it as an essential step in urban science development--not to mention developing revenues for the city.  You can see the plan's outline on the city's website HERE.

You should be able to stream the show at 1 p.m., if you can't put on your radio on, via Tune In, HERE

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