The New York Times Sweetheart Deal

The New York Times Sweetheart Deal: The State of New York and the New York Times are partnering up for one of crookedest looking land deals since the The Teapot Dome Scandal. Here are the details…

“A New York State government agency is forcing a group of business owners to leave their property by condemning it. That clears the way for a new skyscraper to go up – an office building that will house the New York Times.”

“…In a New York Times story dated October 25, 2001, the New York Times called the now-condemned block, “a shabby blend of sex shops, prostitution, loitering, and drug dealing.” The report was entitled, “Blight to Some is Home to Others.”

“…Property owners were informed by letter that their buildings would be condemned and that they would have to move. They were also notified that since the state was taking over the condemned property, those who currently leased space in the buildings would have to pay their rent to the state, leaving some building owners paying both a mortgage and rent.”

“…According to court records, the state and city signed a deal with the Times and Forest City Ratner Companies, which included a 99-year lease totaling $85.6 million-well below market value, according to experts. The deal also includes $26 million in tax cuts for the Times.

In addition, if a court sets the condemnation price higher than $85.6 million, the developers would have to come up with the extra money. However, the Times and Forest City will be able to deduct the extra cost, meaning taxpayers will cover all costs above $85.6 million.”

“…The tax breaks and anticipated subsidies to be granted to the New York Times are expected to cost taxpayers nearly $100 million.”

So the New York Times writes a story painting the area as a dilapidated slum. Then the city moves in, condemns the property and then turns around and leases it to the NYT well below market value (editor’s note: correction made here). The property owners have their property confiscated, the taxpayers get screwed to the tune of $100 million dollars, and the New York Times gets an incredible deal.

To say that this whole deal reeks is an understatement. Especially since the company involved is the holier-than-thou New York Times which regularly sneers at Republicans for alleged financial chicanery that doesn’t even approach this magnitude. I wonder if any of the left-wing newspapers across the country that follow the “old, grey lady” around like sheep will actually dig into this and see what they find? I wouldn’t recommend holding your breathe while you wait to hear about the investigative reporting that’ll be done on this one…

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