‘Perceptual Purposes Only’ – In Other Words, More Amicone Spin By HEZI ARIS

eHezi Archives 18 Comments

EHezi_Hezitorial While one would suppose the “learning process” would begin before the Yonkers   City Council membership within the City Council’s august chambers, the tone and purpose of this briefing seminar-like experience began in City Hall’s elevator. It was a conversation that took place as the elevator moved from the first floor to the forth floor. Standing in the elevator were Johnathan A. Ballan, Esq., member of the Boston firm MINTZ, LEVIN, COHN, FERRIS, GLOVSKY AND POPEO, P.C., and Shai Markowicz, a Citibank vice-president and bond expert. As the elevator lethargically moved from one floor to the next, Mr Ballan was overhead telling Mr Markowicz that the purpose of the presentation was for “perceptual purposes only.” They were not there to teach anything, they were there for show. And so they were.

 

The tone was set when Mr Ballan advised that he had a limited amount of time as he had to attend a function in which his child was attending. Bless him for being a great dad; admonish City Hall for not sending another person to brief the Yonkers City Council respectfully. His dissertation was such as to promote the TFI vehicle being proposed. He became obtuse in his comprehension of questions asked and would oftentimes proclaim, ‘I don’t see it that way!’ and would continue to obfuscate and stall, thereafter promoting an idea he would not or could not decipher for the Yonkers City Council membership. He knew he was there for his 15 nanoseconds worth of fame before the channel 78 cameras. He gloated about how he put on his creative cap and came up with the TFI concept which in reality, if adopted by CoY, would be the fourth evolution of a concept that had its roots in New York City when New York City found its bonding capacity had reached its legal limitation and they therafter devised a mechanism to skirt their own legal parameters to gain access to the financial markets. But Yonkers is not New York City.

 

The TFI exhibits many tentacles. The first is its construct as an authority, recently admonished by NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Governor Andrew Cuomo as a mechanism they were not in support. The TFI  requires a governing board of directors comprised of the mayor and his appointee, and the City Council President, and the majority and minority leaders. It can also employ personnel. TFI would in a sense shrink the Yonkers City Council from a total membership of 7 to 3 people. While there are other authorities presently in existence, the mayor presides on most of them, personally or by way of surrogates. Not a problem except that the TFI will be able to skirt the will of The People if their legislative house, the Yonkers City Council, can be overruled by such an authority who deems it appropriate to fund projects rejected by the Yonkers City Council. The TFI reduces the value of the Yonkers City Council and continues to build on emboldening an evener stronger “Strong Mayor” form of government. With Mr Ballan’s early departure, and Mr Markowicz’s inability to comprehend or respond to questions requested of him in turn, Minority Leader John Murtagh suggested a postponement to Friday, May 20, 2011, at 1:00 p.m., a time not all of the councilmembers may be able to attend. Prior to convening, it was learned Friday that a majority of the council members could not attend the Friday meeting. It is presently uncertain when this issue will come before the Yonkers City Council again.

 

CSEA President Bobbi DiBattista was in attendance and spoke to the fact that she was led to believe that the $20 million for which the TFI was necessary to garner those funds were not in house. It seems City Hall is not being open with at minimum, one of the unions who are slated to lose more employees in the financial conundrum facing CoY.

 

Tony Giumbruno, the mayor’s Liaison with the Yonkers City Council stressed the need to accept the Resolution presented before them. He did not touch upon the “experts” not making the time to brief the one and only body that stands before adoption of the TFI or not.

 

It was said that NYS Comproller   Thomas DiNapoli is on board with the TFI concept for Yonkers; also that Senator Jeff Klein is for it. Even that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is for it. Proof of their respective positions were not presented to the City Council membership. This reporter did speak to some members of the Albany Delegation who advised they are not on board with this concept. One of the main concerns noted among some of the Albany Delegation is that the TFI is another “one shot” that keeps kicking Yonkers’ financial ills to the next year, and the next, etc.

 

What is also troubling is that a resolution has been prepared for adoption should the Yonkers City Council give its approval prior to the issue being vetted. Interestingly enough, from the allegedly April 15th inception of the TFI concept to May 17th, the Yonkers City Council heard not one word. Even so, blank spaces are designated in a Senate – Assembly resolution to which no senator or assembly person has underwritten their name. The likelihood of tweaking the resolution if adopted as it is presently proposed is unlikely to be suffered by any sponsors among the New York State Legislature.

 

The legislation asked of the Yonkers City Council further does not stipulate the TFI must designate funds it would be able to raise on the financial markets for a specific reason prior to its being devised as an Authority. The TFI proposed for Yonkers, the evolutionary successor to the New York City Model, and the Nassau County, and the Cities of Buffalo and Erie, except for New York City, occurred while each was under a financial control board. The TFI is a Trojan Horse that will permit a financial control board over CoY.

 

As Yonkersites and their elected representatives wrap their heads about this issue, Mayor Amicone’s Proposed FY 2010-2011 Budget languishes with little scrutiny. How could Mayor Amicone fathom to receive approval from NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli with regard to a  Capital Improvement Planbudget (C.I.P.), based on departmental requests that total $352 million for 2012, yet no funds, that is zero, zilch, nada, are requested. Does Mayor Amicone expect to fill the holes later? Will the Yonkers City Council approve the budget with the C.I.P. asked to be funded yet devoid of numbers stipulating the sum of the C.I.P.? The Comptroller won’t be able to sign off on that.

 

Comproller DiNapoli won’t be able to accept the actuarial conjecture promulgated on earnings from the yet to open Ridge Hill Development Project stipulated to be in excess of $1.5 million. Besides, with the budget required by law to be passed by June 1, 2011, how can one be certain Ridge Hill will be up and running by the Fall when Forest City Ratner have proven its projections to be unreliable at best?

 

Another source of revenue stipulated was for revenue sources of $865,000 by the Yonkers Parking Authority in the FY 2010- 2011. To date, the YPA has only received $577,000 and anticipate to receive an additional $288,000 by the end of the fiscal year which represents nine months’ worth of revenue. This, is in total juxtaposition to the estimated revenue of $3.65 million stipulated. Further still, acid-tongued bloggers possess and read City Hall documents that indicate that the city is “limited” in how much of this revenue source can actually be included in their 2011-2012 projections.

 

Yonkersite Kevin Gorman, in attendance at Thursday’s briefing said, “The “perceptual purpose” is to refinance the capital budget accounting yet the real purpose is to refinance the General Municipal budget. This is a ‘deception’ contrary to laws and general accounting principles – circumvention is unethical at the least.”

eHezi‘Perceptual Purposes Only’ – In Other Words, More Amicone Spin By HEZI ARIS

Comments 18

  1. Listening last night to Nick DeSantis, if Yonkers was a publicaly traded company that I owned shares in, I would immediately sell.

  2. we need a report which tells us the bonding ability of COY.
    this will go a long way in the story of this potential scam.
    its a dangerous proposal without proper representation and the taxpayers are the only ones at risk.
    this mayor should have been taken out of office 5 years ago.

  3. This resolution is dangerous in many ways. It not only usurps the power from the city council and becomes another layer of government, it also circumvents the civil service law and the triburough amendment. The FTA can remove a permanent civil service employee and put in one to their liking without that person taking an exam for the position and that person then can have the benefits granted to other civil service workers. Be very careful of this resolution. This is no way to borrow money!!!

  4. “Good Government”had difficulty posting this comment. I am posting it for him. Thanks for understanding. Kindly, Hezi.
    “Good Government” writes:
    The Mayor had submitted to the City Council a copy of proposed legislation in the format of a NYS proposed legislation. The Mayor requested that the City Council approve and forward it to Albany for enactment into law. The proposed law would create a special authority called the Yonkers Transitional Finance Authority (TFA) ostensibly modeled after one that was previously created for the benefit of NYC.
    The NYC TFA was created specifically so that NYC could issue Capital project bonding over and above the legal limit on capital expenditures. It was not created so that NYC could fund its general municipal costs with bonding but only for true capital projects.
    That is where the quote “This is for perceptual purposes only” comes in. Not realizing he was speaking in public, the bond attorney was briefing the Citigroup V.P. on intricate manipulation of the funding process. The ulimate end product was that the Yonkers TFA would refinance Yonkers’ Capital Debt and part of the funds would be diverted into the general funds to pay costs such as the “carrot” the Mayor is offering the school district employeres. The City Group V.P questioned and the bond attorney made the quote. It appeared the City Group V.P. realized that it is not right to bond funds to pay general municipal cost and more important to first give the impression the bonding is for Capital projects then transfer the funds to general municipal, not to mention to fund a bribe to the employees to influence their union. That would be a deception, at the least. More important to the tax payers, it would put us deeper in debt and lead to even higher taxes.
    At the risk of being called “Partisan”, it appeared the Republic City Council members appeared to be supporting the Mayor and were in favor of the proposal. Counil President Lesnick, Ms. Gronowski and Mr Terrero were asking for more specific information and asking serious questions.
    If this goes to Albany, our Senator and Assembly Representatives wil be the persons most responsible to do the right thing. They will hold the ultimate responsibility because they can or cannot endorse it before the other members of the Legislature. If the Legislature passes it, then it will be the Governor who will share in the credit or the blame.

  5. Hezi – a suggestion for the future, spell out the acronym the first time you use it, followed by the acronym in parentheses – for example City of Yonkers (COY) – this why we will all know that TFI stands for…
    bonding operating expenses sounds like a road to disaster. and setting up a separate LDC or other authority to do so doesn’t sound like such a hot idea to me either – but what do i know, i just pay the bills around here…

  6. This will lead to a control board. You will see. Oddly it is the Council Democrats who are being fiscally responcible.

  7. Doyyy…How about we find out were $500Million that the BOE gets has gone!! We spent over a MILLOIN to sue them…

  8. Thanks Hezi….
    I have heard that there is a real desire by this Administration to bond operating expenses in order to balance this year’s budget.
    This may be part of that….

  9. The Authority proposed by Yonkers Mayor Amicone will permit the Authority to bond on its own volition whether disapproved or approved by the Yonkers City Council. This is a separate bonding authority.
    This is a very complicated proposal and has yet to be fully vetted by the City Council membership.
    Kindly,
    Hezi

  10. Speaking of Ridge Hill, …. Arch Stanton
    Balance of commented deleted because it is off topic as per the editor. These issues rate too important for the conversation to be deflected off topic. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
    Kindly, Hezi

  11. I can’t figure out what this really is either.
    Hezi, are you insinuating that this type of committee would have the ability to bond?
    Someone please help here.

  12. why should dinapoli help amicone didn’t he blast him last yr? no one should help this mayor – he is petty, short-sighted and has hurt Yonkers taxpayers with his indecisiveness, paranoid and delusional actions. Jan 1 cannot happen soon enough

Leave a Reply

This comment will be displayed anonymously. Your name and email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.