End The Fiasco In The Park

To The Editor:

In describing the Willets Point project as a “fiasco,” the Queens Tribune Editorial Board had hit the nail squarely on the head (Willets Fiasco Needs To End – Feb. 13-19). I am not referring to the original approved 2008 plan, but the cabal schemed by former Mayor Bloomberg and the Mets, Related Companies and Sterling Equities, multi-billionaire companies that are not only in violation of law circumventing park property alienation and Ulurp, but given the keys to the city treasury and the right to construct a 1.4-million-square-foot shopping mall on the Citi Field parking lot, which concededly is part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Notwithstanding it cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to acquire Willets Point property, the area was sold (given is a better word) to the developers for $1, that is right, $1, on top of which they were given a taxpayer subsidy of $99 million and thereafter close to a $50 million tax abatement. A deal that ignored legal requirements coupled with a windfall of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, would I believe cause the infamous Boss Tweed, to tip his hat in admiration.

Yes, the fiasco needs to end and the way to do so is to overrule the illegal, unnecessary and unwarranted 1.4-million-square-foot shopping mall at Citi Field, proceed with the original 2008 plan and make available affordable housing now, not until 2025. Litigation is pending to let right be done. The public’s support is welcomed and they should be reminded apathy is a hack politician’s best friend. Speak up and tell your City Councilmember your position on the issue.

Benjamin M. Haber,
Flushing