Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- New York City’s Economic Development Corp. failed to spend more than $9.3 million collected from private developers for job creation and training, Comptroller John Liu said.
About $8.9 million meant for a rail yard development in the Bronx is unused, as is $464,574 to rehabilitate a movie studio in Astoria, Queens, and train employees, Liu said in an audit released today. The agency also failed to collect $475,720 owed by KeySpan Corp., owner of an electricity plant in Long Island City, “to fund community interests,” the audit said.
“It makes little sense that millions intended for economic development remain unused for so long, especially in the Bronx, where jobs are greatly needed,” Liu said in a statement. “If the EDC can’t figure out how to put the capital to work, then at least return the money to the city treasury.”
Liu, 44, a Democrat who has expressed interest in running for mayor in 2013, criticized the EDC in an April 2010 audit that said the agency owed the city treasury $125 million. The EDC disputed the findings and agreed to return $120 million.
The EDC, a private corporation, was created by the city to help stimulate economic growth and job creation through low-cost financing, training and elimination of bureaucracy.
Liu’s most-recent audit said the city spent only about 80 percent of the funds in the program.
“We appreciate the comptroller’s analysis, and we’re glad it determined that EDC has disbursed a vast majority of the funds available for community benefit,” Patrick Muncie, an EDC spokesman, said in an e-mail. “The comptroller’s suggestions for the remaining funds may be well-intentioned, but they ignore the disbursement restrictions EDC is legally bound to follow.”
In a response to the comptroller contained in his audit, the agency said: “The fact that funds in these accounts have not yet been spent is not an indicator that funds should have been spent.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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